The first step under the current regime of Ben Cherington was to acquire as much talent in the system as possible.
Now after stockpiling prospects, it turned to getting them on the field and developing them to reach their potential. After a while, when you accumulate enough talent, there are bound to be traffic jams at certain positions.
One way to take full advantage of that is trade from one area of strength to help boost something in need.
We’ve seen the Pirates did into the prospect well quite a bit this offseason, trading Jack Hartman for Ji-Man Choi, Nick Garcia for Connor Joe and then more recently, Ricky DeVito for Mark Mathias.
Devito was acquired in the Richard Rodriguez trade, along with Bryse Wilson back in 2021. He sat out the rest of that season with an injury before pitching in Greensboro last year.
While some of the base numbers weren’t pretty, especially considering his age and the level he was at, DeVito had some intriguing stuff which included one of the best offspeed pitches (splitter) in the system.
At the end of the day, the Pirates are in the position where they want to start improving the major league team, and that means moving on from some of their prospects they’ve added.
DeVito had the stuff to be a good reliever at some point, maybe even as a late-inning option, but even that isn’t a guarantee. With the amount of options in the bullpen in the upper levels, it was smarter to maximize on any value he had.
As the names that are Rule 5 eligible continue to grow, we will continue to see more of these trades getting made. It will be up to the Pirates to continue to find value out of the excess they build up from within the system to keep things a continuous wheel.
Ke’Bryan Hayes Homers Again
Hayes has missed some time with an injury this spring, which is concerning a bit considering his history, but seeing him drive the ball the way he has when he’s been on the field has been encouraging.
Hitting the ball hard has never been the issue for Hayes, getting it off the ground has been. He finished in the 89th percentile when it comes to average exit velocity last year, but only in the 13th percentile when it came to barrel rate. The biggest issue was launch angle, which averaged 5.2° last year.
The power is there, it’s just maximizing on it and getting the ball up in the air.
Pirates Prospects Daily
By John Dreker
**Pirates Send Ricky DeVito to the Texas Rangers to Complete Earlier Trade
**Spring Training Recap: Pirates 3, Yankees 0
**Pirates Draft Prospects: Chase Dollander Has Huge Potential Upside Our second player draft profile for this year’s class.
**World Baseball Classic Recap: Team USA Plays Their First Game Today’s recap/schedule will be posted shortly
**Pirates Prospects Daily: JT Brubaker Continues To Show Swing And Miss Stuff Yesterday’s Daily article
**Pirates DVR: Oneil Cruz and Travis Swaggerty Home Run, Tsung-Che Cheng WBC
Song of the Day
Taking on the Atlanta Braves at home on Sunday afternoon. Game will be televised
Just a little Sunday baseball.
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— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) March 12, 2023
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.
What does winning the WBC really mean? Other than possibly getting young kids to follow their country men and perhaps wanting to play the game, all it seems to do is provide bragging rights.
Looks like a lot of fun. Not counting the U.S., but if you play well and your country does half decent, probably some nice endorsement deals. Yu Chang is likely a hot commodity in Taiwan right now.
It doesn’t seem Priester is in the same class as Strider and Shuster, but it would be uhmm, different to actually see him on the hill once in awhile.
I’m sure I’m in the minority, but I’m not a fan of all the interviews, maybe if they have it in some little square in the corner.
They’re are all the same, the only difference is whether it’s a player, manager, coach or front office. Stock questions and stock answers.
I Really, Really, hate them.
I wonder if the people who broadcast TV ever watch TV themselves or just think of how many different things, they can do just to impress others in the business.
One thing I have learned with these interviews is that the favorite word of athletes is “AWESOME.”
It’s not like they have to kill time, with the clock on duty.
I don’t like them, but I did really enjoy Don Robinson’s interview, they just talked old baseball stories that were entertaining.
Chuck Tanner’s family can’t be happy. Geesh, Robinson’s stories were brutal, he crossed the line on being a disciplinarian. Old school.
We need a manager somewhere in the middle between Tanner and Shelton……this just play and have fun isn’t going to cut it.
Harris home-run was hit at 100mph with a 28 degree angle, somehow Bob wants to sell it as wind aided!
Do you notice every opponents HR is wind aided and every Pirates is not.
sources say Tsung-CheCheng headed to the Royals for Amir Garrett
And the source is …?
Ana Maria herself
Devito was damaged goods the day BC acquired him, with an ulnar nerve problem. I don’t see any history that surgery was required. Maybe it will never be a problem again, only BC and doctors know the likelihood.
