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Pirates' Top 20 Prospects

by David Finoli

As of 6/10/2023, these are the top 20 prospects in the Pittsburgh Pirates' Farm System according to Draft 412. While some of the top prospects have had their struggles this year, it is still perhaps the

deepest system the franchise has had in over 50 years. And now, the top 20:

1. Henry Davis- Indianapolis: The former number pick in the MLB draft shook off a tough start in Altoona where he caught fire, sending his OPS north of 1.100 at one point with 10 homers. He was promoted to Indianapolis where he will split time behind the plate with Rodriguez while playing some in right.

2. Endy Rodriguez- Indianapolis: Has struggled at bat throughout most of the season as well as behind the plate, but his talent is there. He will split time with Davis at catcher while playing both middle infield and outfield. He is the more versatile of the two so odds are he will find another

position with the Bucs.

3. Termarr Johnson- Bradenton: It's been a tough year for last year’s number one pick starting with a hamstring injury in spring training and a horrendous start at Bradenton. He has settled in more recently before his latest hitting slump and has shown the potential most saw before the draft.

4. Jared Jones- Altoona: He has been lights out for most of his time with a 2.21 ERA and .98 WHIP. His 98 MPH fastball with an effective curveball have Pirate fans salivating.

5. Anthony Solometo- Greensboro: After an impressive start with Bradenton last year, Solometo has taken the next step in hitter friendly Greensboro. His fastball is now in the mid-90’s and-except for a couple bad starts-he has been close to unhittable. He still has a few too many walks, 25 in

54 2/3 innings, but so far 2021’s second round pick has been impressive.

6. Luis Ortiz- Indianapolis (now Pirates)- Ortiz was the team’s most consistent starter in Indianapolis and was promoted to Pittsburgh where he has shown some real flashes of potential. He needs to pitch with more control, walking 16 in 27 innings, and his major flaw with the organization has

been the home run ball, but his fastball which approaches triple digits, and a nasty slider are impressive. He has great movement on his pitches.

7. Quinn Priester- Indianapolis: Many questioned if the scouts had been wrong about Priester after a less than stellar start to his AAA career between last year and the beginning of 2023. A funny thing happened as April turned into May. He began to become that pitcher. He went 4-0 with a 2.81 ERA in five starts and has continued it in June. If he continues, we could see him in Pittsburgh by year's end.

8. Nick Gonzales- Indianapolis: Gonzales was the best hitting collegiate prospect when the Bucs drafted him in 2020. While he struggled last year with injuries and has been inconsistent this season so far, he has shown flashes of that prospect with the hopes he finds consistency in the second half of the season.

9. Liover Peguero- Altoona- One of the top middle infielders in the Bucs system, Peguero was sent to Altoona to begin the season instead of AAA. He had trouble eclipsing the Mendoza line but has now finally found his way. So far in June, he's hit .345 and raised his season average to .264.

10. Tsung Che Chen- Greensboro: Che Chen has been one of the most consistent performers in the system as the shortstop has a .306 average and an OPS hovering over .900, standing currently at .999.

11. Sean Sullivan- Altoona: Sullivan has had quite the year at Altoona. He’s not a burner compared to the other prospects with a lower strikeout rate and a fastball in the low 90s, but he has a terrific slider and is difficult to hit. He throws strikes and has walked only 13 batters in 43 innings. He’s

kept his ERA under 3.00 all season as he started out the year with 14 consecutive scoreless innings.

12. Thomas Harrington-Greensboro: The second pick in the 2022 draft Harrington has an effective fastball that tops out in the mid-90s. He’s been very effective this season in homer happy Greensboro with 52 strikeouts in 48 1/3 innings to go with a 2.79 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. His control has been excellent with only 12 walks.

13. Mike Burrows- Indianapolis (IR): Appeared to be the next man up to the majors before an arm injury that required Tommy John surgery ended his season.

14. Owen Kellington- Bradenton: Kellington has been inconsistent this season and stands with a 4.18 ERA for the Marauders so far this season. He has a low 90s fastball, but some scouts say his curveball is one of the best pitches in the Bucs' system. While his control seems to be an issue with

20 walks in 3232 1/3 innings, he has struck out 41 over that same period to make him one of the more intriguing prospects in the system.

15. Bubba Chandler- Greensboro: The man possesses a fastball that can be one for the ages, but the problem is he hasn’t been consistent getting it over the plate. He hits 99 MPH with it and has an effective breaking ball, but he’s walked 32 men in 41 2/3 innings while keeping his ERA close to 7.

While he’s struck out 51 batters Chandler needs to quit being ineffective every time he takes to the mound.

16. Jun Seok Shin- Short season: One of the top international pitchers available in this year’s draft, Shin signed with the Bucs, and Draft 412 looks forward to seeing what he can do once he gets through the short season this year.

17. Jared Triolo- Indianapolis: One of the top picks in the 2019 draft, Triolo has shown to be an outstanding defensive third baseman, with some speed, stealing 56 bases in his minor league career. He has little to no power though and if he sticks in the majors it will be as a low end utility player. Still his defense makes him an intriguing prospect.

18. Carmen Mlodzinski- Indianapolis: Mlodzinski has struggled throughout most of his career after being a first-round pick in the 2020 draft. His command has been the issue even with a top-notch breaking ball. Lately though he seems to be finally gaining consistency in the Indians' bullpen with a

2.53 ERA in May that has lowered his season number to 3.28. His WHIP was 1.13 in May and even lower in June so far at 1.00. Hopefully, a call to the Pirate bullpen is in his near future.

19. Abrahan Gutierrez- Altoona: When Davis got the call to AAA, Gutierrez got the call to replace him after hitting .260 in Greensboro. He may have the best defensive skills of the catchers in the Pirate system and does have some pull power. Unfortunately, it’s doubtful he will surpass Davis or

Rodriguez so a career as a backup to them in Pittsburgh seems to be his high water mark.

20. Braxton Ashcraft-Greensboro: Ashcraft was the team’s second round pick in 2018 before Tommy John surgery seemed to circumvent his career. He is back this season after missing almost two years between the surgery and COVID. He has been very effective with both Bradenton and now Greensboro with a 2.51 ERA with a mid-90s fastball that reaches 95. He also has a good slider as both his fastball and slider have good movement.

Others: Malcom Nunez, Yordanny de los Santos, Cal Mitchell, Axiel Plaz, Matt Gorski, JP Massey

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