Pirates Prospects Daily: Tucupita Marcano Flashing Glove, Power In Early Season

The Indianapolis Indians haven’t gotten off to the best of starts. With their loss on Tuesday, not only are they 0-4, but they’ve also been outscored 35-12 in those games.

Quinn Priester struggled in his first outing of the season, and the strong pitching outings have been few and far in-between so far.

Even the offense has struggled to score runs, with the top of the order struggling to put the ball into play.

One of the strong points has been the play of Tucupita Marcano, who picked up two more hits Tuesday, including his first home run of the season. Acquired in the Adam Frazier trade, versatility has been key for Marcano, who has already logged games at second, third and shortstop, playing strong defense at each.

The difference has been his hitting. He’s hit well before, but never with a lot of power. This year he’s been one of the more reliable hitters when it comes to extra-bases, as he’s already logged two doubles and a home run.

Marcano is in the middle of a very thick middle infield picture, and it’s been defense that helped him stand out last year. Adding a little power would really help in getting him another look in the majors.

Ji-Hwan Bae, Starting Center Fielder?

It’s easy to overreact to a specific play, especially over the course of 162 games. So seeing that play Ji-Hwan Bae made in center field it would be easy to immediately want to throw him out there on an everyday basis.

Even though he doesn’t have the most experience playing the outfield, he showed just how much his natural athleticism can make up for that. It was a big play in a big spot. Pair that with his two-run home run he launched the other way over the Green Monster, and you can see why there’s plenty to be excited about with him.

Bae will probably get an extended look in the outfield at some point this season, but that also depends on how Jack Suwinski and Rodolfo Castro perform. Both have had their struggles recently, especially with strikeouts, opening the door for Bae to play everyday. 

Even Castro keeps struggling they can rotate through some of those outfielders they have in the minors to see if they can find an answer out there while Bae plays second base.

Tuesday night shows they have a pretty good backup plan though.

Pirates Prospects Daily

By John Dreker

Pirates moved above .500 with a win on Tuesday. They play again this afternoon. We will post a Live Discussion article after the lineups become available. We had an article drop yesterday. Including the Live Discussion, we had ten articles posted yesterday. See links below.

**Pirates Recap: Reynolds Stays Hot, A Happy Ro-Day and Bae

**Prospect Watch: Quinn Priester Hammered in First Start A look at Quinn Priester’s opener

**Pirates Place Austin Hedges on Injured List; Add Tyler Heineman to 40-Man Roster Some 40-man roster moves before yesterday’s game

**Williams: I’ve Got It

**First Pitch: What is SPEED?

**Five Sleepers to Follow in the Pittsburgh Pirates System in 2023

**Cody Bolton Amped-Up For Move to the Bullpen

**Pirates Prospects Daily: The Minor League Season Begins This Week

**Pirates DVR: Canaan Smith-Njigba, JP Massey, Tres Gonzalez

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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It’s easy to overreact to a specific play, especially over the course of 162 games. So seeing that play Ji-Hwan Bae made in center field it would be easy to immediately want to throw him out there on an everyday basis.

It isn’t an overreaction.

The measure of an outfielder is when he goes up against the wall. Bae measures up. He has the wheels to get there, the guts to stay with it, and the glove to complete the catch.


I don’t think he has a good enough arm to be a permanent CF.

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My prior on Bae has been that he’s a more athletic version of Josh Harrison in the sense that he’s going to make a manager play him every day and find a spot for him.

I’d note that without Swaggerty on the 26-man roster, Bae is athletically the closest thing to a CF on the team. Suwinksi can play a decent CF, but he’s not going to ever make splash plays like Bae can.

As for his arm. We might as well see what the kid has. I’m open to the possibility he won’t last a full-time CF, but I think absent Swaggerty on the roster they might as well see what they have.

After Swaggerty, the next real CF in the system is who? Like Braylon Bishop? It’s not a position of strength so let’s see how far Bae’s athleticism can take him.


