Anthony Solometo and Liover Peguero Led the Pirates System in June

We normally have two features on Pirates Prospects that give a rundown of the farm system. John Dreker provides updates on the Top Performers from the previous period, while Jeff Reed writes a preview looking at the upcoming opponents for each level. Going forward, these two articles will be combined, giving a complete system view to start each week.

This week’s debut article coincides with the start of a new month, which means John will be writing about the best players from the month of June. That includes the Pirates Prospects Pitcher of the Month, Anthony Solometo, and Batter of the Month, Liover Peguero.

– Tim Williams

PITCHER OF THE MONTH: Anthony Solometo

Anthony Solometo got bumped up to Altoona in the middle of June and pitched even better than he did to get him the quick promotion. The 2021 37th overall pick had an 0.90 ERA over 20 innings in June, but his strong stretch dates back two starts in May.

Solometo has allowed two earned runs over 37 innings in his last seven starts combined. He’s holding batters to a .508 OPS, while striking out 40 batters over that time. It’s not like he was doing poorly before that point, but he has been the best pitching prospect in the system for the last six weeks. He’s also doing all of this at 20 years old for the entire season.

Solometo has been helped by improved velocity. He was already doing well at the lower velocity, partially due to his deceptive delivery. He’s also a lefty at the lower levels, so he really just needed to throw strikes with more than one pitch and most young batters have no chance, lefties or righties. The added velocity is the key though, as soft-tossing lefties can get sorted out quickly once they reach Double-A. Solometo is moving up the prospect charts quickly.

– John Dreker


Liover Peguero is repeating Altoona, where he spent the entire 2022 season, except for a two-game stint with the Pirates. He got off to a slow start with a .626 OPS in April, along with the usual errors on easy plays that plague him.

Peguero picked things up a little in May on offense, posting a .787 OPS over 26 games, with 13 extra-base hits and seven steals. His month of June was very impressive. He had a .307/.375/.594 slash line in 112 plate appearances over 24 games. He had 20 runs, eight doubles, seven homers, six steals and a 17.9% strikeout rate.

Peguero’s .803 OPS this season is well above Eastern League average (.727). He has 20 doubles, 11 homers and 19 stolen bases. He also committed just two errors in June, after six in April and five in May. That’s while switching between second base and shortstop. He’s also two years younger than the average player in the league.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see him move up to Indianapolis at some point in the near future.

– John Dreker



LAST MONTH’S BEST… by John Dreker

Miguel Andujar, OF/INF – Andujar received strong consideration for the Batter of the Month, despite his big league experience providing a huge asterisk. He hit .362/.430/.585 in 107 plate appearances, with 19 runs, ten doubles, three homers and 23 RBIs. He has easily been the best hitter for Indianapolis throughout the entire season, but it didn’t translate to success during his big league trial this year.

Nick Gonzalez, INF – Before he got called up to the Pirates, he was hitting .270/.441/.460 over 84 plate appearances for Indianapolis. He had eight extra-base hits and 17 walks. He had solid stats before June started, albeit with a huge strikeout rate that he improved in June.

Jared Triolo, 3B/SS – Before he joined the Pirates for his big league debut, Triolo hit .315/.400/.507 in 85 plate appearances last month. He had nine extra-base hits, 11 walks and he went 7-for-8 in steals. That’s coming from someone whose best tool is defense.

Ryan Vilade, OF – He hit .304/.433/.456 over 97 plate appearances in June, with eight extra-base hits and 18 walks. His .889 OPS was easily his best over the first three months of the season. Vilade is still just 24 years old, so his age is fine for being in Triple-A.

Cam Alldred, LHP – Alldred stepped into the Indianapolis rotation and has pitched well in the role. He finished April with a 2.96 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP over 27.2 innings. The Pirates gave him a brief trial last year. It’s possible that they give him a lefty role at some point this season as well, especially if he continues to pitch well in extended action.

