Pirates Prospects Daily: The Next Wave of Prospects to Reach Pittsburgh

As we get through the next few stages of the current build for the Pirates, we are starting to see waves of prospects they’ve stockpiled the last few years crash on the shores of Pittsburgh.

Two of their biggest prospects, Roansy Contreras and Oneil Cruz, made brief cameos in 2021, but 14 more players made their major league debut this past season.

They may not see that big of a crowd in 2023, but this upcoming season should produce yet another wave of prospects that make their debuts over the course of the year.

The Pirates added four names to their 40-man roster before the Rule 5 deadline earlier in the offseason, and they would more than likely be the first few to be called up.

Mike Burrows and Endy Rodriguez are among the team’s top prospects, and even with the Pirates adding free agents at their position, there won’t be anything keeping them back once they are deemed ready for major league action.

Colin Selby was a name that flew out of almost nowhere and was added, and has the kind of stuff to make an impact out of the bullpen earlier than later. With Diego Castillo getting designated for assignment, that opened up a potential right-handed utility spot that Jared Triolo could fill. Not only is he one of the best defensive players in the minors, he was a hit machine over the past two seasons.

Jose Hernandez was the Pirates Rule 5 pick earlier this month and will have to stay on the roster all season. He’ll have to earn a roster spot in Spring Training, but should have an inside edge in doing so.

Outside of the names on the 40-man roster, the Pirates still have plenty of their top prospects that will be knocking on the door waiting to make their major league roster.

Quinn Priester is arguably their best prospect that isn’t on the 40-man, and he finished the year in Indianapolis. Malcom Nunez was acquired in the Jose Quintana trade, and while he’s certainly a candidate to make his debut this year, the additions of Ji-Man Choi, Carlos Santana and even Connor Joe made the path to the majors a little more difficult.

Matt Gorski was another Rule 5 eligible player that was protected, like Nunez, with an injury the only thing slowing him down enough to keep him from reaching 30 home runs last season. He will have to cut down on the strikeouts in Triple-A to get his shot, and the offseason additions of Joe and Ryan Vilade also puts him a little further down the organization’s depth chart.

Staying healthy, something that isn’t guaranteed with them, will go a long way in determining if Henry Davis and Nick Gonzales will be a part of this wave or next year’s. Gonzales is going to be eligible for the Rule 5 next offseason, with Davis the following year, so there isn’t as much of a rush for the former first overall pick.

The Pirates have a slew of pitching prospects in the upper levels, with Cody Bolton one of the few who spent all of 2022 in Indianapolis. If they decide to shift him to the bullpen he could have a quicker path to the majors then if they try him as a starter.

Carmen Mlodzinski, Kyle Nicolas, and Tahnaj Thomas are other notable pitchers that could slide into the major league bullpen at some point, but that would be further out and a lot would likely have to happen to see any of them up at some point.

There are going to be a lot of roster decisions coming over the next couple of seasons, so any move they make will have to have the future in mind just as much as the present. Some of these names may be well worth getting a look, but the current (and future) roster makeup may  not allow for it.

Regardless, based on the names that are knocking on the door, even if there aren’t as many debuts in 2023, the ones who do may have a bigger impact on the roster than the previous year.

Highlight of the Day

Pirates Prospects Daily

By Tim Williams

**In my column today, I looked closer at how Austin Hedges fits in to the Pirates focus on mindset throughout the system.

**The Pirates announced their 2023 Minor League Coaching Assignments.

**The Pirates agreed to a minor league deal with RHP Tyler Chatwood.

**Duane Underwood Jr. is heading to Puerto Rico for Winter Ball. John Dreker has all of the latest Pirates winter league updates.

**Missed yesterday? Anthony looked at the moving parts from the DFA of Diego Castillo.

Song of the Day

Pirates Prospects Weekly

Williams: Be Yourself, It’s All That You Can Do

Our latest Roundtable will go up at noon on Thursday.

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.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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joesolo6181

I think the pirates need a name change. Instead of Pirates, they should be called the Pittsburgh Dumpster Divers. they tend to see jewels in other teams castoffs.

skliesen

With regard to Nick G and Davis, I agree with Anthony the key to their success is remaining healthy for all, or close to all, of the season. If they do, they’ll be in Pittsburgh before the ‘23 season is complete.

