P2Daily: Way Too Early Look At A Potential Loaded 2023 Indianapolis Lineup

There is so much that can happen in a baseball offseason, making any kind of prediction about a potential makeup of a minor league roster right now a fool’s errand. That being said, Indianapolis has the potential to have a very special makeup to kick off the 2023 season.

A lot of the roster makeup could be come down to how where they want to work in their top two catching prospects, Henry Davis and Endy Rodriguez. Davis, the former first overall pick, has less than 300 career plate appearances, and although he’s making some of that missed time back in the AFL right now, a start in Triple-A would be on the aggressive side.

It could be in the immediate future that they both occupy a roster spot at the major league level, so it would make sense to get them into some sort of rhythm on how they are going to split playing time behind the plate and anywhere else. Davis got some time late in the season in right field.

Nick Gonzales almost falls in the Davis category, as he has missed time in both of his full seasons of pro ball, but he’s still amassed nearly 700 plate appearances, and is in his second AFL stint currently.

Jared Triolo has the second most hits in the system over the past two seasons, there doesn’t seem like a reason not to move him up, leaving Malcom Nunez and Mason Martin to split first base and DH, although Nunez continued to get time at third to end the year in Indianapolis.

This does put players like Diego Castillo and Tucupita Marcano in a weird situation, as neither would probably have a roster spot set aside for them in Pittsburgh, but space is running low in Indianapolis for them as well.

I’m not as down on Liover Peguero’s 2021 season as others are. It wasn’t good no, it wasn’t bad either (outside of the errors). Even when he was struggling, he was actually cutting down on his strikeouts compared to his hot start of the season. He’s young enough to where there really shouldn’t be a problem with letting him start in Altoona again, that would actually free up a spot in Indianapolis for the time being.

There’s even more clutter in the outfield, as they could potentially have upwards of three 40-man players (Canaan Smith-Njigba, Cal Mitchell, Travis Swaggerty) and then quite a few names attempting to move up from Altoona as well – Connor Scott, Matt Gorski, and Matt Fraizer.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see one, or even two of those names hang around Altoona to begin the season like Jack Suwinski did before the season sorting things out.

There will be a lot of decisions to be made, and Ben Cherington has an entire offseason to come up with what to do. The Pirates had 14 players make their major league debut this past season, and just the amount of names on the offensive side of things point to potentially them going past that in 2023.

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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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rodshack

26 dings and no mention .. cool

hoffmark83

Never too early to look at a potential loaded lineup.

k1rainey

I’d keep Fraizer and Scott in AA. No one pushing up from Greensboro except Head and that’s just barely.

Unrelated but I love the linear timeline

bianco599

I briefly thought it was a Silverchair song as I scrolled past it. Then read the comments and knew I was way off. For the record I instantly went to youtube and listened to Pure Massacre.

joesolo6181

Time will allow all this to work itself out.

b mcferren

what if they just called everybody up on June 1st? that would be so much fun!

Anthony

I agree with you Murph; my only concern with Peguero is his BB-rates.

leefieux

I would rather have Josh Van Meter start EVERY game for us in 2023 than listen to that dreadful song!

Tim Williams

Lee, you have so many relationships in this life — only one or two will last. You go through all the pain and strife, then you turn your back and they’re gone so fast.

Oh yeah.

And they’re gone so fast, yeah.

Oh, so hold on the ones who really care. In the end, they’ll be the only ones there. And when you get old and start losing your hair, can you tell me who will still care?

Can you tell me who will still care?

Oh care.

Mmmbop.

leefieux

Thankfully, I just remember the ‘Mmmmbop’ part, so I won’t be singing it today. Nice try, tho.

robertkasperski

Like I said…..Mmmmmbop in your head …. For Ev Er….. 😀 

Last edited 3 months ago by robertkasperski
leefieux

I’m gonna MMBop you right upside yo head.

robertkasperski

LOL! My wife used to tell me that all the time!!! I unfortunately get the vision of a giraffe’s tragic demise in Hangover Part 3 when I hear this song……

robertkasperski

That song will now be stuck in your head……

PirateRican21

Is time to trade some of these guys.

skliesen

More likely guys like Reynolds and Newman are traded to make room for these guys.

leefieux

I’d fear that we’d pick the wrong ones to trade/keep.

roberto

Understandable, but having multiple, real MLB candidates limits that risk. Plus, my assessment is that this FO is good at talent assessment.

robertkasperski

Having such a surplus of actual prospects is something that the Bucs have not had in a very long time.

ArkyWags

They have a surplus? I wouldn’t argue that. They don’t really have a huge number of star type prospects right now. It’s pretty much TJ, Endy and Davis (maybe on the last one).

This is only one outlet to compare, but I looked at FG’s rankings for Bucs prospects from 2017 to compare them with 2022. The 2017 list had six guys at a 50 or higher: Meadows, Glasnow, Keller, Bell, Newman, and Hayes, the first four of which were 55’s or higher, with Meadows being a 65. Actually, there aren’t too many misses on that list either.

The current list has seven who are 50 or higher: TJ, Endy, Davis, Ortiz, Quinn, Peggy, and Nick Whiffs. The first three are 55’s. Does this group as a whole look better than the other group? Maybe, I dunno. But I wouldn’t act like this has been the strongest the system has been in a very long time.

robertkasperski

How many guys have the Cards brought up to replace that not a lot of people ever heard of? They seem to always have several guys that come up after trades and step right in.

