Originally written on Pirates Prospects  |  Last updated 11/7/12
DARREN FORD CENTER FIELDER Born: October 1, 1985 Height: 5’9″ Weight: 190 Bats: Right Throws: Right Drafted: 18th Round, 526th Overall, 2004 (Brewers) How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent High School: Vineland (NJ) HS Agent: N/A WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES Ford was a high school track star with blazing speed, but he never managed to develop enough as a hitter.  He doesn’t have much power and, despite having the speed to beat out a lot of hits, hasn’t hit for good enough averages because he’s struggled to make contact.  He was a prolific base stealer in the lower minors but hasn’t had good SB percentages in the upper minors.  He covers a lot of ground in the outfield, but has a below average arm. 2005 R+:  271/365/326, 236 AB, 4 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 33 BB, 70 K, 18-22 SB Ford played center and left in advanced rookie ball and did a good job of getting on base, but he struck out in nearly a third of his ABs without producing much power. 2006 A:  283/361/387, 491 AB, 24 2B, 3 3B, 7 HR, 56 BB, 133 K, 69-84 SB As the regular centerfielder in low A, Ford showed more power and cut down a little on his strikeouts, although he still fanned more than a quarter of the time.  He stole a lot of bases with a decent percentage of success. 2007 A:  335/398/504, 224 AB, 15 2B, 4 3B, 5 HR, 23 BB, 56 K, 31-41 SB A+:  231/317/308, 273 AB, 7 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 35 BB, 67 K, 36-42 SB Ford returned to low A and hit very well, but struggled in high A after a June promotion. 2008 A+ (Mil):  230/322/303, 343 AB, 13 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 46 BB, 88 K, 48-59 SB A+ (SF):  219/346/266, 128 AB, 4 2B, 1 3B, 23 BB, 42 K, 14-15 SB Ford continued to struggle in high A and the Brewers traded him to San Francisco in a deadline deal for Ray Durham.  He remained a very effective base stealer and still had trouble making contact. 2009 A+:  300/386/463, 380 AB, 17 2B, 9 3B, 9 HR, 45 BB, 97 K, 35-47 SB The Giants sent Ford back to high A for the season.  His improved hitting probably was at least partly attributable to the California League. 2010 AA:  251/315/365, 463 AB, 20 2B, 9 3B, 5 HR, 39 BB, 106 K, 37-52 SB MLB:  0 AB, 2-3 SB Ford finally moved up to AA.  His walk rate, which had generally been good at lower levels, dropped, probably because pitchers weren’t afraid to challenge him.  His base stealing also suffered as he got thrown out more.  The Giants brought him up in September and he appeared exclusively as a pinch hitter, apart from two innings in center. 2011 R:  375/500/708, 24 AB, 1 3B, 2 HR, 6 BB, 4 K, 2-3 SB AA:  279/347/314, 86 AB, 3 2B, 9 BB, 24 K, 6-9 SB AAA:  211/263/324, 71 AB, 2 2B, 2 HR, 4 BB, 23 K, 10-10 SB MLB:  286/375/286, 14 AB, 1 BB, 5 K, 7-12 SB The Giants called Ford up when Andres Torres got hurt in mid-April and Ford remained in the majors until he sprained an ankle in late May.  He appeared mainly as a pinch runner, but got thrown out a lot on steal attempts.  He spent time in the minors rehabbing, then returned to the Giants in September.  The Giants released him after the season. 2012 AAA:  273/326/385, 304 AB, 16 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 23 BB, 61 K, 26-40 SB The Mariners signed Ford and kept him in AAA all year.  He hit with a little more authority, but that may have been the Pacific Coast League.  His walk rate and SB % both continued to be sub-par. The Pirates signed Ford to a minor league deal on the day he became a free agent.  With Robbie Grossman gone, they’ll be thin on outfield prospects for Indianapolis.  Ford will probably be the centerfielder there unless Alex Presley gets sent down. STATS Baseball Reference–Majors Baseball Reference–Minors Fangraphs MLB.com MiLB.com CONTRACT INFORMATION 2013: Minor league contract PLAYER INFORMATION Signing Bonus: N/A MiLB Debut: 2005 MLB Debut: 9/1/2010 MiLB FA Eligible: 2013 MLB FA Eligible: 2018 Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible Added to 40-Man: November 20, 2009 Options Remaining: 1 (USED: 2010, 2011) MLB Service Time: 0.127 TRANSACTIONS June 7, 2004: Drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 18th round, 526th overall pick; signed on May 15, 2005. July 20, 2008: Traded by the Milwaukee Brewers with Steve Hammond to the San Francisco Giants for Ray Durham. November 28, 2011: Released by the San Francisco Giants. December 2, 2011: Signed as a minor league free agent with the Seattle Mariners. November 6, 2012: Became a free agent. November 6, 2012: Signed as a minor league free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
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