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P2Daily: With Home Runs Down, System Putting The Pressure On The Bases


It may sound crazy to say, especially after watching Altoona score 19 runs in their previous two games, but offense has been down in the Pirates system this year.

You could probably point to a couple of things, as this issue isn’t just isolated to the minors, but also notably the major league level as well (and not just the Pirates hapless offense). We’ve seen quite a few hitters struggle in the system, maybe most notably Oneil Cruz and 2021’s breakout player, Matt Fraizer.

With scoring, and in turn home runs, down in baseball, the Pirates system has picked it up in another facet of the game looking to create more run opportunities: Stolen Bases.

On a per-game basis, only Greensboro is trending down from last year when compared to the current season, and it’s not too far off (1.32/game in 2022, 1.44/game in 2021).

As a collective system, the Pirates swiped just under one bag per game (0.89) last year, with the Grasshoppers leading the way with a total of 173. The Grasshoppers were also the only team to average more than a stolen base per game, with Indianapolis close to swiping a whole bag less per game than Greensboro in 2021.

Fast forward to this season and every team is averaging at least one steal per game.

Indianapolis has seen the biggest increase in success, currently sitting second in the International League in stolen bases, after finishing 19-out-of-20 teams in 2021.

Through an entire season, the organization is on pace to steal 190 more bases than they did in 2021 over the same number of games played. That’s not factoring in that Triple-A will be playing more games this year, so their total increase be even more.

On the home run hitting side of things, the system is currently averaging less than one per game, an overall of just 0.19. Doesn’t seem like too much but looking at it over a full season, that’s nearly 100 less home runs by the time it is all said and done.

On the stolen base front, the Pirates have 19 players with at least five stolen bases with Ji-Hwan Bae (10), Oneil Cruz (9), and Matt Gorski (9) all leading the way.

Even Mason Martin, much more known for his power, has stolen six bases while hitting four home runs.

While the Pirates being aggressive on the bases isn’t anything new, it is good to see them up it even more in the absence of some the power they usually get and it’ll be interesting to see if the green light stays on as these players make their way to Pittsburgh.

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Pirates Links

Prospect Watch: Peguero and Sabol Lead Altoona to Victory; Matt Gorski Homers Twice

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Williams: The Build Begins in Altoona

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Prospect Roundtable: Which Altoona Prospect Will Have The Best MLB Career?

Kyle Nicolas: Pitch-Mix Has Transformed Righty Into Starting Prospect

Jared Triolo: Leadoff Spot Allowing Skills To Shine Through

Despite His Recent Success, Noe Toribio Isn’t Done Making Changes

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Anthony Murphy
Anthony Murphy
Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.

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