Jared Hughes — R/R, 6′ 7″, 220 lb
The Pirates chose Hughes in the 6th round of the 2006 draft. He first reached the AA level for 6 games in 2008. He was back at Altoona in 2009, but lost nearly 3 months due to shoulder issues. That put Hughes back at Altoona for all of 2010, and he spent the entire season there. He began the season as a starter, though he moved to the bullpen for a few games in late July and part of August. Hughes had one tough outing in April, in which he gave up 8 runs on 8 hits in 2.2 innings, but he allowed just 4 runs in 22.2 innings for the rest of the month, and won all four of his other starts. He won 3 of 5 starts in May (one no-decison) and lost only the game in which he gave up 5 runs on 8 hits in 3.2 innings. By the end of those two months, Hughes had a 7-2 record and a 4.09 ERA, with 38 strikeouts in 50 innings. He’d also had two 7-strikeout games. His ERA dropped to 3.79 for June, with 14 runs on 34.2 innings. In that month, he had one really good and one really tough starts, then four medium starts. July also began with some rough outings — 20 earned runs in 22 innings. Over the last 6 weeks of the season, Hughes made 6 relief appearances and 4 more starts, with 16 runs in 42 innings for a 3.43 ERA. He had better results in the relief appearances: 6 runs in 20 innings (2.70 ERA). Hughes might be moved to the bullpen on a more permanent basis, especially if he has better velocity and more strikeouts in that role, as was his trend in 2010. He could begin 2011 in Altoona, though that would be his fourth season there — he might get a try in Indianapolis.
Noah Krol — Bats: Both / Throws: Right; 6′ 2″, 185 lb
Krol was chosen by the Tigers in the 17th round of the 2007 draft. He pitched in their organization for two seasons and threw reasonably well in relief. After some injuries, he was released by the Tigers before the start of the 2009. The Pirates signed him and sent him to West Virginia, where he pitched well in 21 games (5-0 record, 2 saves, 2.92 ERA). Krol also got in 3 games for A+ Lynchburg to finish that season, allowing one run in 5 innings. Krol was back at A+ Bradenton for the 2010 season, where he was the Marauders’ closer for most of the season. He made 63 appearances, and earned a 5-6 record with 34 saves (best in the Florida State League). In 64.1 innings, Krol allowed 22 earned runs on 50 hits, with 28 walks (3.9 walks/ 9 innings) and 48 strikeouts (6.7 K/ 9 innings). Krol began the season on a high note. He earned 6 saves in April, with 2 earned runs in 11 innings (1.64 ERA), and 7 saves in May, with 4 runs in 13 innings (2.77 ERA). June and July saw Krol bump up to 13 runs on 25 innings (4.68 ERA), with 4 saves in July and 7 saves in June. Krol finished up the season on a roll, allowing 2 runs in 15 innings over 14 games in August/September, for a 1.20 ERA. Krol was named to the Florida State League All-Star team, and pitched one scoreless inning in the All-Star Game on June 12th, allowing just a walk. Krol is 26 years old, which is older than usual for the A+ level or even AA. He should be ready for Altoona to begin 2011.
Ramon Aguero — R/R; 6′ 4″, 185 lb
Aguero is a 26-year-old Dominican native, who came to the US in 2008. He pitched very well in both A+ Lynchburg and AA Altoona in 2009, and was added to the Pirates’ 40-man roster at the end of the season. He was battling elbow and back injuries at the beginning of the 2010 season. When he was ready to get back to action it was early June, and he was sent to A+ Bradenton. He made 8 relief appearances for the Marauders, and allowed just 2 runs on 10 hits in 10.2 innings, for a 1.69 ERA, with 3 walks and 8 strikeouts. Aguero was promoted to Altoona, which is where he likely would have started the season in had he not been injured. At Altoona, he tended to alternate good outings with poor ones. He allowed 12 runs on 15 hits in 12 innings through the end of July (9.00 ERA). Aguero missed another 2.5 weeks in mid-August, and only made 6 appearances over the last month of the season. He allowed 6 runs on 12 hits in 6.2 innings (8.10 ERA) in those 6 games. Aguero was removed from the 40-man roster in the past few days to open up a space for reliever Jose Veras. If he is not claimed on waivers and remains healthy, he could begin 2011 either in Bradenton or Altoona.