Swaggs and Gonzo were the best college hitters when drafted and since signing they have not shown much. Is it bad drafting, evaluation or development?


Most of Shelton’s bench moves and bullpen moves have worked out well, which goes against the narrative here. If it is a close game today then the bullpen usage may be a bit tricky, since Moreta, Holderman and Bednar have all thrown Monday and Tuesday night.


I like managing to win the game at hand instead of playing for tomorrow, but one could make the case that with a 3-run lead they could have held off on using Bednar or Holderman until today. When Holderman came in, the Pirates, as estimated by FG, had a 91% chance of winning. By the time Bednar came in, it was higher than 95% (in contrast, on Monday when Bednar came in we only had a 79% chance of winning with the 1-run lead). Is it the best use of your closer when you’re already 95% likely to win? I don’t know but it bugs me that there is such a big difference in how a 4-run game and a 3-run game are managed.


Another way to think about this–the difference in win percentage when entering the 9th with a 1-run lead vs. a 3-run lead is about 16% (79% vs. 95%). while the difference between a 3-run lead and a 4-run lead is about 1%. Yet the first two scenarios are managed in exactly the same way whereas the last two are managed very differently.

This isn’t attacking Shelton because almost all managers handle things this way due to the save. But in a situation like last night where you’re essentially “burning” your closer in a game you’re almost certain to win, maybe the smart move would have been to try and save him for today. Of course then the question would have been who would have closed? Underwood had pitched two days in a row so we’d be looking at Crowe or De Jong and I don’t know that I’d trust either in that situation.


interesting thoughts on it, but I think you also have to factor in that the 95% win rate is based on bringing in your best relievers.


Do we have any reason to believe Marcano cannot play above average MLB shortstop? I just ask because as a shortstop, he could be a valuable trade chip at some point in the future. It doesn’t make any sense to give Owings reps that a legit prospect could use. I would say the same thing if Castro was in Indianapolis, which is a flip I could see happening.

Last edited 1 month ago by Born4rf

One of my all time favorite McCartney songs!


Sorry but my 13year old self has to go with Magneto & Titanium Man


I love that whole LP AND that song. He didn’t know we were the law!


The group at AAA still have their heads in ST. But, there are some positives – Marcano has already been mentioned, and if he continues on this pace he will be a strong trade piece.

Endy and Nunez are struggling, but making contact – Endy 2K/1BB and Nunez 1K/0BB. Where we could see a problem is in the numbers of Gonzales 8K/1BB and Swagg’s 7K/1BB. Mitchell only has one hit, but 3K/3BB, and Chavez Young, 2 hits in 8 AB, a triple, and 0K/0BB


They need to play Marcano every day at shortstop in INDY. Nobody trades for on on-base hitting second baseman. Well, except for the Pirates.

Last edited 1 month ago by Born4rf

The Dodgers used to be great at grooming players, so they would look good for trade. It’s an art.


I honestly don’t think Marcano will bring much back.

I knew Gonzo was still K’ing a lot but was unaware of Swaggerty’s struggles. Is Bae our new CFer? He looked good last night.

Last edited 1 month ago by leefieux

Considering the Pirates have received virtually zero production from any of the veterans signed in FA this winter, to be over .500 at this point is encouraging.


Santana and Choi have looked fine, McCutchen has looked very good and his stats are way above virtually zero


Cutch has a great OBP and his OF defense has been better than expected. But can’t have a middle of the lineup batter with a slugging % in the 2’s.


c’mon, you can’t just pick one stat after 5 games, when stuff like the OPS, K rate, and the eye-test all look fine. Cutch went 2-4 today, Santana came up big today both in the field and at the plate with a homer and double.


Santana was pretty much chased out of Philly based on his April


It’s only 5 games. April starts are always over magnified.


Gotta give the Caribbean players until May, we don’t like the cold!!!

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