Malcom Nunez: Making Progress In Unlocking Raw Power

The Pittsburgh Pirates weren’t incredibly active during the trade deadline, but they did move the most obvious player. They sent Jose Quintana to the St. Louis Cardinals along with Chris Stratton in exchange for RHP Johan Oviedo and 1B Malcom Nunez.

When it comes to Nunez, the Pirates added another player with some interesting power upside who is still young for the league he is playing in (younger than new teammate Liover Peguero).

Nunez was raking in Springfield, St. Louis’ Double-A affiliate, to the tune of 17 home runs.

Of course, the biggest note when it comes to Nunez has been his home and away splits, with Springfield being a stadium that resembles Greensboro when it comes to offensive production.

Nunez is hitting .258/.372/.583 at home with 16 home runs this year. On the road, he’s hitting .252/.344/.319 with one homer.

That’s a pretty telling difference, and we’ve seen it in the Pirates system where the power doesn’t always translate when so reliant on a home field like that. The difference between Greensboro and Springfield, you could say, is that the latter is a higher level of competition.

Nunez might sell out to power a bit too much at home, swinging for the fences a little more recklessly. His strikeout rate is almost 10% higher at home than it is on the road.

I looked at three different series that Nunez played, two on the road and one at home, to see if you can see any noticeable difference in his game.

May 17-22

.105/.191/.158; 2-for-19; 2:8 BB:K; 2B

It wasn’t the roughest of starts watching his video, the first game I put on he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. Nunez really struggled with breaking pitches, especially to the outer portion of the plate.

Throughout the series, he swung at 19 overall breaking pitches, and missed on 12 of them.

The first part of the video can be a little tough to watch, as it shows some of the struggles that Nunez had with breaking pitches.

After that, it shows an entire at-bat from Nunez where he falls behind 0-2 on two breaking balls. He’s able to hold off on a couple really close pitches, one in the dirt, before getting a curveball on a 3-2 count that he’s able to drive up the middle for a single. Finally a look at some of his raw power, turning on a fastball on the outer half for a double, his only extra-base hit of the week.

July 4-10

.231/.286/.269; 6-for-26; 2B 7 RBI SB

Sometimes the only thing you want to see in the minors is progress, even when the overall numbers may not be there. It was certainly a better week than the first I watched, and despite him not hitting any home runs, we start to see him flash some of his skill set.

He also whiffed on far less breaking pitches, despite seeing more of them over the course of the week. Nunez whiffed on 8-of-26 breaking pitches he swung at.

Progress. That’s what you want to see, and in the first clip we saw that. Nunez fell behind 0-2 on two consecutive breaking pitches. When the pitcher tried to get the third one past him, Nunez held up and slapped it the other way, with the bases loaded as well. The next clip featured a seven pitch at-bat that eventually saw Nunez slap a single the other way.

The final two pitches shown an opportunity to grow and find some consistency, as he pulls two pitches on the outer half of the plate, both of which he grounds into a double play.

July 26-31

.300/.417/.950; 6-for-20; 4 HR 7 RBI 2B 4 R

This was the most recent series that Nunez played in right before he was traded to the Pirates. Being at home you finally got to see him hit some bombs, and he didn’t disappoint.

He also showed even more progress when it comes to making contact on breaking pitches. He only missed on a couple of breaking balls, and actually hit more home runs off the pitch than he did miss.

In the first video, he has to bend down slightly to be able go reach the breaking ball but waits back enough to drive it down the line for a double. That’s followed up with two home runs that he hits on breaking pitches. You can see right before the second one him trying to square one out to take out of the ball park. He’s able to hold back just long enough to make perfect contact for the home run.


While the home/away splits will be something to watch, there is no denying his raw power. It will come down to how he goes about unlocking it. There does appear to be a little added motion at the start of his swing, almost as if he is loading up before starting, and that could have something to do in why he has had problems reaching the breaking ball at times.

He has a better approach at the plate than who would expect of someone with his profile, but the power is going to be the thing that carries him to the majors.


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Malcom Nunez: Making Progress In Unlocking Raw Power

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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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Boy I would love to read this article but Tim has never responded to why I am locked out. It’s been almost 2 months since I paid but only can read free content. I’m sure it was still great one Anthony.


I had this problem a couple of years ago. It is a really good site – but horrendous when it comes to administrative issues and responsiveness. After the third unanswered email, I gave up.


Do you still pay yearly? It’s too bad because I have been following this site for probably as long as it has been in existence. It is the only website that I pay for its content. Even the last couple years when all was free I gladly paid. Have to figure out how to cancel the auto draft yearly.


Thanks for the video’s, especially showing his advancement from May to late July. Still only 21, and a young 21 at that, at AA and 3.3 years younger than the average player in the league. The 823 OPS is impressive, but more impressive is the 48 Walks and only 71 K’s – 1.48 K’s for every 1.00 Walks.

Not sure why he is being classified as a poor defender – last year as 20 year old 3B, a .945 fielding percentage at A+ and a 902 at AA. This year, as a 21 year old 1B in AA he is 994 in 68 games, 500 Chances. I think they keep the numbers the same way in all the leagues, and a 994 is as good as we have seen in years at 1B for the Pirates!


His bat holds some promise, but hearing he is slow and a defensive liability greatly lessens my enthusiasm. He is pretty much a DH only. No wonder the Cardinals were eager to let him go. He was a spare part to them..


Hmmmm Last time I checked the DH is now allowed in both leagues. Therefore it’s a position that is in the starting lineup. In other words there is not a single problem at all if he is a DH. In fact any team should welcome a DH that can hit no matter his size


My Pirate fan-ness will not allow me to believe we just pulled one over on the St Louis Cardinals, of all teams, but this kid looks like a better version of Canaan SN.


The only time I remember the Pirates pulled one over the Cardinals in my opinion was back in 2000 when they sent Jason Christiansen for Jack Wilson. It appears Jack’s son Jacob isn’t too bad at playing baseball either.


1987 Tony Pena for LaValliere andf Van Slyke. for another


Man did I love those two players. Both would be on my all time Bucco team. I would have Slyke as the captain. Maybe Spanky as assistant captain. Thanks for bringing back those memories.


He is very slow and cannot field a position defensively…no the Pirates didn’t pull one on the Cardinals


We get it you’ve been hurt. Please tell us where nutting hurt you.


Despite his overall struggles on the road, he had two outstanding road series in June (both with an OPS about 1.000). This shows he’s capable away from home but also implies he was really bad in other road series. He also apparently mashes lefties (OPS of 1.021 with 18 K’s vs. 17 BB’s in 92 PA’s–surely there aren’t many power hitting minor leaguers with a 1:1 K:BB ratios even if just against LHP or RHP), which could provide some balance to our lineup down the road.


Does this kid ever hit one to the right side?


The second video shows a couple of hits to RF.


great job anthony, love this. How do you do this – do you have to sift thru the entire game footage & cut out those clips & then use a video program to paste them in?


This kid’s listed as 5’11” and 205lbs. Maybe it’s the lose fitting uniform, but he sure looks bigger than that on video.


What about 6’2” and 232#?

That was his listed size in the most recent St. Louis media guide

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