NMR

What position is Davis playing?

It would take an act of god to make him a big league catcher by the end of ’23.

skliesen

Good thing it’s the season of miracles then.

ArkyWags

He fields with his bat!

skliesen

Last season, Pirates DH were below replacement level. This year they signed two guys to 1-year deals. By the time Davis is promoted those signings will have no bearing on the decision.

NMR

Drafting a DH 1-1…

skliesen

Love that GIF…and pretty much spot on in this case too. If Davis is strictly a DH, he better be Edgar frickin Martinez to justify his selection.

jaygray007

on a less sarcastic note… once davis is actually up, i think i can kinda envision a system where both are in the lineup on most days.

Davis can probably do something like… 2 per week at DH, 1 per week at 1b, and 3 per week at C, and a day off.

Endy can probably sprinkle in for 4 per week at C, 1-2 per week at 2b, and 1-2 days off.

Now, is davis gonna throw a fit about being at DH and 1b a lot? i guess we dont know.

dont like it? catch better!

Last edited 1 month ago by jaygray007
NMR

I accepted that Davis is Kyle Schwarber before he blew his knee out and that’s ok.

jaygray007

absolutely. And having Endy makes that even more okay, in theory.

if he can end up learning a decent 1b and putting the gear on 2-3 times a week and not humiliate himself, while popping a wrc+ in the 120s that’s a win. probably a 2.5-3.5 win player there.

long way to go to get there though.

jaygray007

with how anal these guys are about 40 man roster optimization, with Davis not being R5 elig till dec 2024, and with Endy already on the 40, theres no way we see him until 24, IMO.

ben is licking his chops over not having davis taking a 40 man spot over next winter, oh yes he is.

i bet we do see Nick G in one form or another since he’s R5 elig next december

Last edited 1 month ago by jaygray007
NMR

i still don’t know why we attribute nefarious service time/roster management critiques to banal developmental issues.

They drafted Davis to be a catcher.

He stinks at it, and has missed large amounts of development time needed to become better. That will require additional developmental time in order to earn a promotion.

That’s it. That’s the tweet.

Last edited 1 month ago by NMR
jaygray007

More and more Reynolds smoke. Morosi reporting that the pirates prefer pitching in the return and that the yanks are talkin. That means that there’s talks.

on the subject of “hating myself, using the trade simulator since i have the tab open”

Reynolds for Nestor, Schmidt, and Jasson Dominguez favors the pirates.

I wouldnt *like* it, but parking Bae in CF and getting a return in that ballpark would be ~okay~. i wouldnt be happy or excited, but it’d be like, acceptable.

do that and then sign Segura, trade for Pablo, and sign a cutch type.

Last edited 1 month ago by jaygray007
joesolo6181

On the Yankee hot stove TV spot ads they already show Reynolds as a potential Pirate. If Reynolds is traded, the one team that will screw them most is the Yankees. They got nothing for Holmes and lucked out in the Tallion trade by getting Contreras who at this point is more suspect them established player. So whatever the Yankees offer and give it, none will improve the Pirates as much as Reynolds staying would.

jaygray007

Reynolds for Nestor, Schmidt, and Dominguez
Suwinski, Chandler, and Peguero for Pablo Lopez

LF Joe, CF Bae, RF CutchType
3b Hayes, SS Cruz, 2b Segura, 1b Choi/Andujar DH Santana
C Hedges —> Endy

Pablo, Nestor, Roansy, Keller, Schmidt/Brubaker

AAA rotation Oviedo, Burrows, Ortiz, Priester, Thompson

Pablo/Reynolds salaries nearly cancel out. lets say cutch will make 6 and Segura 12. assuming very low pay for Nestor, schmidt.

brings in a payroll under 80.

jaygray007 masterclass

Last edited 1 month ago by jaygray007
AdministrativeSky236

My concern here is that brings us to i dunno maybe 80 wins? Though I guess with control and all, that rotation is probably set for the next few seasons other than adding burrows, priester, etc. Rotation is much improved, but the lineup looks pretty light to be for having given up brey, suwinski, bubba, and peggy

jaygray007

i think becoming an 80 win team has value.

