Why the Pirates Should be More Aggressive in Purchasing Players from Independent Ball

Indy ball players are a small risk/big reward situation for any major league organization if they know where to look. More teams are slowly starting to take notice.

Bucs Pipeline

By Jason Shetler

During Neal Huntington’s time as general manager, the Pirates have found different ways to infuse talent into the farm system. While Huntington and his staff have done well in both the MLB Drafts and signing players out of Latin America with the help of Latin Scouting Director Rene Gayo, the Pirates have also been going the Independent ball route in the last couple years. 

In June of last year, the Pirates purchased John Holdzkom from the Amarillo Sox of the American Association. The 6’9 right-hander possessed an upper-90’s fastball, but had some serious command issues. Holdzkom started out pitching for the Altoona Curve and was promoted to the Indianapolis Indians shortly after. He was so dominant against AAA competition that he was brought up to Pittsburgh as a September call up. Not only did Holdzkom make some appearances, but he performed well in high leverage situations, and…

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