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Pirates Prospects Daily: Hitting Prospects In Major League Camp

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After the Pittsburgh Pirates announced the rest of their Non-Roster Invitees to Spring Training, when you include the 40-man roster, there are nearly 30 players that still retain ‘prospect’ status that will be in big league camp.

Today, I’m previewing the position players in camp. Check back tomorrow for a look at the pitchers.

Henry Davis/Nick Gonzales

These two I group together because I have the same thought on each of them. Result wise, I’m really not concerned with what either Davis or Gonzales do in camp. In fact, I’m willing to bet they both run into a couple of pitches and make some very loud contact, perhaps multiple times.

That’s not the issue with either of them. The issue has been staying on the field. Both former first rounders need a full season of baseball in the worst of ways. Staying healthy in camp and getting to whatever affiliate they are going to in one piece would be a good outcome.

Travis Swaggerty

Swaggerty is almost in the same boat as Davis and Gonzales. He was off to a good start in 2021 until a shoulder injury, and then dealt with an issue with the other shoulder this past camp. A concussion also factored into his slow start, though he eventually righted the ship later on. There’s a lot on the line for Swaggerty this spring, and he’ll need to be on the field to seize any potential opportunity.

Liover Peguero

People may be down on Peguero after a mostly disappointing 2022. He’s still one of the most talented players in the system, and only 22 years old. We saw Matt Gorski put things together last year at the age of 24. I think we can be patient with Peguero. He’s not far from returning to the former Top-100 prospect that most anointed as the guy who’d bump Oneil Cruz off of shortstop.

I’d love to just see a lot of the little stuff from him in camp. Making the easy throw, a little added plate discipline, and maybe some added time at second base (or even being spicy and throwing him in left field).

Endy Rodriguez

His focus in camp should be 100% playing catcher. That is where he can make his biggest impact this season, and I’d like to see that as his sole focus.

Matt Gorski 

Let the quad that limited him last year be healthy, and have him be one of the last cuts in camp. The tools are off the chart for Gorski, but now he faces the real test in the upper-levels/majors. If there is one NRI to hang around to the end, let it be Gorski.

Ji-Hwan Bae 

Bae’s best role for the 2023 Pirates will be as the team’s super utility guy, getting him into as many games as possible. That should be his role this spring, getting him experience to start embracing that role. He played second, center, and left field in the majors last year, but also short and third in the minors. Let’s see him everywhere.

Jared Triolo

Same thing as Bae, let’s see how versatile Triolo is. We know how good he is at third base, let’s keep seeing how his progression is coming elsewhere. He got some time in center field and shortstop last year. Can he play second? 

Ryan Vilade

Vilade has survived every time the Pirates needed to shed someone off the 40-man this offseason, so they have something planned for him. What is it? Or, at the very least, what did the Pirates see in him that they prioritized keeping him?

Carter Bins

Bins really struggled to make contact last year, and took a step back defensively, so what kind of steps can he take in camp in a potential rebound season?

Termarr Johnson

I’m not sure how many games Johnson will get into before getting sent to minor league camp, but the 2022 first rounder has one of the most talked about hit tools in recent history. It will be good to see him in camp until they inevitably send him down.

Malcom Nunez

The Pirates brought in two players to fill their first base needs in Pittsburgh, potentially blocking Nunez for the 2023 season. This camp is really about planting the seed for him to be ‘the guy’ come 2024 — maybe sooner depending on how things shake out this year.

Lolo Sanchez

I was a bit surprised they brought Sanchez back as a minor league free agent with how crowded the outfield picture is in the upper levels, but he showed some of the best contact rates in the system last year. 

Andres Alvarez

Alvarez put together the first 20/20 season in Altoona Curve history last year. He played all over the infield and then some in left field. It’d be nice to see a right-handed middle infielder step up, and Alvarez had one of the best 2022 season’s among them in the minors.

Canaan Smith-Njigba

Smith-Njigba can really shake up the outfield picture if his wrist is 100% ready to go, and there doesn’t seem to be a reason to think that it isn’t. He is a lot like Ke’Bryan Hayes, as they both hit the ball really hard, but if they are able to get a little more lift, their offensive profile completely changes. Let’s see if Smith-Njigba can show that without compromising his approach at the plate.

Highlight of the Day

Pirates Prospects Daily

By Tim Williams

**The Athletic and ESPN both released their top Pirates prospects lists yesterday.

**Missed yesterday? Anthony broke down the second base battle heading into Spring Training.

**Check back later today for a column from Wilbur Miller.

Song of the Day

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Anthony Murphy
Anthony Murphy
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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