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Pirates Farm System by Stephanos Mavroides

Outlook of the Pirates Farm System 2022: 

Key Additions in 2021:

At the start of the seasons the Pirates farm system has been ranked #7 behind the Marlins, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Rays, Mariners, and #1 ranked Orioles. We dropped three spots from the end of last season but Ben Cherington has added a lot of depth to the farm system with the addition of Kyle Nicolas and Connor Scott in the Jacob Stallings trade. We also added number one pick Henry Davis to the farm system, as well as Anthony Solometo, Bubba Chandler, and Lonnie White Jr. in the 2021 draft.  With these additions it allowed us to add some depth but also diversity to our farm system. Before these moves we really did not have an intriguing left handed prospect till we drafted Solometo. Also, the addition of Henry Davis and having Endy Rodriguez will shore up our catching situation for years to come. And the addition of Bubba Chandler is very intriguing because they see him being a two player in the future and having the luxury and upside of that in your system is nice. 

Top Prospects in 2022: 

As of 2022, has 6 of our prospects ranked in the top 100. They have Nick Gonzales ranked at #20, Henry Davis at #23, Oneil Cruz at #25, Quinn Priester at #52, Roansy Contreras at #69, and Liover Peguero at #77. While this is very strong to have 6 prospects in MLB’s top 100 list, I believe there is an argument that at least one or two more prospects should be on that list, and that would be for sure Endy Rodriguez and sooner than later Anthony Solometo and Bubba Chandler. 

My top 10 Pirates in the Farm system: 

  1. SS- Oneil Cruz. Cruz was acquired at the 2017 deadline from the Dodgers for Tony Watson. Since then he has risen the ranks of our farm system and now that I look back could be Hunnington’s best trade in his tenure here. Cruz is a 6’7 shortstop who has outstanding arm strength and excellent pop in his bat. Although he lacks the fundamentals in fielding he makes up for it with his strong arm and at the dish. As of now he is playing down in Indy and is batting .176 with a homerun and 8 rbis. Although his struggles may alarm people, I believe he’s still ready to be called up and he will get out of the funk soon. 

  2. 2B- Nick Gonzales.  Gonzales was drafted in 2020 from New Mexico State and was truly one of the more MLB ready players in my opinion on the board for us at pick 7. Gonzales can run, he has some pop, but he’s just a great hitter overall. His swing is a thing of beauty and he’s going to win a few batting titles in the majors I believe. There’s no real downside to him as he has progressed significantly at second defensively and he should be reaching the majors hopefully this September. As of now Nick is batting .203 with 2 homeruns for the Curve. As the year comes along he will pick things up and get a callup to AAA. 

  3. C- Henry Davis.  Davis was the #1 pick last year from Louisville and was the number 1 catcher available in that draft. Davis is known for his strong arm and power. I have Davis ranked behind Gonzales and Cruz because I believe they simply have more upside than Davis, but I do believe Davis can be a JT Realmuto type catcher for us, which is more than enough. Davis is batting .323 with 3 Homeruns and 15 rbis for Greensboro. Watch for him to move up the ranks very soon. 

  4. SP- Roansy Contreras. Contreras was a part of the Jameson Taillon trade and the trade has been lopsided so far. We gained Diego Castillo as well from the Yankees and they have been the best moves by Ben Cherrington so far in my opinion. Contreras’s fastball reaches about 97-98 as of now and he has some serious spin on his curveball and slider. As of this year and last season he has made numerous appearances and has looked the part. He started the year with the Pirates and pitched 7 and ⅔ innings with a 3.52 ERA. But, recently he was sent down to AAA to get starts I believe and he has 1.42 ERA in 6 and ⅓ innings. 

  5. SP- Quinn Priester.  Priester was drafted in 2019 with the 18th pick out of high school. Priester has strong off speed stuff, but with his 4 pitch mix his curveball is his money pitch. His fastball sinks very well, so he is known for getting ground balls and with the significance of his off-speed pitches it will bode well with strikeouts in the majors. As of now Priester is on the IL with an oblique injury, and I’m very fascinated on how he does this year and how far he can jump in the system. 

