The first week of the minor league season has wrapped up, and the Pittsburgh Pirates have seen some solid starts in their farm system, including a lot of offense from the Indianapolis Indians.
This week I asked each Pirates Prospects writer to give me the player who stood out to them the most in the first week. The mix of picks was solid, with one top ten guy, one other top twenty prospect, two guys just outside of the top 30, and a relief sleeper to follow.
Here are the Pirates prospects who stood out in week one.
Tim Williams: Cal Mitchell, RF
A lot of focus this offseason went to the Pirates leaving Mason Martin and Cal Mitchell unprotected for a Rule 5 draft that was ultimately cancelled. Both got off to hot starts in week one, showing that the Pirates may have lucked out in keeping both players. Mitchell got the edge for me, showing off some power that has so far eluded his game on a consistent basis. He hit for a .313/.333/.750 line with two homers and two stolen bases in 16 at-bats. The Pirates have future MLB competition for Mitchell in the Indianapolis outfield, with Canaan Smith-Njigba and Travis Swaggerty both taking starting roles alongside Mitchell. Both are on the 40-man roster, and seemingly would get a shot before Mitchell. That could change if Mitchell continues his hot start and forces his way into the picture.
John Dreker: Cam Alldred, LHP
The performance of lefty Cam Alldred really stood out to me in the first week. He was getting great reports late in the season last year from Altoona, then went up to Indianapolis and allowed one earned run in 12.2 innings. He’s not on anyone’s radar, but he probably should have been coming into the year. He opened up this season with his best career outing, throwing 3.2 shutout innings on one hit, no walks and five strikeouts. The only hit went about 45 feet up the first base line. My main concern with him is a slightly high walk rate, so seeing him throw 33 of his 45 pitches for strikes was a great sign for his first game of the season. He doesn’t have overpowering stuff, relying more on deception and mixing pitches, so he’s going to need that type of control to be successful at the next level.
Wilbur Miller: Ji-Hwan Bae, SS
In 2021, Bae got off to a slow start at Altoona, then hit over .300 the last three months of the season. He also showed some power for the first time. This year, the slow start hasn’t happened so far. He’s hitting .412/.500/.471 with two steals in five games. If he keeps on, he’ll make a tight situation tighter for the Pirates. They’ve been extremely reluctant to make choices among their many young infielders. Combined with their continued infatuation with sub-replacement veterans, they’re making their own task harder. Bae complicated things even further, especially because he’s the closest thing they’ve got to a classic leadoff hitter . . . or a DH-era #9 hitter. And he can play the outfield far more credibly than Cole Tucker if his bat continues to develop. More decisions for a front office that, so far, has shied away from the big decisions.
Anthony Murphy: Liover Peguero, SS
I know it’s dangerous to get excited after two games but there is just something about how seamless that transition of going from High-A to Double-A was for Liover Peguero. It feels crazy to say, seeing as quite a few outlets have him ranked as a top-100 prospect but with a system that features Oneil Cruz, Nick Gonzales and Henry Davis, but I still feel Peguero might not get the respect that he deserves. He’s 21-years-old and the starting shortstop on a good Double-A Altoona team. Just due to the age, I would have been more than okay if he struggled out the gate, slowly making the adjustments as the season went on. Instead, he went 3-for-7 in two games, with a double, home run and six RBIs, batting in the five-hole in both games. Peguero is going to be one of the youngest players in his league once again and putting that into account with what position he plays, he has a chance to really elevate his status as one of the game’s top prospects.
Ryan Palencer: Mason Martin, 1B
In the first series of the season Indianapolis took four out of six games from Omaha. The common theme was scoring runs, with the team putting up seven in each of the last two games. Along with the offense of outburst, Mason Martin showed off his tremendous power. In the final game of the homestand, Martin went 3-for-5 with two doubles and a homerun. He also added another double and a triple during the series. With the early-season cold weather, sometimes the power numbers lag behind. This was not the case with Martin. The great news, is that Martin went 7-for-19 with those five extra base hits in the series. It was reported leading up to the season, the Martin was working on his two-strike approach. The downside is that he had a strike out in each game, including three in the middle game. He did pick up the triple off of a left-handed pitcher, however. There were plenty of highs and lows in the first series for Martin, but the gap power display was clearly dominant.
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Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.