By Jason Shetler
After four straight seasons of not making the playoffs, the Altoona Curve returned to postseason action in 2015, but lost in the Division Championship Series to the Bowie Baysox. This season, the Curve will be led by first year manager and 1997 All-Star second baseman Joey Cora.
Pitching: After undergoing Tommy John surgery two years ago, Clay Holmes is looking to pitch a full season in 2016. The rest of the rotation will consist of Cody Dickson, Tyler Eppler, Jason Creasy and David Whitehead. The Pirates acquired Whitehead from the Philadelphia Phillies in the Charlie Morton deal this past offseason. Montana DuRapau, Jhondaniel Medina and Lithuanian native Dovydas Neverauskas are a few intriguing arms in the bullpen.
Infield: Reese McGuire, the Bucs #5 prospect, will be behind the plate for the Curve this year. Taiwanese prospect Jin-De Jhang is going to be the backup catcher. One of the more underrated prospects in the system is Jose Osuna, who is the first baseman. Chris Diaz and Erich Weiss are expected to be the middle infielders while Eric Wood will be the third baseman. Anderson Feliz signed with the Pirates out of Independent ball during the offseason, and will serve as a utility player off the bench.
Outfield: Pirates #2 prospect Austin Meadows is on the disabled list, as he recovers from an orbital fracture, but should join the Curve in late April or May. The other outfielders are Harold Ramirez, Barrett Barnes and Stetson Allie. Reserve outfielders will be Jonathan Schwind and Justin Maffei.