Pirates Prospects Daily: Whatever Happens, Quitting Won’t Be An Option

All the chips were kind of piled up against the Pittsburgh Pirates after the way the last couple of days unfolded.

Starting shortstop goes down with a fractured ankle on a collision at home plate. Emotions get out of hand briefly, and despite an absolute possibility of letting things get out of hands, they hold tight and sneak away with a 1-0 victory.

Without even really having a moment to collect themselves, they start a series against the defending World Series Champions and take a beating in the first game, before falling behind 2-0 in the second game right off the bat.

Again, they rallied together and were uplifted by one of their young players, with a spark from one of those veterans brought in exactly for that reason.

It was an amazing moment, one wrapped in some nostalgia, as Ji-Hwan Bae mentioned watching Andrew McCutchen‘s walk-off home run, where he leaped into home plate. Bae replicated it.

The season is still young, and so much can happen in the meantime. It will be hard to find the production you were hoping for from Oneil Cruz, but they’ve shown they aren’t going to go out without a fight.

Even if the win total doesn’t end up where you want it, a season full of just being competitive would be a huge step in the right direction.

— After spending almost two full seasons in Single-A Bradenton, Jase Bowen got a late call up to Greensboro to close out 2022. It didn’t go as well, as he struggled to hit the ball in about a months worth of action.

He’s one of the Grasshoppers really jumping out the gate quickly, picking up seven hits in four games early on, including a bases-clearing double Tuesday night. He had four total RBI on the night and also picked up a clutch grab in right field that helped seal the deal for the Hoppers.

He’s got a blend of power and speed that could make him a candidate for a 20-20 type season should he play in Greensboro long enough this year.

–As if there aren’t enough injuries going on in the system right now, Matt Gorski is another one to monitor. He doubled in the first inning, but was lifted from the game after talking to the trainer. 

He missed a good chunk of time to an injury last year, one he got while legging out a triple.

Daily Video Rundown

Tsung-Che Cheng flexed a little pop on Tuesday, leading the game off with a triple, before following that up with his first home run of the season. 


By John Dreker

Pirates won, while four affiliates saw action on Tuesday night. Time to do it again today with an early afternoon game to close out the Houston Astros series.

**Pirates Recap: Keller Backed by Longball A recap of yesterday’s thriller

**Prospect Watch: Altoona, Greensboro Break Out the Bats Yesterday’s minor league recaps

**The Pirates picked up pitcher Eli Villalobos off of waivers yesterday from the Miami Marlins. He has been optioned to Indianapolis.

We knew it was coming, but it didn’t take them long to place Oneil Cruz on the 60-day Injured List.

**The Pirates gave injury updates on JT Brubaker, Jared Triolo, Mike Burrows and Lonnie White Jr, via Director of Sports Medicine Todd Tomczyk.

That link also has some minor roster moves for Indianapolis.

**Anthony Murphy has some early Statcast observations from the Indianapolis Indians after nine games.

**Jeff Reed looked at the match-ups this week around the minors for the four full-season affiliates of the Pirates. The is the first full week for Altoona, Bradenton and Greensboro.

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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If anyone wants to watch all pitches thrown by Solometo, Ashcroft, etc in their fine starts AM has them up on YouTube


real friends share links.


I am not able to share link from YouTube when I use the tablet, but real P2 fans are subscribed to Anthony Murphy YouTube channel!!!!




Off topic, but the pitching depth is really depleting here.

brubaker and burrows looking to be out a while.

Ortiz is the only 40-man guy left standing in Indy. I’m sure they’d eventually call up priester if needed.

but it’s getting thin and the season is quite young. gotta hold up for a while.

b mcferren

Nicolas could go for us


the fact that Nicolas isn’t that far down the totem pole kinda precisely proves my point.

you can like nicolas as a long term prospect but if you thought he could come up this year and have an ERA on the correct side of 5, i think you’re nuts.

b mcferren

I´ll ask my sources if they´ve heard anything about a starting pitcher



Apologize for double posting as I just posted this on the daily Prospects update but curious what the thoughts on Cheng are? Thanks.


it’s kinda funny. losing Cruz emotionally feels insurmountable.

