PITTSBURGH - The Pittsburgh Pirates named former Altoona Curve right-hander James Marvel as their Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the 2019 season, the club announced on Wednesday.
Marvel started the season with the Curve and won a Double-A-best nine games before he was promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis on July 1. Overall in 2019, Marvel went 16-5 with a 2.94 ERA in 28 minor league starts. His 16 wins led all pitchers in the Minors while his 136 strikeouts led all Pirates minor league hurlers. Additionally, his 2.94 ERA was fourth-best in the system.
After the minor league season concluded, the Pirates purchased his contract and Marvel joined Pittsburgh's rotation on September 8. He made his MLB debut versus the St. Louis Cardinals on that date and pitched five two-run innings at PNC Park.
The 26-year-old went 9-5 with a 3.10 ERA in 17 starts for the Curve in 2019. He set the tone for his strong campaign with six scoreless, one-hit innings on Opening Day at Akron in which he struck out a career-best nine hitters. He finished April with a 3-1 record and 1.52 ERA, which included a complete-game shutout on April 20 at Richmond. The San Francisco native also went out on a high note when he matched a team record in June by going 5-0 in six starts, becoming the fourth pitcher to win five games during one month in club history. At the time of his promotion, Marvel ranked second in the E.L. with a 3.10 ERA, second with a 1.07 WHIP, third with a .228 batting average against, fifth with 83 strikeouts and led the league with 12 ground ball double plays.
Marvel was named an Eastern League All-Star but did not participate due to his promotion to Triple-A just before the All-Star Break. He finished the campaign by going 7-0 with a 2.67 ERA in the International League, which had an average ERA of 4.90 in 2019. Altoona and Indianapolis went 21-7 in games started by Marvel in 2019, including victories in 17 of his last 18 outings.
The honor of Pirates Minor League Pitcher of the Year has now been awarded to Altoona's Opening Day starter in each of the last two seasons following J.T. Brubaker as the recipient for 2018. The Pirates have honored one minor league player and pitcher since 2000 and Marvel is the eighth pitcher to spend time with the Curve before winning the award.
The Pirates awarded their annual Player of the Year Award to first baseman Mason Martin. Between Class A Greensboro and A-Adv. Bradenton in 2019, Martin led Minor League Baseball with 129 RBIs and hit 35 homers in 131 games. Both totals were the most by a Pirates minor leaguer since Brad Eldred (38 homers and 137 RBIs) with the Curve and A-Adv. Lynchburg during the 2004 season.
The Altoona Curve, 2010 and 2017 Eastern League Champions, have been the Double-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates since 1999. Visit AltoonaCurve.com, call 877.99.CURVE or stop by the PNG Field box office for 2020 Season Tickets and more information. Additionally, the Stockyard Team Store is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on non-gamedays and online 24/7/365.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.