Pirates Prospects Daily: Three Prospects To Watch In The World Baseball Classic

The rosters for the upcoming World Baseball Classic were released on Thursday, and the Pittsburgh Pirates were decently represented, both at the major, and minor league level. 

Most of the bigger names throughout the system will be sitting this out, but the likes of David Bednar and Roansy Contreras will represent their respective countries in the tournament.

There are a couple of prospects of note playing as well, and while it’s not any of your top ranked ones, there are still a couple of noteworthy names to watch in the tournament should you decide to turn in.

Alessandro Ercolani

It’s a little hard to project what the Bradenton rotation may look like in 2023, but it’s a safe bet Ercolani could be a member after mowing through the FCL last season. In ten appearances (eight starts), the righty from Italy posted a 1.19 ERA, while striking out 39 batters in 30.1 innings pitched.

He doesn’t turn 19 until April, and this could end up being one of the more extended looks most have gotten from him. Some of the little bit available is from this outing in an Under-18 tournament he pitched in last year.

Antwone Kelly

Another player from the complex league, Kelly pitched mostly out of relief. While Ercolani has a more projectable frame, Kelly stands at just 5 ’10, but that doesn’t keep him from throwing in the mid-90s.

There’s a lot of mystery out of the potential Bradenton squad this year, with a lot of names who are all projection right now. Getting some experience against some tough competition, should he pitch in games, can help him build towards a strong full season debut.

Tsung-Che Cheng

Cheng was one of the best lead-off hitters in the system last season, showing a great approach at the plate, and he stole 33 bases. He also played very strong defense at shortstop last year.

He didn’t hit for much power, and didn’t post very flattering exit velocity numbers, but he picked up 25 doubles, with a very strong 23.9% line drive rate in Bradenton during the 2022 season.

Highlight of the Day

Pirates Prospects Daily

By John Dreker

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Just a reminder that our Pirates History site has daily articles, at least two every single day.

**Card of the Day: 1995 Collector’s Choice Trey Beamon

**This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: February 11th, Pirates Trade for a Familiar Hall of Famer

There will be a winter report up at noon today that includes some great quotes from a coach and the player

Song of the Day

If you don’t like the guitar work in this song, we can’t be friends. Sounds like two different people playing at the same time

Pirates Prospects Weekly

WTM: A Recent History of the Pittsburgh Pirates Drafting Catchers

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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thanks for the John Hurt tune, Anthony

John Dreker

I’d be willing to bet that Anthony’s never heard John Hurt before. I did the bottom section below the Cheng tweet. Usually it is Tim doing that part though


I’m a couple days late to this article but always love the sublety of John Hurt’s brilliance. John Fahey is another guitarist that is great at separating the bass line from the melody into two distinct parts being played simultaneously. It’s a very unique and rich sound that is incredibly more difficult than either artist make it sound.


well, then, thank you, John

Wilbur Miller

Potential starters for Bradenton:

Dominic Perachi
Julian Bosnic
Thomas Harrington (Greensboro probably more likely)
Alessandro Ercolani
Antwone Kelly
Hung-Leng Chang
Bladimir Dotel
J.P. Massey
Jaycob Deese
Jose Garces
Enmanuel De Los Santos
Maybe Jun-Seok Shim
Maybe Michael Kennedy (fairly likely given Solometo last year)
Maybe Owen Kellington if he’s healthy

Far from an exhaustive list. For one thing, there’ll be popup guys that the Pirates know about and we don’t. Very curious to see what they do with this.

John Dreker

Kellington is healthy


Took a look at the 2022 Bradenton rotation, and found it notable that the top 5 in innings and starts were all 20+ (Jimenez the only one to turn 20 after the season started).

If past is prologue, we might be looking at Chang, Dotel, EDLS, Massey and I don’t think they’ve given up on Peralta just yet (but don’t expect them to send him to GBO either). That would leave the 3 college dudes (Deese, Bosnic & Perachi) to battle for the 6th spot/long relief/first up in event of injury.

Everyone else – including Kellington – I could see hanging back at EST to manage innings until June/July, like Solometo and Bubba did.

Of course, we’re not even talking about the other college arms they drafted (Nielson, Diamond, Walsh).

Ton of sorting to do indeed.


What’s a World Baseball Classic? 😅😅😊


An old one of this,


Great song of the day. Usually I do not like the song of the day, but today’s selection was a home run. It’s been a long time since I heard Mississippi John Hurt, now I am going to dig out some of his old albums and give them a play.

John Dreker

I need to sit down and listen to more of his stuff. That came up as a YouTube suggestion about a year ago after I listened to some Sonny Boy Williamson and I love that song. Probably listen to it once every 2-3 weeks


Man, how effortlessly he plays the guitar too.


Must be cool to stand on the line in your countries uniform, hearing your anthem.

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