But analytically speaking, he’s probably a 2-4 WAR guy, depending on how much of his step forward in plate decisions was real.

i’m sure castro is something like a 1.5 WAR guy.

let’s just assume cruz is 4. thats 2.5 better than castro over the course of a season. let’s call it 1.5 over the course of Cruz’s injury.

the team is worse, but overall, we shouldnt really be able to see any real difference on a game to game basis. yes every game will have a slightly lower win probability and the lineup wont have the same aesthetic beauty. but it’ll be pretty much invisible on a day to day basis.

on a day to day basis, this can be pretty much the same hard-playing up and coming team and thats what we saw tonight.

now buy some pitching.

Last edited 1 month ago by jaygray007

That seems pretty generous for Castro, especially if he’s rough at short.


Good post. I just am wondering how much defense is going to bite us at SS?

I think for first time in years this team doesn’t at least have enormous gaping holes at many positions(such as 1b with Choi/Santana vs Yoshi/Chavis etc). And I’m not really expecting huge things at 1b but replacement to .5 WAR would be a big upgrade from the -2WAR we got from Yoshi/Chavis etc

Cole Tucker, etc

I even think someone like Mathias will be an upgrade over Vanmeter, Hoy Park etc

I would love to see Endy progress and be ready to step in around July

Starting pitching still a major concern to me.


Lots of fans seem to really underestimate Santana and Choi. Choi in particular. He put up 1.3 WAR in 419 PA last year in a down season. That’s a 2+ WAR pace and he is better than that with his injury fixed. He isn’t Yoshi despite one commenter here making that Freudian slip. Santana put up an even 1 WAR in 506 PA.

So long as Shelton wakes up and doesn’t underplay Choi as he has been and who is the better hitter, we should get way better than 0-.5 WAR out of 1st base.

I simply don’t understand the Choi/Santana low expectations. They are simply not correct expectations.


That’s not what I’m predicting. I’m simply saying even replacement level would be about 2-2.5 WAR better than we got last year.

Santana’s ZIPS projection look aggressive to me. He’s been worth 1.2 fwar the last 3 years combined.

I do think people underestimate Choi. He has been consistently above 1 WAR most years for Tampa outside the pandemic.


Fair enough.


well, the good thing about SS defense is that it’s not like anyone accused Cruz of being Ozzie Smith to begin with.

yes, pitching concerns me too. even if we assume that Hill and VV get their act together, there’s now minimal depth with the injuries of brubaker and burrows.


Agreed on SS. But I dunno… Castro looks meaningfully worse to me than Cruz but I’m not sure if metrics back that up or not.

Would not have guessed Castro has a 117 wrc+ so far this year.


I think Castro is an average major leaguer with significant power upside. You don’t break into the majors at age 21 without some upside, even for the pirates. I think they played him young because they doubted he would reach that ceiling so they weren’t worried about super two. It isn’t their typical style. I’m hoping they were wrong. Bowman made a 2021 “Rookie of the Year” faves card for Castro in 2021 which they tend to only do for legitimate prospects. He has been on a weird path for the pirates development team, has had some tough moments, but now he has a chance to shine.

The sample this year is teeny because Bae has gotten the most time, but he’s walking at an above average pace and if that sticks while his power comes around, he could do a decent poor man’s Cruz imitation.

Last edited 1 month ago by sewer2001

I quoted Bae from his interview in the game thread but people should really watch it, and fortunately it’s part of the pirates.com game story:



They also have the Korean call of the 2 HRs–definitely worth hearing. (Brown needs to up his enthusiasm on his calls :).)


Last night’s heroics sets up the possibility of a 3rd straight series win. When’s the last time the Pirates won 3 straight series?

Surprisingly it happened twice in the 100 loss 2021 season. Most recently in September vs Tigers, Nationals, and Reds.

I may not be the sharpest sword on the battlefield, but even I know if a team keeps stacking up series wins, they will end up with a winning record.

Let’s Go Bucs!

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