Neither Mathias NOR DeVito move MY needle.
They make pills for that!🤣
I think texas got the better player, pirates got a guy who they really should have somewhere in the system. He 28,29 in August who going to get 250 ab’s and probably be meh. Devito has plus movement and could harness it,where their is very little upside to mathais.
Or, Devito could still have no idea where his pitches are going while with Texas. I would be a bit more upset if he was turning 20 or 21 this season and not 25 and was still in A+ last season. The chances of him suddenly turning the light on his control are diminishing now.
Relievers are volatile anyway and even if a guy like Devito doesn’t figure it out till he’s 28 or 29 you still might get one or two useful years out of him. With Mathias that ship has already sailed.
There are a lot of pitchers who never can figure out where the ball is going. Half of what makes their “stuff” so good is no one knows where the ball is going. When the take a little off to gain control, they get very hittable. Best of luck to Devito.
If I could just find one of those old Magic 8 balls that came out in the early 50’s I could help this team out, lol.
Exactly! Does Devito own a Porsche 911 with a quadrophonic Blaupunkt? If he does maybe all he needs is Crash Davis?
Well.. and Annie Savoy. Not sure which was more important!
So, the garter works? Who knew? I coulda been somebody! 🙂
You mean like Mike Williams?
love the site and love the work and maybe it’s just a semantics but ‘positions of strength’ in this case is a failed identification and/or development of a pitching prospect (from a good system) and the ‘help immediate needs’ is 28-plus year old with 128 MLB plate appearances
The Holy Grail for BC is discovering the next Justin Turner. He’s always on a quest to find him. Understand this and you’ll understand this trade. And many others, too.
I don’t see Mathias OR DeVito doing anything. Much ado about nothing, imo.
Let’s be careful with expectations. Without doing a ton of homework, I am pretty confident pitchers taken in the 8th round out of college who remain in ‘good systems – (Braves, Cardinals, Rays??) probably have an extreme failure rate if that is what we want to call it. DeVito was one of many who have some trait that make them some level of a prospect. His likelihood of success is extremely low whether in the Pirates or Braves system.
Doesn’t mean I am defending the Pirates development process but I am not sure this is really a good test case.
It’s a huge stretch to say the Pirates have any strengths. All they do is shuffle flea market items around.
I’m upset. You beat me by 1 hour with that comment.
The biggest issue was launch angle, which averaged 5.2° last year. The power is there, it’s just maximizing on it and getting the ball up in the air.
SO, what has it been so far this preseason? Is he getting a better angle?
in 13 at bats he has 1 triple, 2 home runs, 2 strike outs, and at least 2 fly outs that I can remember. So at most 5 ground balls in 13 at bats.
Maybe, at the very least he is pulling the ball, in the last two years he has looked like a lefty pull hitter.
I tend to agree with the posters so far, but in the big picture I still am not worried about filling what the FO thinks are holes in the roster with what are basically other teams waiver players. Mathias sounds good so I don’t have any anti feelings about him but why? The basis for my angst is what I think is the success model for the Pirates – players perform / succeed at AAA and then get their major league shot. I get that can end when there is a playoff team, but this is not a playoff team yet so let’s keep moving our prospects forward.
My two poster players (I am getting repetitive) are Mitchell and Bae. I acknowledge they may ever be more than spare parts, HOWEVER, they mastered AAA more than many others we seem to be more excited about.
Do we base Bae making the team on 33 at bats last year in MLB or 20 at bats in spring training or a complete season of AAA showing success. I believe he mastered AAA enough that he should be on the roster. All IMO.. but let’s see what we have. Mitchell story is similar as he actually hit pretty good (learning MLB) in his 2nd round of at bats last year.
I agree and believe the pirates will consider AAA more than spring training stats. The games are not the ultimate arbiter in spring training. The process is. If bae and Mitchell are doing the work off the playing field they will make the team. Unless Swaggerty steals a spot since he also put up an above average 108 and 102 WRC+ at AAA the past two seasons. With above average defense. Those three are the bench of the pirates follow the process but I don’t know if they will put both Mitchell and T-Swag on the 26.
Going from AAA to MLB is not a linear normal progression. This is a huge jump because of the MLB quality pitching batters will face for the first time in their careers. Sure, you won’t know until given the opportunity, but Bae does not profile as much of a MLB hitter, just a contact/slap singles hitter.
With a weak arm.