That probably gives you a, idk, 20 percent playoff probability. I think that’s worth paying a very moderate financial price for. i think a lot of teams would pay a lot more than 20 million in order to increase playoff odds by like 10-20 percent.

i think they should be willing to spend an additional ~20 million to increase their playoff odds by like 19 percent.

do something different with that money if you want. maybe go cheap with castro at 2b and thatll free up that entire pot to get a better player for RF.

Last edited 1 month ago by jaygray007
ArkyWags

An 80 win teams especially has value by not being in the NL East or West.

jaygray007

by fangraphs projected standings, the projected playoff teams are: STL, SD, NYM, ATL, PHI, and LAD.

MIL and PHI are basically tied for 6th/7th.

After that theres a gap until the sub-500 giants and marlins.

getting your projection up to 81 makes you the best sleeper.

jaygray007

It’d be a great day to trade some LH OFs for 2 yrs of Pablo Lopez

i dunno. Suwinski and a prospect?

Last edited 1 month ago by jaygray007
jaygray007

since i like abusing myself, i went over to the ole Trade Simulator

A fair deal in that s*** tool is Suwinski, Peguero, and Chandler for Pablo.

I think i’d need a little sweetener from MIA there but i’d be close to doing that.

skliesen

Not sure if I’d ever forgive the man who traded Bubba.

jaygray007

i’m not here to yuck your yum

skliesen

In all seriousness, the long shadow of the Archer trade makes me believe Nutting will veto any deal of this type, no matter how much sense it makes.

NMR

so incredibly dumb.

jaygray007

other than endy and cruz, i just see a bunch of 1.5-2.5 WAR guys. which is fine! thats valuable! i like having an army of those guys! thats a legitimate thing that is needed!

but theres going to come a point where they have to trade some depth for some stardom and also sign some stardom.

without those things, the only thing theyre in line to win is the Dollars Spent Per Win competition for the next 4 years. “neat”.

reminder to everyone that the pirates could add two 30 million dollar stars to the current team, and still have a below-average MLB payroll.

skliesen

Lots to unpack here.

First, you failed to mention the possibility of developing one or more of these 1.5 – 2.5 WAR players into 4+ WAR players, which is much more likely than trading prospects for an established 4+ WAR player. Do you need to be reminded of the Chris Archer trade?

Next, you shouldn’t punish yourself by comparing Pirates payroll to the MLB average. No chance this ownership ever plans on getting to that level. However, I think it’s reasonable for them to one day spend enough to be at the top of the bottom 25%, maybe even top 33% if fans start filling up PNC Park again.

jsdspud

I don’t think that anyone reading this website needs to be reminded of the Chris Archer trade. The “I tried this once and it didn’t work out, so I won’t ever do that again” mentality is common in sports and life. Just because the Archer trade was a disaster doesn’t mean that the next prospects for veteran trade won’t work out in the Pirates favor. As much as I like Chandler, his odds of making to Pittsburgh are slim and his odds of becoming an all star are much less.

I wouldn’t be against trading any young pitching prospect for an established pitcher. I would be leery if Tampa, NYY, Cleveland, Houston, or LAD wanted to acquire one of my pitching prospects though. It would make me think that I missed something.

I prefer acquiring Carassco and a prospect from NYM in exchange for a 25 year old prospect in High A and taking on the full contract.

skliesen

Any formula for a small market team to compete with larger market teams does not include trading away high ceiling prospects just as they are developing their skills.

Trading away productive vets like Reynolds for younger high ceiling players combined with drafting guys like Chandler, Johnson, Davis, etc. is how teams increase odds of success.

Sure there are outlier examples of small market teams trading away prospects for established Vets and it working out (Brewers getting Yelich), but those are few and far between.

NMR

“Few and far between” not because of failures but because of lack of trying.

If we’re talking a true statistical accounting of success then it’s pretty obvious that small market teams achieving success by chasing high upside teens has an enormously large failure rate.

Last edited 1 month ago by NMR
jaygray007

i mean, they literally have paid nearly 120 million on players before, so i can hold them to that standard!

and that’s not even factoring in inflation!

and what’s your point about maybe lucking into an additional star from this crop? that they have everything they need and dont need to add a star?

Last edited 1 month ago by jaygray007
skliesen

In ‘22, 20th in payroll was $126mm. By the time Pirates would consider going there, inflation will cause this number to be $150mm or more. No reason to believe Nutting approves a budget larger than this.

jaygray007

my point was that they literally spent nearly 120 in 2015-6 i think.

