In 2003, we began a tradition of compiling all of the extra scouting reports that were written for the Prospect Handbook but didn't quite make it into the book. Sometimes trade acquisitions squeeze other prospects out of a Top 30, and sometimes we just change our minds. We called the group of extra players The 31st Team. Last year, as a premium for people who buy the Handbook directly from us, we included a supplement with a bonus prospect for each team. So that now functions as The 31st Team. But we still have leftover scouting reports, hence the creation of . . . The 32nd Team.Now, for the ex-Rattlers on their list:
The inaugural edition of The 32nd team featured 17 players, several of whom graduated to the 2010 Prospect Handbook. The most notable was Mariners third baseman Alex Liddi, who led the minor leagues with a .345 batting average last season. This year's 32nd Team consists of 25 players. That brings the final count of Handbook-related scouting reports to 958: 30 for each team, 30 more in the bonus supplement, two Cuban defectors in the Appendix and this, The 32nd Team.
Nathan Adcock, rhp, Pirates
Born: Feb. 25, 1988. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 190. Drafted: HS—Radcliff, Ky., 2006 (5th round). Signed by: Brian Williams (Mariners).
Adcock joined the Pirates in a seven-player deal last July, as Pittsburgh sent Jack Wilson and Ian Snell to the Mariners and received Adcock, Jeff Clement, Ronny Cedeno and minor league righthanders Brett Lorin and Aaron Pribanic. The trade liberated Adcock from the hitter-friendly high Class A California League, but he didn't pitch any better after making a move to the Carolina League. The Pirates put Adcock on a strict pitch count after the trade because he occasionally had been bothered by elbow tenderness in 2008 and 2009. He can dial his fastball up to 94 mph, though it normally sits at 88-92. He has smooth mechanics and could throw harder if he adds strength. He also has a hard curveball and changeup that both need refinement. To find success against more advanced hitters, he'll have to throw more strikes and locate his pitches better in the zone. Adcock needs to make a lot of strides if he's going to cut it as a starter, and he may project better as a reliever. He likely will begin 2010 in Double-A.
Efrain Nieves, lhp, Brewers
Born: Nov. 15, 1989. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 175. Drafted: HS—Gurabo, P.R., 2007 (7th round). Signed by: Manolo Hernandez/Charlie Sullivan.
Nieves had his ups and downs when he got his first taste of full-season ball in 2009. He appeared a bit fatigued early in the season, perhaps from pitching in winter ball. He lost the feel for his curveball and changeup, making him a one-pitch pitcher in many outings. That proved to be a problem because he can't overpower hitters with a fastball that sits at 88-91 mph. Nieves must rely on command and mixing his pitches. His changeup may be his most reliable pitch, and he also throws a curveball and a slider. He pitched well for Puerto Rico at the World Cup in September, showing good poise for a teenager. Nieves must continue to work on hitting his spots to prove he can be a starter at the top level. Otherwise, he might have to settle for being a lefthanded specialist out of the bullpen. He'll spend 2010 at high Class A Brevard County.
Adcock played with the Rattlers in '07 and '08. Nieves was a Rattler last season.