Friday night the Low-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Bradenton Marauders, completed a series sweep of the Tampa Tarpons to secure a Low-A Southeast League Championship
The strength of the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system has been well documented throughout the 2021 season. Hell, between a strong trade deadline and arguably the best 2021 draft class, their farm system has only continued to get stronger throughout the season.
While the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians finished with a sub-.500 record this season the rest of the minor league affiliates of the Pittsburgh Pirates put together a strong season, and, as Noah touched on earlier this week, Indy should have a strong roster when the 2022 season begins.
These strong minor league seasons included both the Low-A Bradenton Marauders and High-A Greensboro Grasshoppers earning postseason berths. While the Grasshoppers are currently tied 1-1 in their best of 5 league championship series against the Bowling Green Hot Rods, the Marauders finished their season on Friday night.
Bradenton finished their season by defeating the Tampa Tarpons in dominating fashion by a score of 11-3 to finish off the series sweep and capture the Low-A Southeast League Championship. This is the second league championship in Marauder history with the other coming in 2016 when they also defeated Tampa, that time winning the series 3 games to 1.
In the championship clinching victory Logan Hofmann started for the Marauders, allowing 3 runs on 4 hits, 2 walks, 2 home runs allowed and 2 strikeouts. Eddy Yean, the main piece of the Josh Bell trade, followed by allowing a pair of hits and recording a strikeout in 3.2 scoreless innings pitched.
Tyler Samaniego, Wandi Montout, and Oliver Mateo then followed Yean. These three relievers combined to strikeout 4 while pitching 4 innings of no-hit, shutout baseball. When Mateo recorded the final out of the game the Marauders then got to storm the field and celebrate.
Offensively power carried the Marauders. Catching prospect Abrahan Gutierrez, who was serving as the designated hitter, smashed a pair of home runs, giving him 3 for the championship series. Third baseman Dariel Lopez went deep and so did lead off man Jackson Glenn. Catcher Endy Rodriguez and center fielder Jase Bowen each hit a double in the victory.
Many of the players who helped the Marauders captured this league championship will likely move on to High-A Greensboro to start the 2022 season. Gutierrez, Rodriguez, Glenn and Yean should all find themselves with Greensboro next season. Hofmann will at least be at Greensboro, with a jump to Double-A Altoona being a real possibility.
While winning is not the be all end all in the minor leagues, it is still important for players to learn to win before they reach the Major League level. Having this group capture a league championship, while the team at High-A is battling for one as well, can only have a positive impact when they become the new core for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2-3 years.