I agree on the AAA-MLB comment, but I think in theory you are supporting my point. We won’t know until he’s given the opportunity – and at this stage in the Pirates growth (IMO not a playoff team yet), I would rather give Bae the opportunity than play Mathias or Owings who I don’t feel really offer much in the long term. Who knows, maybe Mathias is worth more of a shot than Bae.
Bae at 23 is probably better served playing everyday in AAA than getting 1 or 2 starts a week in the big leagues. His wRC+ of 112 in AAA isn’t exactly doing great in AAA. For me Swaggerty defense in center field, and the power he has shown so far, makes it hard not to play him there, and platoon Suwinski in right field.
Mitchell is much harder to find a place for, his wRC+ of 146 in AAA is impressive, but he pretty much has to play right field.
Maybe you just stash Mitchell in AAA for the beginning of 2023, and he becomes your DH in August when BC trades all of his one-year FAs.
Mitchell is a defensive liability in the OF. He needs to hit Errol enough to be a DH and play 1B.
This question is probably for WM, after losing so many pitchers during the minor part of the R5, what does the rotation depth looks like in Altoona, is it gonna be back loaded with guys like Nicholas and perhaps Mlod? I know is only an educated guess, but if you could share.
Poor, unless some guys get forced down from AAA by the numbers game. Lots of MiL depth guys. Scott Randall (Diego Castillo trade), Jeffrey Passantino is still around, Matt Eckelman, the guy who switched to a knuckler, resigned. Omar Cruz is still around, Travis MacGregor is back. They’re obviously scrounging up depth to make up for their R5 bungling.
It makes sense to have a gap in talent, just like Indy was two years ago, this group, the whole group not just pitching is weak, pitching side is only Jones unless someone like Ashcroft finds themselves, position…..Head, Lopez, Sinai…hard to find an MLB starter in this bunch, just bench and depth other than Jones…maybe this is where the next development surprise comes from.
I’m not against trading prospects per se, but how about we make a trade that moves the needle some. How many prospective UIFs does an organization need?
This is a good take for those who are optimists and/or have confidence in the FO, and as someone who is mostly optimistic I can agree with it.
But I also have some doubts and I think the opposite take that this FO and major league coaching staff just isn’t very good at identifying and developing talent can also be supported by moves like this. I like the trade of DeVito for Mathias fine as I almost always like trades of relievers for position players, including liking the Holmes for Castillo and Park trade. But if their ability to identify and develop talent was what we need it to be, then maybe Castillo or Park or Chavis or VanMeter or Evans or Marcano would have made a trade like this one unnecessary.
In any case, I’m glad P2 covers the extremes, from writers who see the FO as having a clear plan that is coming together to writers who think the FO is just arbitrarily throwing “stuff” at the wall to see what sticks. Until they win, I’m in between–I can see logic in what they do but if it had been done particularly well I also think we wouldn’t be coming off of another 100-loss season.
I agree that having the extremes covered is good. But the pot shot comments like the “flea market” one above should be left to the commentariat and not be thrown around day in and day out, over and over and over by staff writers.
It throws off the balance you praise. We don’t see tim making comments like “100 win season coming up in 2023! 40/40 cruzzzzz missle”!!
Tell me you don’t know the Pittsburgh sports market without telling me you don’t know the Pittsburgh sports market 🤣.
Trades have been a bit disappointing, but it is probably fair to list the successes along with the not-so-good. Endy, Suwinski, Contreras, Bednar, Oviedo were via trades, as well as yet to be determined, CSN, Peguero, Nunez, Guiterrez, Moreta, and Holderman.
I was with you until the last sentence. BC was hired to do a tear down. That gives you 100-loss seasons. Can he pull off the rebuild? We will see.
That’s debatable if either BC or BN knew this was a tear-down in Nov. 2019. They were 69-93, costing both Hurdle and Cherington their jobs.
That was my thought, IMO Ben really didn’t care about the major league record until maybe this year and if that results in a playoff team in the somewhat near future then those 100 loss seasons won’t seem as bad.
BC told us this much his “acquire, develop, and deploy” maxim. This was the process and priority. The fans wanted transparency, and it was literally spoon-fed to them.
yeah, I hate the not-trying-to-win team that was put together last year, but I love the first overall draft pick position they are now in. I hope we are done with the tanking.
The tank gives the Pirates a real opportunity to do something good. I can look at the players and see a juggernaut and a bust like Detroit’s build.
An opportunity, yes. But this is the hard part.