Pirates Discussion: Less Than Two Weeks Till Players Report For Spring Training

We’re 12 days away from when pitchers and catchers officially report to camp for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

As of now, there are a handful of prospects at camp for instructs. Henry Davis has been having a good time sending a couple balls over the wall.

Malcom Nunez has been getting some repetitions at third base.

John Dreker detailed the list non-roster invitees on Thursday, which included a previously unannounced signing of infielder Chris Owings. If you’d like an entire list of all who will be attending camp, Pirates beat reporter Alex Stumpf posted a full roster.

Over the course of the last few weeks, the major publications have been releasing their Top 100 lists with Kiley McDaniel at ESPN having posted the most recent list. Then Keith Law, after having posted his own Top 100 list, released his farm rankings that had the Pirates ranked sixth.

With all major roster acquisitions likely to be done for the time being, most attention will turn to position battles. There doesn’t stand to be that many spots, and most competition will probably be for who gets first shot at an opening if an injury were to occur.

The most likely open position battles will be for backup catcher and one to two outfield positions.

I’d say that Tyler Heineman has the leg up for backup catcher, but maybe Carter Bins comes into camp showing some better contact that will allow his power to play.

Bryan Reynolds and Jack Suwinski are the two favorites to garner outfield spots, but I imagine going into camp that Reynolds is the only one of the two with an assured spot. One thing I’ll be keeping an eye open for is whether Reynolds plays strictly in center field, or if he is seeing time in the corner spots as well.

Assumptions would be that Vince Velasquez has the fifth starter role, but of the five presumed starters, his spot would be the one that could potentially flip. The bullpen seems to be mostly filled out with returning pitchers and a couple acquisitions.

Which potential battles are you looking forward to? Is there anyone that you believe will force their way on to the roster much like Diego Castillo did last Spring Training?

Raised in Cranberry Twp, PA, Jeff attended Kent State University and worked in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, before moving to New Orleans in September of 2012. His background is as an Engineering Designer, but he has always had a near unhealthy passion for Pittsburgh sports. Hockey and Baseball are his 1A and 1B, combined with his mathematical background, it's led to Jeff's desire in diving into analytics. Jeff is known as Bucs'N'Pucks in the comments, and began writing for Pirates Prospects in 2022 after contributing so many useful bits of information in the comment section.

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Pipe dream – Pirates don’t take service time into consideration and roster any rookie that looks like the best option for right now. Endy would be my pick if he showed he was ready.

Scam likely

Endy tears it up in spring and forces his way on the opening day line up as a catcher, firstbase ,second base and some right field and yes wins Roy.


0.0% chance Endy is on OD roster no matter how he hits this Spring. And quite honestly, he really shouldn’t be.


Unless he signs an extension!


That would change the equation now wouldn’t it!!!???


Saw a video of hayes working out this offseason, hes looking very solid- maybe added some muscle to his frame hoping for more durability


Pre Spring Training Bold Prediction:

Both Hayes & Cruz have higher WAR than Bryan Reynolds, and Reynolds has higher than 5 WAR year.


I’ll have what he’s having…


Yeah, might’ve gone a bit past bold on that one.


If I had to pick one guy to force his way onto roster, it would be Smith-Njigba as a bat, and Selby as an arm.

CSN has the OBP skills the Pirates are looking for, and Selby just looked filthy in clips I saw of him in AFL.


This brings up a good question, how do you handle the AAA and MLB bullpens at the beginning of the year? Do you bring the best arms north and let it play out, or establish traditional reliever roles at both levels and graduate/demote pieces throughout the year? Do you start the Selby’s, De Los Santos’s, and Holderman’s in leverage situations at the MLB level or do you make them earn it? There are a lot of very interesting possibilities.


Most important thing is to keep the best bullpen arms from getting overused. Where they begin the season, and in what role, is secondary to staying healthy and effective.


Agree with both, and also guys like Nunez, Triolo, and Bae with the OBP and some pop.

One of my questions was how many of the top prospects are already in Camp – Davis and Nunez were mentioned in the article, but I wonder about others? Looks like Nunez taking reps at 3B, but I think if he hits in AAA like he did in AA he will be the Pirate 1B by late 2023. Been a long time since a young prospect was at 1B for the Pirates!


Selby is a good choice!


I know it is batting practice, but I enjoyed the the twitter clip of Tank Davis crushing one and hearing everyone going woooooo….lol, must have destroyed it.

b mcferren

what about bringing back Wilmer Difo? that guy brought some energy to the team in 2021


He’s with the Yankees on a minor league deal.


I’d like to see all of Ramirez, Holderman and de los Santos make the bullpen – and not because of injury, but because BC finally sees the light and cuts ties with the likes of DeJong and Underwood.

And since the FO bothered to carry him the entire offseason, I’d like to see Vilade bat .500/.625/.850 and force BC to figure out what to do with him.

b mcferren

best player comp for tank is Tyler O´Neil?


Somebody said Napoli the other day and that hit for me.


Thats a very nice peak, would be content with that if true

b mcferren

there must be untold demons about Malcom Nunez

all I ever see are raving reviews but yet these questions and mysteries remain:

how did we get him for half a year of Cantina?

why did noone pick him in rule V?


Despite what you may think, a team trying to win a title is willing to give up a player who may have a bright future to acquire a player who may be the one guy who puts them over the top.

As for Rule V, it has been well chronicled 1B/DH types rarely get drafted. Nunez making it through Rule V does not mean he has no future as a starting 1B.

b mcferren

anyone want to bring back Erik Gonzalez? right handed shortstop you said

Wilbur Miller

b mcferren

that mustache plays in the ´91 roster

Wilbur Miller

OT, but I had to laugh when I saw this headline on some popup:

Vanessa Hudgens is Engaged to MLB Star Cole Tucker

Uh, “MLB Star?”


Well that explains the 25 K’s and zero free passes prior to his DFA



Jeff Reed Invites Award Winning Author and World Series Champion NMR onto Podcast

Wilbur Miller

If we ever got a podcast off the ground, we could sometimes do sort of a call-in format.


Maybe they meant MiLB star.


He isn’t even that.


Maybe this year’s Castillo will be Triolo. I’d be torn–on the one hand I think he’d benefit from time in AAA and I wouldn’t want to give up the year of control but on the other hand, a RH super-utility player is exactly what we need.

Seems like a big jump to go from AA to playing all over the field in the majors, but I’d be excited to see him given the opportunity.


Not a good choice for anyone

Even if the Pirates conviced me they were all in this year, I still wouldn’t veer off the path set for him. He had a solid year and before the injury he was smashing the ball the second half after a powerless run producing start that had me Gonzo worried
Hard to believe stat, JT after 51 G had 8 XBH all Doubles and 5 RBI
First 72 G, 13 XBH
LAST 40 G, 23 XBH

So let him start slow in Indy not PIT. Nothing to gain and a year to lose. JT needs AB’s which he won’t get in a utility role in Pittbuirgh
He is a BIG piece as is Bae and the reason I hoped they would protect him. If the left side of infield were unavailable for whatever reason
O.K., its Bae and Triolo ready of not, here we come, Bae is ready and Triolo is so polished def, if he hits .230/.350/.360/.710, I think that works for everyone


Swaggerty will force his way into the roster.


Good choice.

I think both TS & CSN will both play integral roles on the ‘23 team. Especially if Reynolds is dealt this summer as many predict.


I particularly hope Ji-Hwan Bae makes the roster. I also would like to see Swaggerty make the team so they have a legitimate center fielder. I’m not expecting the latter though.


Bae no way, but your right would be nice.
Swags good shot but its up to him

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