ALTOONA- The Altoona Curve have announced that Pittsburgh Pirates' top-rated prospects, outfielder Andrew McCutchen and third baseman Neil Walker, have been promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis. Left-handed relief pitcher Dave Davidson, a member of the Pirates' 40-man roster, has also been promoted to Indy. The announcement was made following the Curve's 7-3 loss at Binghamton Thursday evening.
All three players are expected to join Indianapolis for the finale of a two-game series in Durham on Friday evening. The Tribe will then remain in North Carolina to play a pair of games at Charlotte on Saturday and Sunday.
McCutchen, 20, and Walker, 21, were rated by Baseball America as the Pirates' No. 1 and 2 prospects, respectively, entering the 2007 season. The duo opened the '07 campaign with Altoona after also finishing the 2006 season at the Double-A level. In fact, McCutchen and Walker were each promoted to Altoona for the first time on the same day last August (August 15).
McCutchen hit .258 with 10 home runs, 48 RBI and 17 stolen bases in 118 games this season for the Curve. After hitting just .233 (69-for-296) over the first three months of the season, McCutchen picked up the pace in July and August, posting a .307 average (46-for-150) in his final 41 Double-A games. He went 1-for-4 Thursday at Binghamton to extend his season-high on-base streak to 20 games.
Walker, who made the conversion from catcher to third base this season, was one of the Eastern League's most consistent hitters, recording a .288 average with 13 home runs and 66 RBI in 117 games. He was selected to participate in the Eastern League All-Star Game and is a strong candidate to be named an E.L. post-season All-Star.
Both players were first round draft selections of the Pirates after standout high school careers. Walker was the 11th overall pick in the 2004 Draft out of Pine-Richland High School in suburban Pittsburgh. McCutchen was taken one year later in the same slot out of Fort Meade High School in Florida.
Davidson was the Pirates' 10th round selection in the 2002 draft out of high school in St. Catherine's, Ontario, making him the Bucs' highest-drafted Canadian-born player in history. The 23-year old lefty went 3-1 with two saves, a 4.22 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 59 2/3 innings over 39 games. Davidson limited Eastern League batters to just a .205 average against.
The Curve are expected to announce additions to their 24-man active roster on Friday.
Altoona will open
a four-game series over three days against the Erie SeaWolves (Detroit Tigers)
Friday evening at Blair County Ballpark. Friday's first pitch is set for
7:05 p.m. The
Curve and 'Wolves will also play a 5:35 p.m.
doubleheader on Saturday before concluding their series Sunday at
trails Erie by 4 1/2 games in the
race for the wild-card spot in the Eastern League's Southern Division.