Two names keep popping up from the Pittsburgh Pirates ahead of the Rule 5 draft, which will begin Wednesday night at 5:00 PM. While the Pirates have the third overall pick in the draft, giving them a chance to add 1-2 good prospects, there is also a chance that they lose prospects in the draft.
Baseball America wrote an article last week about the top names available in the Rule 5 draft. They have expanded on it four times since then. Their initial list of 15 names included outfielder Matt Gorski and first baseman Malcom Nunez. Jonathan Mayo posted an article about Rule 5 prospects to keep an eye on, and both Nunez and Gorski were among the 11 names he mentioned. Gorski got another mention today in a roundtable type article from Baseball America, discussing the Rule 5 draft. They plan to expanded their Rule 5 preview group again ahead of the draft.
Gorski showed off an impressive power display in the hitter-friendly park for Greensboro this season. He was promoted to Altoona, but a pair of hamstring injuries really sidetracked his second half. He finished with a combined .280/.358/.598 slash line in 81 games, with 24 homers and 21 stolen bases. He hit 13 of those homers in 20 home games with Greensboro. He also turns 25 this month, so he’s not a young prospect. The injuries this year and the lost 2020 season have both cost him development time.
Nunez played a majority of the 2022 season with the St Louis Cardinals in Double-A. He joined Altoona after the Jose Quintana trade, and then finished up with Indianapolis late in the season. Combined between all three teams, he hit .262/.367/.466 in 119 games, with 16 doubles, 23 homers and 69 walks. He turns 22 in March, so he’s still very young.
It should be noted that first basemen rarely get picked in the Rule 5 draft, and those who do don’t always stick with their new team. In fact, there isn’t a single first baseman taken in the last 20 years who has put up positive value with their new team. That doesn’t mean Nunez can’t be the first, but the odds are stacked heavily against him.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.