Baseball America today listed all 533 minor league free agents — that is, players not on a 40-man roster by Nov. 6 who have at least six years service time while still bound by their first minor league contract.
Pirates fans should be sure to look over the list (http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?cat=7) because one or two — or more — of those players might turn up at PNC Park next summer. Over the past couple of years, the Pirates have signed quite a few minor league FAs — as Garrett Jones proved, it’s an inexpensive way to sometimes catch lightning in a bottle. “We’re aggressive in this market and we always will be,” GM Neal Huntington said.
There are 19 players from the Pirates’ farm system on the list:
Pitchers — Derek Hankins (Double-A Altoona), Jean Machi (Triple-A Indianapolis), Dustin Molleken (Altoona), Jeremy Powell (Indianapolis), Tyler Yates (Indianapolis), Dana Eveland (Indianapolis), Corey Hamman (Indianapolis)
Catchers — Hector Gimenez (Altoona), Erik Kratz (Indianapolis), Milver Reyes (High-A Bradenton), James Skelton (Bradenton)
Infielders — Brian Myrow (Indianapolis), Rodolfo Cardona (Bradenton), Yung Chi Chen (Altoona), Jose de los Santos (Altoona), Doug Bernier (Indianapolis)
Outfielders — Mitch Jones (Indianapolis), Kevin Melillo (Indianapolis), Jonathan Van Every (Indianapolis)
Note: Outfielder Brandon Moss and pitcher Steve Jackson also are free agents. They don’t appear on BA’s list because, as Huntington explained, “They both elected free agency after their second outright, so, technically, they are a different type of free agent.”
»»» There are plenty of familiar names on the list of minor league free agents. There are former stars (Mark Prior, Dontrelle Willis) guys who’ve put in some solid time in the majors (Kaz Matsui, Willy Taveras, Jason Isringhausen, Jacque Jones, Chad Cordero, Brett Tomko) and guys who never quite lived up to their hype (Dallas McPherson, Josh Barfield).
There also are a few notable ex-Buccos: J.R. House, Chris Shelton, Brad Eldred, Robinzon Diaz, Jonah Bayliss, Ryan Vogelsong and John Van Benschoten.
»»» Eric Seidman, writing today for Baseball Prospectus, put Andrew McCutchen on his list of 16 “sneaky good” players in the NL. According to Seidman, McCutchen “legitimately deserves any accolades sent in his direction and much more publicity than he currently receives. He might be the MVP of this group.”