126 2022 dollars is literally less spending than 120 2015 dollars.

asking for 120 as soon as 2024 is very reasonable.

i’m allowed to be mad if they dont spend what i know they could spend.

Last edited 1 month ago by jaygray007
skliesen

I get your point, but you’re only looking at one piece of evidence. In 2016, they were coming off 3 straight seasons of unparalleled fan support, whereas now we’re coming off no fans in 20, and next to no fan support in 21 & 22.

Plus if anything Nutting has become less concerned about winning now than he was back then.

Your anger may be justified, but it serves no positive purpose. If anything, fan’s unwillingness to support team will continue to fuel lower payroll.

leefieux

We need LOTS of Prospect in those waves, because just like ocean waves, by the time they get to the beach, there’s just not as much water left.

Hopefully there will be enough left to splash around in and have fun.

(Sorry, but it is snowing here and I was longing for some beach time).

NMR

-30 on my way into the office today. How long til pitchers and catchers?

leefieux

Where do you live….Antarctica?

timbre21

Anthony, very good article, if the pirates are to make a move in the next two or three years, several on this list will have to make an impact.
Also one question, how can I change my username

Wilbur Miller

I looked in my profile and it says “usernames cannot be changed.” Probably need a new account, maybe from a different URL.

Scam likely

Also Hayes may have to hit to keep his job. With Triolo and n.gonzales hitting better than hayes,he may have to be traded.Not sold on any of the outfield prospect including suwinski but maybe one could surprise. I also think that none of the veteran pickups will be in the way after the trade dead line.Also look for Reynolds to be moved at the trade dead line , when they draft Cruz at #1he should fast track to the majors.

NMR

“…when they draft Cruz at #1he should fast track to the majors.”

We’ve found our next McCutcheon.

skliesen

I doubt he has any idea what you just did there.

NMR

As all comedians know, the best jokes are ones too niche to be understood by 99% of the population.

leefieux

Agree on Hayes, but last I checked, neither Triolo or Nicky the K have done anything in the majors.

JoeNastasi

Then again Hayes hasn’t exactly lit it up either after his brief cameo the 1st time

skliesen

Last I checked a run saved on defense is equivalent to a run created on offense.

NMR

It’s the bottom of the 9th, the Pirates are down one with two outs, and bah god the umpire has just awarded them a run from a great defensive play made by Hayes last week! The crowd goes wild!

skliesen

It’s the bottom of the 9th Pirates are up by 1 run with bases loaded and only 1 out. Arrenado hits a screamer down the 3B line. Hayes takes a quick step, dives to his right and snares it, steps on 3B and fires a rocket to Santana at 1B to secure Bednar’s 50th save of the season and Pirates first division title in 30 years.

leefieux

Way below replacement level batting wise.

emjayinTN

Minor issue, Anthony, but I do not think Gorski or Nunez were “protected”.

Thanks to Cot’s, here’s a listing MLB Service days of 10 position players, and 2 Catchers who I would regard as the near future of the Pirates, excluding Bryan Reynolds and Ke’Bryan Hayes. Also added is 2023 age,

Rodolfo Castro – 0.127, IF, 24
Oneil Cruz – 0.110, IF, 24
Ji-Hwan Bae – 0.013, IF, 24
Liover Peguero – 0.003, IF, 22
Tucupita Marcano – 0.141, IF/OF, 23
Jack Suwinski – 0.118, OF, 25
Canaan Smith-Njigba – 0.115, OF, 24
Cal Mitchell – 0.096. OF, 24
Ryan Vilade – 0.016, OF, 24
Travis Swaggerty – 0.008, OF, 26
Endy Rodriguez – 0.000, C, 22
Henry Davis – 0.000, C, 23

Time to get them some MLB PT before they age out. I thought this was the year, but we have purchased a whole boat load of cheap, 30+ veterans!

leefieux

I think AM meant ‘UN’ protected. Give the kid a break. 😁😁😁😁😁

Scam likely

From your list guys who going to be part of a winning pirate team.
Cruz-ss/of
Bae-2b/of
Peguero-mid inf
Castro-2b/3b/dh
Nick gonzalez-2b/3b
Davis-c-dh-maybe som outfield
Endny Rodriguez-primary catcher /and many other position also.

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