ArkyWags

How’s that relevant? The Cards have a proven record of getting regulars or contributors like that and the Pirates don’t. Until the Pirates prove they can develop talent like that, it’s just a pipe dream.

robertkasperski

Never said the were the same but only a chance to become the same as they finally have a bunch more depth. Will depend on how things move forward and that is what will be interesting to see. At one point the Cards were at the same crossroads and made the correct moves when they got there. Will be interesting to see if the Pirates make the correct moves themselves.

ArkyWags

You brought a successful organization up as a reference point. A successful organization that has long had to deal with tough transitions and almost always picked the right path.

I don’t see the connection at all, until they actually show they can develop talent consistently, make smart decisions to bring in outside talent, etc. The depth you speak of to build up is likely going to take years, and we haven’t seen it they can develop their top end guys yet. So yeah, there’s a long ways to go. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Last edited 3 months ago by ArkyWags
robertkasperski

The Connection is what the Pirates must strive to be like. The Cards had to build the same way years ago. Had to build a solid base of depth then build from it. The Pirates appear to have the 1st step done. Now we will see if they can continue to build what the Cards have built. That is the connection. To emulate the Cards business model. I am looking to the future and hoping the Pirates continue the process and end up being able to operate as the Cards do now. Of course the Bucs up till now have not shown that they can do what the Cards do because they never attempted to operate that way. It appears to me that it is the end game to eventually operate as the Cards do now. I for one am looking forward to see if they can eventually finish the complete build and keep it running as the Cards have been able to do after they built up their organization. I dare to dream that it can be done.

leefieux

Time will tell if they’re prospects or suspects. 🙂 🙂

Y2JGQ2

The real issue with the Pirates hasn’t been too many suspects- it has been their inability to help them realize their potential once reaching the major leagues. We can look all over the Major leagues and field an entire team with players we traded with less than 3 full years in major leagues that were top 20 pirate prospects that are now starters elsewhere.

skliesen

Undoubtedly there will be some of each.

robertkasperski

That I know. The problem has been for decades for the Bucs, most have been suspects all through the system. Teams like the Cards and Rays seem to accumulate a lot of prospects and use the surplus, along with pending free agents that are not willing to or want way to much to extend. They let them go in trades and bring up a kid that is ready. The Bucs appear to be that position for once. Hopefully they will keep the best of the litter and use others to fill in holes in trades.

Anthony

I would argue that both of the clubs you mentioned almost never trade from a position of need. They typically make good baseball trades, i.e., they’re proactive on the trade market.

OTOH, the Pirates are almost always trading from a position of need, trying to maximize player value while minimizing cost. They’ve been completely reactionary, and their trade partners know it.

They obv need to flip this script like the Rays, and the only viable way to do it is to acquire MLB talent in the FA market, thus giving them some expendable pieces and additional alternatives in the trade market.

robertkasperski

I never said that they trade from a position of need. They both will trade Vets that they feel are going to regress and or demand far too much to extend for what their talent level shows. Ie Heyward and Ludwick in the past and Bader this year for the Cards and lots of guys for the Rays. They do so because they always have several guys that can replace those guy in the minors. That is my only point to make. You can get talent by trading ML talent that you feel you don’t really need because you can internally replace and throw in a prospect or two to increase the return. They can make good baseball trades because the have the depth to pull it off. They Bucs never seemed to have much depth with with to pull off a baseball trade and still have plenty of depth remaining That is what the Cards and Rays do.

Anthony

I’m not arguing with you, just pointing out that neither team is ever in a position the HAVE to trade someone. This effectively increases their leverage in any trade negotiation. Conversely, the Pirates are always putting themselves in a position where they HAVE to make a trade, other teams know this and are able to exploit them.

Another team isn’t knowingly going to acquire a player they think will regress. This is where the Cards and Rays excel, in that they’re able to identify these risks and get in front of them. The Pirates can do this, but they need to acquire more MLB depth first and create options. They can’t trade MLB talent they don’t have yet. I said this during the season; I’d look to move Suwinski this off-season or next. This is the exact type of move the Rays or Cards would make.

robertkasperski

Ah, ok what you were saying makes more sense. We are on the same page just a different place on it. To me the Bucs are on the path to operate as the other teams do, they are just still in the infancy of the process. I think that you thought that I thought that they were at the same level as the other two. No there yet but some solid groundwork laid. I agree that there there is a ton of work to be done but the hardest part is assembling a lot of depth in which to use to make future moves work. The moves like the Cards and Rays make only work if they have enough quality depth to have to replace the ML players that get moved if they do not get the same position back and still improve the team overall. My point was the Bucs never seemed to ever have more than a couple of quality guys in all levels combined. Now they have much more depth. Next step is to get a few more guys to the bigs and a few quality FA guys to fill out a quality roster. Then the ability to make more baseball trades more often to keep the process going. Will need to see if the Bucs can finish the job now.

Y2JGQ2

I don’t see any evidence that they are getting closer to this from watching their drafts. They still draft like they did 10 years ago, stockpiling talent in positions while completely avoiding others, leading to logjams throughout the minors time and time again with complete voids in certain areas and a complete and total lack of effort to fill those holes via trade. There is a reason why we haven’t had a lefty starting pitcher prospect or a first baseman prospect for what seems like decades. There is also a reason why it typically seems like we have 28 second baseman in the high levels of the minors. At some point, there needs to be a little more strategizing if not in the draft itself, with how to fill holes early enough so other teams don’t see the gaping holes we have and take advantage of us during trade talks.

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