Pirates Success Means Success for AA Altoona Curve

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ALTOONA, Pa. (EYT) – The success the Pittsburgh Pirates are having at the major-league level is being felt in Altoona with the Class AA Curve.

“I think it’s always positive when the big-league club can do well,” Altoona Curve General Manager Rob Egan told EYT Media Tuesday. “Because, it stokes interest not just in the big-league club, it certainly has done that, but in all of their minor league affiliates and especially the ones close by. We’re at the AA level, and people know that at the AA level you could be on the 40-man roster and you could literally be a phone call away from hey we need you tonight in Pittsburgh. It’s pretty neat to know we have that kind of history with the Pirates and now it’s even more apparent to our fans because those who might not have watched the minor leagues closely before are wondering, who’s next? If we don’t have this player like Neil Walker or Pedro Alvarez, who’s coming to fill their spot either this year or next year. And they look to the minor leagues even more than they use to. I think it only benefits is that the Pirates are good.”

Egan rightfully points out that the type of player who has come through Altoona in the last few years, as the Pirates have gotten better, have been impact-type players.

Players like Andrew McCutchen (2006-07), Jordy Mercer (2010-11), Starling Marte (2011), Gregory Polanco (2013), Josh Harrison (2010), Gerrit Cole (2012) and Tony Watson (2009-10) who have become cornerstones to the Pirates run to three straight playoff appearances all have graced the field in Altoona. And some of the up-and-coming players who could keep that streak alive over the next few years like Jameson Taillon (2012-13), Josh Bell (2014-2015), Alen Hanson (2013-14) and Tyler Glasnow (2015) have also come through Altoona.

“It’s so much fun to see guys that are in their growing stages developing into the next stars at the major-league level,” Egan said. “We’ve had that here for 17 years, but not quite like over the past three or four years when we can see guys who have come through here making an impact on the big-league level where the team is winning 97, 98 games and going to the playoffs. You can look at the Pirates starting nine players, and six or seven of them have come through Altoona.”

Watch Altoona Curve General Manager Rob Egan discussing what’s new with the Curve this season.

The pipeline should be really good this year too with the likes of former No. 1 picks Reese McGuire, a catcher, and Austin Meadows and outfield (when he is healthy) being joined by outfielders Harold Ramirez and Barrett Barnes as some of the top positions prospects expected to play in Altoona this year.

Meadows in the Pirates No. 2 prospect according to Baseball America, while Ramirez is No. 5 and McGuire No. 6. Barnes is considered the 20th-best Pirates prospect by MLBPipeline.com.

“I kept hearing from a lot of Pirates personal this is going to be a really good team,” Egan said. “Especially from a position player-talent standpoint. Three of the top six in Baseball America’s Top 10 in the Pirates organization are going to start the year here. We have the next wave coming up. Players like Ramirez, Meadows and McGuire among many. We feel pretty fortunate to have such a good group here.”

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