BRADENTON, Fla. - Pitcher Mike Crotta will be on the Pirates' opening-day roster, raising the number of former Curve players to reach the major leagues to 82.
For some perspective, 367 players have worn a Curve uniform during the first 12 seasons, and 22.3 percent of them have gone on to play in the big leagues.
Crotta was the Curve's opening-day starter last season and went 2-0 with a 1.78 ERA in four starts to earn a promotion to Triple-A. He went 5-10 with a 4.93 ERA for Indianapolis.
The Pirates have yet to name the Curve's opening-day starter this season, and they don't see it as a reward as much as simply whose regularly scheduled day it is to pitch.
Still, whoever gets the nod doesn't exactly face great odds of reaching the big leagues.
Crotta became just the fourth pitcher in Curve history to start on opening day in Double-A and go on to reach the majors, joining Brian O'Connor (2000), John Grabow (2001) and Ian Snell (2004).
Other opening-day starters for Altoona who failed to reach the majors: Paul Ah Yat, Justin Reid, Ben Shaffar, Mike Connolly (twice), Josh Shortslef, Kyle Bloom and Tony Watson.
Crotta earned a spot on the big league roster by giving up only two earned runs and seven hits in 12 innings this spring.
Twelve minor leaguers, including several slated to be with the Curve, are with the Pirates in Philadelphia for exhibition games last night and today. They are: OF Starling Marte, IF Jordy Mercer, C Kris Watts, C Eric Fryer, OF Brad Chalk, RHP Mike Colla, 3B Josh Harrison, 2B Brian Friday, RHP Jared Hughes, RHP Anthony Claggett, RHP Michael Dubee and IF Benji Gonzalez.
Marte, Watts, Chalk, Fryer and Colla will be with the Curve, while several others are possibilities but don't yet know their opening-day assignments.
The minor leaguers will return to Bradenton after today's game to continue to prepare for the season.