Pirates Name Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Year

The Pittsburgh Pirates have named their 2011 Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Year today.  Altoona Curve right handed pitcher Kyle McPherson took the pitcher of the year award, while Bradenton Marauders outfielder Robbie Grossman was named the player of the year.

Grossman hit .294 (144-for-490) with 34 doubles, two triples, 13 home runs, 56 RBI and 127 runs scored in 134 games while spending the entire 2011 season with High-A Bradenton of the Florida State League. He became the first minor leaguer since Nick Swisher in 2004 to score at least 100 runs and walk 100 times in the same season. He also earned both Florida State League mid- and post-season All-Star honors this year while becoming the first minor leaguer since Adam Piatt in 1999 of the Oakland A’s organization to score at least 127 runs in a season.

Grossman was selected by the Pirates in the sixth round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of CypressFairbanks (TX) High School, where he was rated by Baseball America as the 49th-best prospect in the country.

We had Starling Marte as the 2011 Hitter of the Year, beating out Grossman due to his performance at a higher level.

McPherson went a combined 12-6 with a 2.96 ERA (161.0ip/53er) and 142 strikeouts in 28 starts between Bradenton and Double-A Altoona. He finished with an organizational leading 142 strikeouts (most by a Pirates minor leaguer since 2006), second in wins (12) and third in ERA (2.96) behind Nicholas Kingham (2.15) and Brett Lorin (2.84).

In his second-to-last start with the Marauders, McPherson took a no-hitter into the ninth inning before allowing his only hit one a one-out home run. Following his promotion to Altoona, he went 8-5 with a 3.02 ERA in 16 starts, including a 4-1 mark and 2.60 ERA in his first full month in Double A in July. Following the All-Star break, he tied for second among all Double-A pitchers with six wins and did not allow a run in a combined 10.0 innings in his final two starts.

McPherson was selected by the Pirates in the 14th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft from the University of Mobile (AL).

We also had Kyle McPherson as the 2011 Pitcher of the Year, winning in a unanimous vote.

  • The Pirates are tough to get a read on for initial placements and promotions, especially 6-7 months in advance.  I was surprised in 2011 that Morris and Locke were placed at AA and kept there for the majority of the year.

    I think McPherson has a better shot than most of going to AAA in 2012 at the outset, but it will all depend on his offseason and spring training.

  • Not that McPherson is necessarily “old” for the level, but considering his age and performance from this past year, do you see the Pirates being aggressive and starting him at AAA next season?