Pittsburgh Pirates: Looking at Some Recent Career Minor Leaguers
By Noah Wright
Players with little MLB experience
There are some players who did eventually make their debuts but spent most of their professional career in the minor leagues. Of course, there's Drew Maggi, who made his debut this year. Maggi was a 15th-round pick by the Pirates in 2010 and made his debut at age-33. Maggi has spent 14 years in the minor leagues, playing for the Pirates, Minnesota Twins, LA Angels and Dodgers, and Cleveland.
Matt Hague has the second most minor league plate appearances but the fewest major league plate appearances. Hague was a 9th-round draft pick by the Pirates in 2008. Hague only played in 33 games for the Pirates between 2012 and 2014 (they did not appear in the majors in 2013) and ten more games for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015. Hague also had stints in Japan, along with the Twins, Washington Nationals, and Seattle Mariners.
Meanwhile, Michael Crotta has the largest minor league innings to major league innings ratio. The Pirates selected Crotta in the 17th round of the 2006 draft. Crotta eventually worked his way into the major leagues and pitched 10.2 innings in 2011. After sitting out the 2012 season, Crotta pitched for the Washington Nationals Triple-A affiliate in 2013 before spending the next two seasons in Japan. Crotta finished out his pro career with the Detroit Tigers in 2016.
And with that, we conclude our look at the Pittsburgh Pirates' recent history of career minor leaguers. You have to give some of these guys credit for sticking with the job for so long. Some played five seasons without even making it to Double-A. In this upcoming season, the longest-tenured minor leaguer without any games played at the major league level looks to be Drew Maggi, a former 15th-round draft pick by the Pirates in 2010 who has continued his journey in pro baseball and returned to the Pirates last year and resigned this offseason.