Powell Has Speed to Burn

Pedro Powell

Pedro Powell loves to run. And why not, his speed has proven to be his biggest asset.

Pittsburgh's 18th-round draft selection out of Middle Georgia Community College (Ga.) in 2003, Powell has quickly become a threat on the base paths.

Ranking second in the Gulf Coast League with 22 steals in 2004, Powell went on to swipe 44 in the South Atlantic League in 2005.

Last season with Lynchburg, Powell led all Pirates' farmhands and the Carolina League with 63 stolen bases. He also registered a league-high tying 17 sacrifice bunts.

"I'm truly working on hitting ground balls as well as hit line-drives and hitting the gaps," Powell said. "I want to get those extra at-bats and make things happen early and often."

His sights toward this season are even higher.

"My goal was 60 going into the season," said Powell, who Scout.com said has the best legs in the Pittsburgh organization. "So I was glad to come out with 63.

"I set a new goal for this season and I'm trying to steal 80."

Powell was anticipating a start in Class AA Altoona this year, but Pittsburgh has assigned him to Class A Lynchburg where he will bat leadoff and play centerfield.

He knows a lot of unanswered questions throughout the organization will later determine Pittsburgh's plans for him.

"It depends what happens at the major league level," Powell said. "I'll be patient and wait my turn for my opportunity. I just have to make the best of it."

The 5-foot-7, 146-pound outfielder also led all Carolina League outfielders in total chances (317, putouts (296) and assists (16) while playing in a league-high tying 130 games among outfielders last season.

"I feel anything hit out in the outfield I can go get," Powell explained. "If it's in my area, I feel like I can track it down with my speed."

The leadoff hitter batted .263 (114 for 369) with 43 walks, 46 runs scored, four doubles and 36 RBI with the Hillcats.

"I feel I could be a leadoff guy for somebody," Powell said. "I just have to cut down on my strikeouts. I'm still learning the game a little bit. But I feel like I can make things happen as a leadoff hitter, getting on base and get the team pumped up and fired up. I can see myself as being a leadoff guy in the big leagues."

He also understands walks are just as important as hits.

"Base on balls are just as good as a single," Powell said. "If I get on base it will turn into a double or triple (if I steal). I'm just going to be more patient this year at the plate and take one pitch at a time."

Nevertheless, he's motivated to be more consistent this season.

"I'm striving for more consistency and to work the pitcher more this year," Powell said. "I have to make the pitcher pitch to me and stop chasing things. At times I get triggered ahead of the swing and start chasing things at times.

"I want to put the ball in play and just run. I love to run."

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