Originally written on Pirates Prospects  |  Last updated 11/20/14
Andy Vasquez has been a surprising bright spot in the Altoona offense. The Curve lost their best hitter when Adalberto Santos went down with a hip injury April 15, and the offense has struggled for noticeable spells in the early season.  Santos returned Tuesday night, so there is some optimism he’ll be able to pick up where he left off prior to his injury. Andy Vasquez has been the team’s best hitter over the past ten games putting up a .417/.432/.556 line, followed by Matt Curry’s .316/.381/.500.  Vasquez is a bit old at 25 and has never been all that highly regarded as a prospect, signing out of the Dominican Republic at age 20.  His major problem has been plate discipline, so even at points when he’s hit well, his low walk rate and high strikeout rate have made it difficult to project him as anything other than an organizational player. In a small sample size in 2013, Vasquez has a 6.8% walk-rate about double what it was 2010-2012, and he’s already striking out less so far.  There’s not a lot of power, but he has played almost every position on the field in his career, and if he keeps hitting consistently, he could be considered a super-sleeper utility player prospect.  With Santos back in the fold at third base, expect Vasquez to play a mix of positions moving forward. Matt Curry will reach 900 plate appearances in AA this week, and he did enough to deserve a promotion to AAA coming into 2013 (along with Santos and Andrew Lambo for that matter).  He’s up to .270 on the season, which is about where I’d expect him to be, and he has three homers in the early going.  As a first baseman, he’ll need the pop to continue moving up, and he’ll need to show he can hit lefties (3-for-25 in 2013).  His plate patience is not as good this year as previous seasons, possibly a sign he’s taking bigger cuts and starting his swing earlier to increase his power.  Or maybe that’s just the small sample size. My opinion on Curry will probably remain the same until he gets called up to AAA for a new test. Andrew Lambo didn’t have a great week, only hitting .237/.286/.342, but he’s been one of the few bright spots in the line-up through the first month of the season.  Similar to Curry, I worry about platoon splits (3-for-25 against lefties), but Lambo has looked good at the plate when I’ve seen him, and he has always had a good swing.  Like Curry, he’s another player who has logged lots of at bats in AA (almost 1,400), and now is the time to see what he can do in AAA. Injuries have slowed Lambo’s development, but this year he looks 100 percent. “It’s great to feel healthy.  When something’s wrong you have to overcompensate and bad things start happening,” said Lambo. Bottom of the line-up continues to struggle The jump to AA is the hardest one to make for hitters, as AA pitchers are much more able to command a repertoire of pitches consistently.  Especially in the early going, it’s not uncommon to see players start slowly, and, as Cory Giger reminded me recently, Andrew McCutchen was only hitting .158 in Altoona in mid-May 2007. Disclaimers aside, several Curve hitters have really struggled to open the season (through Monday): Alex Dickerson: .192/.250/.359 Carlos Paulino: .193/.292/.246 Gift Ngoepe: .145/.238/.232 The sliver of good news here is that Dickerson hit his second homer (first to clear the wall) on Monday, and his swing looked better on Tuesday against Akron than when I saw it previously.  He started slow last season, and hopefully he can make adjustments to put in more productive at bats moving forward. It’s also worth noting that while Paulino and Ngoepe have struggled at the plate, they are outstanding defenders, probably the best at their positions in the system.  Unfortunately, to have an impact, they will need to make serious advances at the plate.  Ngoepe especially looks befuddled at the plate, striking out in over 40% of his plate appearances after Tuesday’s game. “They’re going to get better.  They can’t get much worse than that,” said manager Carlos Garcia. You can follow me on twitter @John_Eshleman.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Ray Rice wins appeal, can sign with any team

Ohio governor decrees playoff committee honorary Ohioans

Lance Stephenson becoming a problem with the Hornets?

Tony Romo: I promise I'll be better next week

Seahawks could wait to address Russell Wilson's contract

Report: SMU football to hire Clemson offensive coordinator

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Dez Bryant: Eagles were ‘kinda cheap’

Hockey goalie rushes into stands to perform CPR on fan

49ers CEO Jed York apologizes for unacceptable performance

Family searching for missing Ohio State football player

CM Punk opens up about leaving WWE, says he'll never return

Manny Pacquiao responds to Floyd Mayweather diss

What if the Chargers refused to trade Eli Manning?

Why is there a red seat hanging in the Mall of America?

WATCH: Mickey Rourke TKO’d a man half his age in Moscow

What's next for the 49ers?

The most tone-deaf tweet ever?

Five bold predictions for Week 13 in the NFL

Brady Quinn pens 'note' to Jets quarterback Geno Smith

Bills center Eric Wood gained 7.4 pounds at Thanksgiving

Cubs reliever somehow OK after being involved in awful accident

Seahawks players throw shade at 49ers after victory

Five takeaways from NFL's Thanksgiving Day action

Things to be thankful for in the NBA this season

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

What if the Chargers didn't trade Eli?

Dez Bryant: Eagles were ‘kinda cheap’

Ray Rice wins appeal, can sign with any team

What's next for the 49ers?

The most tone-deaf tweet ever?

Is Lance a problem for the Hornets?

5 NFL takeaways from Thanksgiving

WATCH: Ronda Rousey talks Eminem

CM Punk opens up about leaving WWE

Wrigley renovation may be delayed

Steelers could have been America's Team

John Beilein upset with ESPN

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.