  6. SS- Liover Peguero.  Peguero was acquired in the Starling Marte trade with the Diamondbacks before the 2020 season. Peguero is a plus runner and has very good fielding abilities. But, many scouts have said as he gets stronger they have seen more and more pop in his bat and increased exit velocities. For me, he is one of our more intriguing prospects because if he keeps improving it may push us to move him to the outfield or move Cruz to DH or the outfield which wouldn’t be ideal. Peguero is batting .338 with 3 homeruns and 16 rbis for the Curve and has looked very good recently, there’s a good chance in my opinion that he could be a September call up with Gonzales or atleast finish the season strong in AAA. 

  7. C/OF- Endy Rodriguez. Rodriguez was acquired in a 3 team trade with the Mets and Padres that included the Pirates sending Joe Musgrove to the Padres.  Rodriguez is a switch hitting catcher who can also play the outfield. His fielding abilities are his top trait, but as a switch hitter he’s been able to add some pop to his game. Rodriguez is a guy who reminds me of Wilson Contreras but as a switch hitter. Contreras was also a guy who was a catcher but also played the outfield as well. I can see Endy playing the outfield more with us drafting Davis last year. As of now Rodriguez is batting .263 with 2 homeruns and 9 rbi’s for Greensboro. 

  8. RHP/SS- Bubba Chandler.  Chandler was drafted last year in the third round as a two way player. In high school he was a top Quarterback prospect, with the addition of being a two way player on the diamond. He fell in the draft due to concern he would choose Clemson over the MLB, but with Cherrington dishing out a 3 million signing bonus to him, he joined the Pirates. Chandler is the most intriguing guy in our system because of his ability to play the infield and pitch. His fastball has topped out at 97 mph, and at shortstop he has good range with his strong arm. He is also a switch hitter and has shown the ability to have some pop from both sides. Overall, I’m excited to see his future and we utilise him once he joins the majors. 

  9. LHP- Anthony Solometo. Solometo was also picked in last year’s draft in the second round and was also given a nice sized signing bonus to sign with the Pirates.  Solometo has really good stuff but people really like his deception and his funky delivery. Many people I’ve seen have compared him to Madison Bumgarner and I believe that is a very fair comparison. Only being 19 I can see him being a top 10-15 prospect in the near future and I believe the front office would agree with me.

  1. RHP-  Mike Burrows.   Burrows was drafted in 2018 in the 11th round, and is a prospect that isn’t talked about at all. His velo has reached 97 mph, with his curve being his best pitch. But, Burrows had a very strong 2021 campaign with a 2.2 era, and starting this season in AA even better with a 1.00 era in 18 innings pitched. I believe Burrows will be a sleeper guy who helps the Pirates pitching staff in the future and he reminds me of a better version of Chad Kuhl. 

Prospects to watch: 

  1. RHP- Tahnaj Thomas. Has started the year strong in Altoona with a 1.23 era over a short amount of innings. But with his ability to reach high velocities he will be an intriguing prospect for years to come. 

  2. OF- Cal Mitchell.  Mitchell has been a guy I’ve been keeping an eye on because of his consistency over his career in the minors. So far in 2022, he has been killing it with Indy, batting .305 with 3 home runs. With the lack of major league outfielders on the Pirates I can see him getting a call up very soon. 

  3. 1B- Mason Martin.  Martin is the one guy in our farm system that has some serious power. He hit 35 home runs in 2019 and 25 last year. And this year he is batting .305 with 4 homers and 17 rbi’s in AAA. With the Pirates not really having a solid starter at first base I can see him joining the majors soon or at least as a September call up. 

  4. OF- Connor Scott.  The last prospect that I think has turned heads this year is Scott. Scott was a former first round pick for the Marlins in 2018, and he was traded to the Pirates for Stallings. He was just thrown into the deal with Nicolas and Zach Thompson. Scott has 20 hits over 57 at bats this year so far for AA and he’s finally living up to his first round status. For the Pirates this emergence is huge because of the lack of outfield depth in the majors and throughout the minors. I hope Scott will reach AAA this year and continue to keep hitting at a high rate. 

By: Stephanos Mavroides 5/2/2022

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