Pirates Prospects Daily: Pirates Have Second Base Depth Throughout The System

MLB Pipeline has been pumping out their Top 10 prospects at each position over the last couple of days, with their second base rankings dropping on Friday. It was the second position that the Pirates had multiple players on, joining catcher.

Termarr Johnson took home the honors of being ranked the top second base prospect in all of baseball, with Nick Gonzales coming in at number eight. 

The rankings reaffirm one of the team’s strengths throughout the organization, at not only second base but the middle infield in general. 

Two of the three first round picks made by Ben Cherington – both top 10 picks – have been players that project as second baseman, so it really shouldn’t be a surprise that they both ended up on the list.

The depth doesn’t stop there, as it goes throughout the system as well, from the top all the way to the bottom.

Major League Level

At the moment, Rodolfo Castro is in line to get the nod at second base to start the season after hitting 11 home runs in 2022 with the Pirates. He’s been a somewhat streaky hitter, but also has hit 16 home runs across his first 339 plate appearances. 

There’s been a lot of International talk as of late, and it’s fitting as both Castro and Ji-Hwan Bae were both signed and developed by the Pirates, and now could compete for playing time at second base this year. Bae has more speed/contact compared to Castro’s power, making them an interesting combination.

Upper Minors

Injuries have limited Gonzales to 151 non-rehab games, but his advanced bat should put him in position to start the year in Triple-A, waiting for a shot in the majors. He’s flashed some power, and even with some swing and miss issues certainly has the pedigree to be on the Top 10 list. With some more contact, Gonzales could find his way back on a lot of Top 100 lists.

Another name to watch is Andres Alvarez, who put together the first 20-20 season in the history of the Altoona Curve. He played all over the infield and some in left field, but seems like the best fit is at second.

Lower Levels

Johnson leads the lower levels, and for just cause. He is one of the most highly regarded prep hitters in recent years, mostly for his very strong hit tool. He flashed some of that and his power potential in a brief stint in Bradenton to close out the season.

Being just 19-years-old, he could start back in Bradenton, but the Pirates have never been shy about getting aggressive with some prospects.

Tsung-Che Cheng showed he has the range to man shortstop, playing over 700 innings at the position in 2022 with the Marauders. He also logged over 100 innings at second base as well. The Pirates have Oneil Cruz (6’7”) and Castro (6’0”) as their potential double play combination in Pittsburgh. On the opposite end of that, both Cheng and Johnson measure in around 5’7”.

Depth at any position is a good thing, and while it does look incredibly crowded, it does give the Pirates a better chance at finding a permanent double play partner with Cruz, and if multiple of them establish themselves as major leaguers, they can work a trade out to address another position of need.

Highlight of the Day

Pirates Prospects Daily

By Tim Williams

**As mentioned above, Termarr Johnson was ranked as the best second base prospect.

**The Pirates officially signed Andrew McCutchen. They also designated Miguel Andujar for assignment.

**Brendt Citta was placed on the voluntarily retired list.

**Missed yesterday? Anthony looked at Liover Peguero and how he’s a reminder that development isn’t linear.

Song of the Day

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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Cobra

Take a look at Bae’s OBP each season from age 18 on. Don’t rule out him being the starting second baseman on March 30

GreenWeenie

Really pulling for Castro. Love His athleticism and his swing.

AdministrativeSky236

Unrelated to this article, but man I cant wait for opening day and having baseball back again.

PirateRican21

That’s appropriate on any article!

leefieux

Since Bae is the better fielder btwn he and Castro, shouldn’t HE get the starting nod? Unless they truly do want him to play CF?

bianco599

I am really pulling for Bae to play some where in the majors. I would love to see someone be up near the league leaders in SB. I know he would have to get on base to do this. But that is my hope.

b mcferren

maybe rodolfo castro is suwinski´s platoon partner and Bae plays fulltime between both second base and center field

its looking more and more that reynolds opens the season on our roster

so this pacifies reynolds to play center field for half of the games and hedges on the holes in suwinsk´s swing and also pacifies oneil cruz´s wish to play second along with his buddy

Last edited 14 days ago by b mcferren
leefieux

I would definitely cringe if Castro played RF even on a platoon basis.

emjayinTN

I think if they allow Castro to play more at 2B he would do better, although he fielded .966 at 2B for the Pirates. In AAA he played primarily at 3B and at SS, and only 15 games at 2B. At Pittsburgh he played a lot at 3B, SS, and 2B.

I like Bae’s game offensively setting the table, SB’s etc., but hard to overlook the power of Ro Castro, especially from the RH side. I doubt that either will be the “full-time” 2B, and both will help the team.

Anthony

Not a bad problem to have, just need to be more selective with giving Castro opportunities. Those LH hitting numbers aren’t going to cut it this year. The guy who can consistently get on base should get the bulk of playing time.

PirateRican21

Castro best position is utility, like all of our 2b candidates. Is not a complaint, they all have streaks that might end up as an average position by years end.

Last edited 14 days ago by PirateRican21
leefieux

Like Peguero, 2023 will be very important for Nicky the K. Can he stay healthy? Can he cut down on those K’s? That rate won’t get any lower as he rises in the system unless he can change something. Was it the stop and starts of his career causing that?

That is why 2023 will go a long way to showing us what Nick, a supposed polished College bat when he came out, can do.

JimEastTennessee

Citta the hitta had a good run. Good luck with the next page.

leefieux

It can’t be easy saying goodbye to a dream. They were stars in HS and maybe college.

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