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Altoona Highlights the Aggressive Base Running in the Pirates Farm System


When Tucupita Marcano is on the bases, opposing fielders don’t get to take a break on a single play.

Marcano has shown to be an aggressive, all-out base runner, going the extra 90-feet often this year. You can see that on multiple occasions in the video below by Anthony Murphy from this past weekend.

In the first play, Marcano is aggressive on an easy single to right-center. When the center fielder slips up, Marcano wastes no time turning on the wheels and taking second. Later in the video, Marcano just beats out a triple.

The aggressive running isn’t just something with Marcano.

Anthony Murphy detailed yesterday how base running has gotten more aggressive across the system. Altoona manager Kieran Mattison elaborated on the organization philosophy when I talked with him about the aggressive base running from Marcano and other Curve players.

“We definitely as an organization want to take pride on pressuring the defense, and making the defense stop us,” said Mattison. “We always want to put the pressure. We’re always doing everything we can possible to set the table to get those guys a good hitting opportunity with runners in scoring position.”

I asked about Marcano, because there have been some times where it appears he’s been too aggressive, running into some outs. He’s also taken the extra base a few times on balls hit in play. It’s difficult to evaluate the overall results, but we can evaluate the Pirates on the bases through the traditional form.

As Wilbur Miller detailed yesterday, the Pirates affiliates are not only consistently above-average across the board in stolen bases, but they’re also above-average in stolen base percentages. Those numbers, copied from Wilbur’s post:

Pirates System Stolen Base%

Indianapolis — 83%
League — 80%
SB Rank: 2 of 20

Altoona — 82%
League — 79%
SB Rank: 3 of 12

Greensboro — 75%
League — 79%
SB Rank: 5T of 12

Bradenton — 83%
League — 73%
SB Rank: 6T of 10

These are good combinations, as they show that the Pirates aren’t just padding the stolen base column with excessive attempts. They’re getting the results from efficient base running. That is coming from good old fashioned base running decisions.

“The scoreboard always tells us how aggressive we can be or not,” Mattison said. “We use the scoreboard as our gauge on when to take risks or when to not take risks.”

There will be some moments where the players are a bit too eager and run into an out. The Pirates aren’t shy about this type of learning happening in the minors.

“If they decide to make a decision to take a risk, it’s okay,” said Mattison. “It’s a great opportunity to teach and learn. The more we learn at this level, the better they are going forward in Pittsburgh.”

From what I’ve seen of Marcano and the rest of the Altoona roster is that they’re going to take those risks this year.

From what we’ve seen of the numbers, they’re already pretty good at taking those risks.


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Tim Williams
Tim Williams
Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.

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