Not only has the big club started the season nicely at 3-2, but the PBC minor league affiliates have gotten off to positive starts as well with most of the damage being done by legitimate prospects as opposed to the Littlefield-era 30-year-old minor league fillers.  Let’s fire up the ol’ prospect harvester then and take a look around the farm.

"Paint my chicken coop." "Make me."

AAA Indianapolis (2-1)

– Pedro Alvarez hasn’t wasted any time in AAA, hitting three homers in his first three games.  Mind you, those are his only three hits, but he has also drawn three walks so you have to be pretty happy with his bat so far.

– Jose Tabata is also off to a nice start, going 5 for 15 with a pair of doubles and a pair of stolen bases while Steve Pearce is 6 for 12 with 4 doubles and 4 walks.  If Jeff Clement continues to show an inability to hit lefties, expect to see Pearce again sooner rather than later.

AA Altoona (3-0)

– The shortstop combo of Jordy Mercer (5/12) and Chase D’Arnaud (3/12 with 2 doubles) are both off to nice starts which is awfully encouraging after years of absolutely nothing from the middle infield positions in the minors.  Mercer left something to be desired at Lynchburg last year, so its good to see him start strongly.

– The pitching has been the real story in AA though, allowing only 2 runs in their first three games.  Tim Alderson spun 5 scoreless last night. Although, reports of his velocity continue to range from sketchy to depressing.  Daniel Moskos has managed to pitch twice without embarrassing himself which is nice.

A+ Bradenton (3-0)

– The newly formed Bradenton team is by far the sexiest level in our entire system featuring top 100 prospects like Tony Sanchez and Starling Marte, quality pitching prospects like Bryan Morris and Jeff Locke, and very interesting young outfielders Robbie Grossman and Quincy Latimore.  It’s not quite an embarrassment of riches, but it’s the closest any Pirate affiliate has been in a decade.

– Grossman, in particular, has started the season on fire, going 6/15 with a homer and a steal.  More importantly, his strikeout woes seem to be a thing of the past, or at least for now as he has yet to strike out.  That’s impressive progress for a 20-year-old getting his first taste of high A ball.

– The other two legs of the outfield have been fantastic as well. The 21-year-olds Marte (4/11) and Latimore (4/10) are flashing precisely the power and speed that they were projected to have.

– Last year’s 1st rounder Tony Sanchez is also hitting well, going 4/11 with a pair of doubles to only 1 K while continuing to be the plus-plus defensive catcher that the scouts rave about.

– The pitching combo of Locke and Morris both pitched into the 5th of their first start with Morris giving up no runs and striking out 5 while Locke only gave up a 2 run homer while striking out 4.

– Lastly, in the heartwarming story department, South African youngster Gift Ngoepe is getting a look at high A while shortstop prospect Brock Holt is out injured. Ngoepe doubled in his first at-bat on the level against former Ranger pitcher Ron Mahay.

A West Virginia (0-3)

– I suppose it can’t all be good news. At least, the only prospect of note with West Virginia, third baseman Jarek Cunningham, has started out 5 for 12.