P2Daily: Aaron Shackelford Led The Pirates System In Home Runs In 2022

Double-A is seen as the level that can really make or break a prospect. It’s a particularly interesting stop in the Pirates system, as after a stop in Greensboro during High-A, prospects get a test in how legit any power numbers they put up in Altoona.

Seeing an older prospect hit 20-home runs in Greensboro isn’t the most alarming of things, and there were probably a lot of people who didn’t give Aaron Shackelford a second look after doing so in 2021.

Drafted in the 14th round back in 2019, Shackelford lost what was supposed to be his first full professional season in 2020, starting in Greensboro last year.

He slugged 22 home runs, impressive enough, but struck out over 30% of the time, slashed .210/.290/.438 and had a wRC+ of 91. Nothing else really spectacular. 

Starting in Altoona in 2022, it looked like he was set to split time at first base with Will Matthiessen. The latter got hurt and missed the majority of the season, leaving the door open for Shackelford to get more playing time.

Shackelford was able to slightly improve on both his walk and strikeout rate while playing for Altoona, also slashing .239/.314/.499 with a system leading 26 home runs, 79 RBI and 66 runs scored.

On a team that featured, at times, Nick Gonzales, Endy Rodriguez, Henry Davis, and Liover Peguero, Shackelford was just as much a run producer as some of the system’s top run producers.

So much so that he had more at-bats out of the cleanup spot for Altoona than he did in another part of the lineup.

He struggled in a brief 16 plate appearance promotion to Indianapolis at the end of the season, picking up just a lone hit (a single) in four games played.

It will be interesting to see how the Pirates handle the Indianapolis first base position next year, as they will have two internal options with similar profiles — Shackelford and Mason Martin. 

Shackelford could always take on more of an organizational role and start again in Altoona. He played a big part in the Curve breaking their franchise mark for home runs, adding him back would put them in position to try and match that total.

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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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The time has come for Bonds to be inducted into the baseball hall of fame.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I’m going to gloss over the guts of the article because I came here just to yell one thing that we unfortunately had no opportunities for this season.

TAHR OF PAHR!!!!!!!!!


I hope that play by play guy knows that he is a legend around here!

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Clearly Spenser knew something we didn’t lol


A video from a random day, or a random Endy video…. Is there a difference? 😙

  1. Will Matthiessen (6′ 7″) intrigues me, any idea how his recovery is going?
  2. How short a leash does Martin have before his strikeouts lead to his release, June 15th? Does he primarily DH to allow focus on his hitting?
  3. Why has Triolo not been tried at first?
  4. Will Myers? (still too expensive)
  5. Malcolm Nunez starts over Shackleford?
Wilbur Miller

1. He should be back. The injury was early in the season, but it was a shoulder injury.
2. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some very minor trade. With Nunez, Gorski and Shack, 1B/DH is crowded.
3. They probably haven’t bothered because they know he can pick it up in no time if need be.
4. Sure would make sense, along with a lot of other things, but Bob’s bottom line trumps all.
5. Yes. Nunez is the real prospect there.

The Gunner

Regarding #2 , I can see Cherington picking up a Travis Ishikawa type player to hold the fort down at 1B until Nunez is deemed to be ready.


There is a chance Nunez does not get protected.

RH 1b only types generally aren’t worth protecting.

Wilbur Miller

Considering what the Pirates got from 1B this year, anybody with a pulse is worth protecting.


And Nunez seems to have quite a pulse.

Wilbur Miller

If he has a big spring, I’d consider him for the ML roster out of spring training,


If memory serves, I thought they bounced Shack around a little…1b, DH, 2b, RF. I could see him doing the same this year whether it’s AA or AAA.

Ultimately, I could see one or both of Martin & Shack playing overseas at some point during 2023. Neither are really prospects, but they check some boxes of Korean League players.

Wilbur Miller

Shack was actually drafted as a SS, not that that’s realistic. Some similarities to Chavis.


I thought the exact thing when I saw him live. Lefty version of Chavis…Good energy, good pop, short, with lots of swing and miss


I was going to say the same thing. What about Nunez? Will the Bucs start him at AA again instead of Shackelford? Bother we’re promoted sue to the season ending, so not necessarily on merit.

I think Nunez needs to be given every chance to develop his fielding. His bat is clearly superior to all other 1st base options and if we have two or three catchers worth everyday at bats the DH slot will be needed for their rotation. Nunez will need to field.


They did not promote Nunez to send him back to AA. He will definitely start in AAA. Sending him to AA would be a slap in his face, and do nothing for him.


So shackeleford will go back? I dunno. He’s much older than Nunez. I wouldn’t be surprised by anything.


Agree. I’d like to hear from someone who has seen him play. How bad is his defense?

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