The Pittsburgh Pirates have recently signed 26 players within their organization to contracts for the 2013 season.
The 26 players include pitchers Vic Black, Jeanmar Gomez, Jared Hughes, Phil Irwin, Chris Leroux, Jeff Locke, Vin Mazzaro, Kyle McPherson, Mark Melancon, Bryan Morris, Andy Oliver, Stolmy Pimentel, Hunter Strickland, Tony Watson, Duke Welker and Justin Wilson. It also includes catchers Michael McKenry and Tony Sanchez, along with infielders Chase d’Arnaud, Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer and Clint Robinson as well as outfielders Starling Marte, Alex Presley, Jerry Sands and Travis Snider.
The biggest name of the bunch is most definitely Marte, who made his Major League Baseball debut on June 26, 2012. The 24-year-old batted .257 with five home runs, 17 RBIs, six triples and 12 stolen bases in 167 at-bats. He is projected to start in the outfield this season for the Pirates and to be their leadoff hitter. Marte famously hit a homer off of the first pitch in his first Major League at-bat against pitcher Dallas Keuchel of the Houston Astros. This made him the first Pirate to hit a home run off of the first pitch he saw since 1922 and only the third player in franchise history to accomplish the rare feat.
Hughes is another top name in this bunch. The relief pitcher should see significant playing time this season as he will most likely be one of the top assets in the bullpen for Pittsburgh. The 27-year-old has technically spent two years in the big leagues, but he only appeared in 12 games in 2011. However, last season he posted a 2-2 record with a 2.85 earned run average and 50 strikeouts in 66 appearances.
Another player to watch for in 2013 is Presley, who will be competing for a bench role for the Pirates. The outfielder could be the top reserve player on the team if he clinches a spot on the Opening Day roster. The 27-year-old has seen action in the majors over the past three seasons, with 2012 being his most productive. Presley batted .237 with 10 home runs, 25 RBIs, nine stole bases, 14 doubles and seven triples in 346 at-bats.