After a difficult first week of the 2013 season, the Pittsburgh Pirates have put themselves in the exact position they want to be in heading into the end of April.
Several Pirates' prospects have followed the same path as the major league club, overcoming rough starts to position themselves well for a successful 2013. The top performers include a few of the Bucs' best prospects, some recent acquisitions and an intriguing turnaround story.
Jameson Taillon (SP, Altoona)
Taillon, the Pirates' No. 2 prospect, has avoided the early-season inconsistency that has plagued top prospect Gerrit Cole. So far this season, Taillon is striking out a batter per inning to pace the Altoona rotation. He still has a fair amount of development ahead, but it's good to Taillon pitching well early.
Stolmy Pimentel (SP, Altoona)
Pimentel, one of the four players the Bucs acquired in this winter's Joel Hanrahan trade, has gotten off to a very strong start in his Pirates' career. Though he needs to cut down on his walks, he has struck out a batter an inning so far this season while only allowing one run in 23.1 innings. With the way Pimentel and Mark Melancon are playing (along with Hanrahan himself), it's looking like Neal Huntington made a pretty wise move thus far.
Tim Alderson (RP, Altoona)
Alderson, another trade acquisition, is looking to revive his career as a member of the Altoona bullpen. He remains a bit of a long shot, but he is off to a strong start this year, striking out 13 batters while walking only one in 10.1 innings pitched. Alderson no longer possess the elite stuff he once did, but a bullpen role, and some return from the Freddy Sanchez trade, isn't out of the question.
Gregory Polanco (OF, Bradenton)
Polanco, one of the Pirates' best hitting prospects (if not the best in the organization), is off to a very strong start to 2013, reaching base in nearly 40 percent of his plate appearances. Even more impressive is the fact that he has struck out only six times in 68 at-bats. Given Alen Hanson's early struggles, it's good to see the Bucs' other highly-touted hitter doing well.
Stetson Allie (3B, West Virginia)
Though there is a lot to watch throughout the Pirates' organization, Allie is by far the most interesting story right now. The former pitching prospect was converted to a hitter late last season after struggling to find, or even broach the strike zone, and the early returns have been promising. Allie's six home runs have propelled him to a gaudy .658 slugging percentage in his first 79 at-bats. He strikes out a lot, and it's clearly very, very early, but Stetson Allie is once again a name worth watching.