Baseball America and MLB Pipeline have posted articles in the last few days praising shortstop Cole Tucker and third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes. In fact, if you combine what was said in the two articles, it might not be long before they represent the left side of the infield for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Pipeline’s article identified one top prospect doing well during Spring Training for each team. They went with Ke’Bryan Hayes, who has put up a .333/.346/.833 slash line in 26 plate appearances.
From the article:
“Hayes has been far from overwhelmed in his first big league camp in Bradenton, giving notice to the third basemen who will break camp with the team that he’ll be ready soon to take over if they can’t get the job done.”
The BA article covers 15 prospects who have impressed scouts during Spring Training. While Hayes is having a great spring, the Pipeline article was going to mention someone for the Pirates regardless, just so they had at least one player for each team. Hayes just happened to be more than qualified for the spot. The article from BA didn’t take the team aspect into consideration. They were just looking for 15 prospects getting extra attention from scouts.
Cole Tucker was one of those 15 players and he received a ton of praise from one scout. Here’s part of the quote from the article:
I’m trying to decide what kind of raw power grade I’m going to put on him. It’s at least plus. He hit one of the furthest home runs I’ve seen. He’s really filled out physically, still has some long legs, but he’s just a giant of a dude. To me Erik Gonzalez and Kevin Newman are just placeholders for Tucker. He’s their shortstop of the future.”
In both articles, they mention that the big league players at their position won’t be there for long. Neither player has Triple-A experience yet, so the current “placeholders” at each spot will have time to prove themselves before the Pirates decide to move on. Tucker and Hayes will be at Indianapolis to begin this year, a team that is sure to get a lot of attention with top prospect Mitch Keller also there, as well as the possibility of five other prospects ranked among the top 11 in the system.