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Grossman, McPherson top minor leaguers

By John Grupp
Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011

Outfielder Robbie Grossman, who became the first minor leaguer in seven years to score 100 runs and draw 100 walks, on Friday was named the Pirates' minor league Player of the Year. Right-hander Kyle McPherson, a 14th-round pick in 2007, was named the Pitcher of the Year.

Intent on attending the University of Texas, Grossman lasted until the sixth round despite being a top-50 prospect in the 2008 draft. A $1 million signing bonus convinced him to start his pro career — and began a draft-day philosophy that has persisted for the Pirates.

The switch-hitting Grossman hit .294 with 13 home runs, 56 RBI, 127 runs and 1 04 walks in 134 games at Single-A Bradenton. Nick Swisher was the last minor leaguer to go 100/100; he had 109 runs and 103 walks for Triple-A Sacramento in 2004.

"(Grossman) is an offensive player, and I think he plays pretty well on the other side of the ball," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "I'm looking forward to going to the fall league and watching him play."

McPherson was 12-6 with a 2.96 ERA and 142 strikeouts in 28 starts between Bradenton and Double-A Altoona.

"He had some struggles," Hurdle said. "It wasn't all easy. He was able to fight through those. He's a young man with a great frame and a big arm."

» The Pirates will finish the season with the fourth-highest home attendance in club history. They had drawn 1,850,651 fans entering last night, the start of the final homestand of the year, just 16,714 shy of fourth in club history. Only in 2001, 1991 and 1990 did the Pirates draw more fans.

"The fan base spoke for themselves," Hurdle said. "If you put a team out that can compete and win and play good baseball, they will show up."

» The starter for Wednesday's season finale will be Jeff Locke, who pitched Friday night, Brian Burres (1-0, 4.09 ERA) or Aaron Thompson (0-0, 7.04).



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