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Rule 5 Draft: Pirates Add Starling Marte, Five Others

The Pirates have added top prospect Starling Marte to their 40-man roster, protecting him from the Rule 5 draft. They also added first baseman Matt Hague, shortstop Jordy Mercer, starting pitcher Rudy Owens, and relievers Justin Wilson and Duke Welker.

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Welker is the only one of the six with whom most Pirates fans aren't familiar, but he throws very hard and gets ground balls, which gives him solid upside for a reliever.

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The Pirates removed outfielder Xavier Paul and catcher Eric Fryer from the roster. Paul is of no particular concern, but it would be a shame to lose Fryer if a team claimed him. The Bucs will hope that no one does, and that Fryer will end up back in their minor-league system.

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The most interesting players the Pirates left unprotected were pitchers Brett Lorin and Diego Moreno. Moreno throws very hard and has posted great strikeout rates at times, so I could see him being taken in the Rule 5 draft. The Pirates haven't given him many chances to stick at Class AA, however, so it's possible they know something about him that we don't.

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For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.