Another Pirates Second Baseman to Watch in the Lower Levels

I’ve talked about a lot of second basemen in the upper levels over the last week, focusing primarily on Alen Hanson and Max Moroff. Those two are going to be battling for the second base job of the future in the next few years, although there are a few options in the lower levels who could emerge as either a Plan B/C, or as future trade depth if Hanson or Moroff work out.

One of those options is Pablo Reyes, who is an interesting prospect that has emerged in West Virginia. Reyes spent two years in the DSL, then got an aggressive push to Bristol last year, skipping over the GCL. He hit for a .272/.367/.367 line, showing a good ability to get on base, but a lack of power. The Pirates liked what they saw, and gave him another aggressive promotion, this time to West Virginia.

So far this year, Reyes has been the opposite of his 2014 campaign. He has a .239/.319/.444 line in 142 at-bats. He’s showing the power, but lacking the average and the on-base skills that he put up last year. West Virginia manager Brian Esposito said that Reyes is going to go through his growing pains, and mentioned that they were focused on him staying prepared for every pitch.

Reyes shows off some power potential, with a lot of hard hit balls to the gaps. He’s also got some speed, allowing him to take some extra bases. He could get to that point where he does it all — hitting for average, getting on base, and hitting for power — but that will take a more mature approach at the plate. He doesn’t strike out much, at 17.5%, and walks a good amount at 10.6%, so he’s got a good foundation to be a complete hitter.

Defensively, Reyes moved off shortstop right away. He’s got the range for short, but lacks arm strength, and isn’t consistent with his fielding. At second base, he moves around like a shortstop, running to and attacking the ball, and showing a lot of range. However, this can lead to some issues defensively, as he gets too wild at times.

“It’s a matter of teaching him to be under control,” Esposito said. “There’s some things that he speeds up a little bit. He lets the game speed him up, and then some of his mistakes are careless. We’re in the process right now of just slowing him down, and making sure that pre-pitch he’s ready for every pitch.”

The focus right now has been making sure Reyes is in a ready setup on defense prior to the pitch. That will allow him to maximize his range, and will allow him to field the ball cleaner, eliminating some careless mistakes.

Reyes is a project, but he’s got a lot of potential offensively and defensively at second. Right now, with Hanson and Moroff in the upper levels, Reyes is just bonus depth for the Pirates. If he works out, then they have a backup plan if the other two prospects fail to make it. If he isn’t needed, then the Pirates can use him as a trade chip in the future, helping to fill another team need.

  • Paul Britton
    May 28, 2015 1:37 pm

    Tim, why do you and your colleagues so often use “that” instead of “who” to refer to players? (As in Pablo Reyes, who is an interesting prospect that has emerged . . .” They’re people, not commodities!!!

    • John Dreker
      May 28, 2015 3:15 pm

      Literally, the first definition of the word “that” in my dictionary is: “used to identify a specific person or object” In the case you point out, the specific person would be Pablo Reyes. In this case, “that” is being used as a pronoun.

      • In formal writing, using “that” as a pronoun when its antecedent is a person is a cardinal sin.

        Theoretically, a sentence like
        “Reyes is a player that displays breakout potential” should be written as “Reyes is a player who displays…”

        It’s one of those things that your college English prof would yell at you for, but is a relatively common occurrence in writing, especially journalism. It’s a technicality that isn’t often observed.

  • Christopher B
    May 28, 2015 1:22 pm

    I love those walk and strikeout rates. Seeing high walk rates makes me feel all fuzzy inside. Stick a low K rate next to it, my goodness!

    If the kid’s also got some speed and power and shown flashes of hitting for average, be still my beating heart, that fellow’s got some serious breakout potential.

  • Tim you keep pointing out guys lack of power, I think baseball as a whole is going to have to get away from judging guys by the power potential they have. Without steroids every regular on the team is not going to have at least 10-15 homers. Guys like reyes are going to be just as important as players with power. Gone are the days when every guy on the team goes yard. Instead teams will have to get ’em on get’em over and get ’em in with the boppers being the 4-5 hitters just like it used to be. I for one am glad of this as basebal has become quite boring between the strikeouts and the sabre craze. I’m not saying sabre is wrong the numbers are pretty darn accurate what I’m saying is when they are employed in game it makes for some darn boring baseball. So with steroids out and sabre in we are in another dead ball era. My question is which team/s not in kc are going to figure this out?

  • jakesaffer93
    May 28, 2015 11:02 am

    Tim, how are the prospects from from latin america getting along? are there any breakout prospect

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    May 28, 2015 10:33 am

    If Dilson Herrera was still in the system, we would really have a log jam at 2B….my guess is that Herrera would still be in AA and Moroff would not have gotten the opportunity to play and shine as he got this year….

    • Herrera’s a better prospect than Hanson, so if he were still in AA it would only be due to organization incompetence.

      • Herrera was never rated above Hanson by anybody. I’d like to still have him, but you can’t argue with the results of that trade.

        • Herrera was literally rated above Hanson this very year.

          • Where? As I recall, Hanson was consistently rated top 5-6 and Herrera was in the 9-10 range when they were in the same system.

          • Prior to 2015, Herrera was never ranked above Hanson by anyone. For example, Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus had Hanson ranked higher in 2014. In 2013, Tim ranked Hanson 4th in the system and Herrera 13th. In 2014, Tim had Hanson 5th, which is higher than Herrera would have been had he still been with Pittsburgh. If they were both in the system this year, it would be interesting to see how they were used – since both would clearly belong at AAA.

            • Rankings are released prior to a season, so the 2014 ones would’ve followed Herrera’s first year of full-season ball.

              Hanson is a year and a half older than Herrera.

              • John Dreker
                May 28, 2015 3:08 pm

                Hanson would be in AAA and Herrera in AA just based on how the Pirates move people. The Mets changed Herrera’s plan drastically, which is why he’s already been in the Majors. He would not have been in AA last year until mid-season at the earliest, and more likely, not at all. That’s just how the Pirates move players. They had no intentions of putting him in high-A in 2013, but the Mets put him right there.
                Herrera is a great prospect, I just don’t like the way the Mets have handled him. He shouldn’t have a game of MLB experience yet and they also tried him out a couple times at shortstop, then pushed him back. That shipped sailed right away with him, otherwise the Pirates would have kept him there after they signed him. They moved him off the spot almost immediately after he was in their DSL camp before he played a game. Jose Salazar was playing shortstop over Herrera and he was an unknown with limited upside. That should have told them all they needed to know.

  • Tim, speaking of intriguing middle infielders, is Adrian Valerio playing in the DSL again this year or will he be coming stateside?

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