Over the last two days, Hayden Hurst has been playing as the designated hitter in the GCL. This is significant, as Hurst was drafted as a pitcher and given an over-slot bonus in 2012. He was one of three guys who the Pirates turned to with their over-slot money after Mark Appel turned them down. The Pirates gave Hurst $400,000 as a 17th round pick. He was a power arm who sat 88-92 MPH and could touch 95 at times when drafted. He also previously had Tommy John surgery in high school.
Hurst only made one appearance as a pitcher, and it wasn’t a good one. He only recorded one out, walking five batters. I was at that game last year, and his control was horrible. He missed the rest of the season with an unknown injury. According to farm director Larry Broadway, the Pirates have “shelved pitching for the time being” for Hurst. He will get work at first base.
The first base position isn’t foreign to Hurst. He played there in high school, hitting for a .327/.393/.582 line in 55 at-bats his senior season. He’s off to a decent start at the plate in the GCL, going 4-for-9 in his first two games, with three strikeouts. The move is very similar to the one the Pirates took with Stetson Allie. They’re giving up on Hurst, possibly due to his injury history as a pitcher, and making a quick switch to try and get some value out of his bat. The move is working well for Allie, who has a .755 OPS and 14 homers at the Double-A level.
Hurst was a project as a pitcher. He’s now a project as a hitter. It will be interesting to see how he makes the adjustment the rest of the year, and whether he can use his big frame to hit for some power.
Here are some other minor league moves that happened today.
**LHP Adam Wilk was placed on the temporary inactive list in Indianapolis for personal reasons.
**Catcher Omir Santos was reinstated from the Triple-A disabled list.
**RHP Pat Ludwig was promoted from Bradenton to Altoona. This is the second trip up to Altoona for Ludwig this year. He had a 6.43 ERA in 28 innings last time. He’s got a 3.56 ERA in 60.2 innings in Bradenton.
**RHP Joan Montero was sent from Altoona to Bradenton. Montero had a 6.02 ERA in 61.1 innings with the Curve, along with a 31:37 K/BB ratio.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.