Jared Jones, RHP – Jones had good timing to make this list. His start on July 1st would have knocked him out of consideration. He posted a 3.04 ERA during June, with starts in Altoona and Indianapolis, while doing much better at the lower level. He had 23 strikeouts and a 1.05 WHIP over 26.2 innings for the month. He’s just 21 years old, so it’s impressive that he’s already made three starts in Triple-A.

THE WEEK AHEAD… by Jeff Reed

The Indians will go from facing one NL Central organizational foe in the Louisville Bats, right into facing another. They head home to take on St. Louis Cardinals affiliate Memphis Redbirds. The Redbirds have ten of the Cardinals top 30 prospects, with two of them on the injured list. The leader of the pack is top 100 prospect Masyn Winn. He started off the year slow, but has caught fire recently. RHP Gordon Graceffo and Ivan Herrera were each a top 100 prospect at one point or another. Graceffo has had an up and down season, while Herrera has a near 1.000 OPS.

Opponent Stats

Team OPS: .786 OPS
Rank: 13/20
Team ERA: 4.92
ERA Rank: 7/20

Top Prospects

Player | Position | Pipeline Ranking

  • MASYN WINN | SS | 1
    • MLB Pipeline Top 100: #45
  • IVAN HERRERA | C | 6
  • MOISES GOMEZ | OF | 11
  • CONNOR THOMAS (7-Day IL) | LHP | 14
  • JAKE WALSH | RHP | 21
  • RYAN LOUTOS | RHP | 23
  • GUILLERMO ZUNIGA (7-Day IL) | RHP | 27
  • LUKEN BAKER | 1B | 30


LAST MONTH’S BEST… by John Dreker

Braxton Ashcraft, RHP – He came back this year from Tommy John surgery, which cost him the end of 2021 and all of 2022. He’s already been boosted two levels, while working on short pitch counts due to the time off. Ashcraft posted a 2.20 ERA over 16.1 innings in June, with three walks and 21 strikeouts. He’s an efficient strike-thrower, who works quickly, even with the pitch clock trying to speed things up. It will be interesting to see how high he goes this year with a Rule 5 draft coming up this winter.

Nick Dombkowski, LHP – He posted a 2.04 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP over 17.2 innings last month. The 24-year-old lefty pitched even better in April, but he was hit hard throughout May, so June was a nice bounce back. He was a non-drafted free agent signing just two years ago out of college.

THE WEEK AHEAD… by Jeff Reed

The top prospect and lone top 100 representative for the Erie Seawolves was recently promoted to Triple-A. Colt Keith moves on, but the Detroit Tigers affiliate still carries eleven of the Tigers’ top 30 prospects, with only one player on the injured list. Wilmer Flores headlines the group along with Ty Madden. Flores was among the top 100 prospects, until early season struggles saw him fall off. He has turned it around lately, giving up only seven earned runs in his last seven starts covering 35.1 IP.

Opponent: ERIE (TIGERS)
Opponent Stats

Team OPS: .777 OPS
Rank: 3/12
Team ERA: 4.36
ERA Rank: 7/12

Top Prospects

Player | Position | Pipeline Ranking

  • TY MADDEN | RHP | 5
  • WENCEEL PEREZ | 2B | 8
  • DYLAN SMITH (7-Day IL) | RHP | 15
  • GAGE WORKMAN | SS | 28


LAST MONTH’S BEST… by John Dreker

Jase Bowen, OF –  He had 104 plate appearances for the month, putting up a .264/.375/.506 slash line, which was highlighted by six homers. Bowen had a strong April, followed by a very slow May, which gives him an .803 OPS through the end of June, with 15 homers and 11 steals.

Po-Yu Chen, RHP – Greensboro pitchers always deserve a bit of extra credit due to their home stadium. Chen led the system in innings last month, while posting a 3.34 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 29.2 innings. His 7.31 ERA in April is going to skew his season starts, but he has put up a 2.96 ERA over his last nine starts, so he’s on a nice roll.

THE WEEK AHEAD… by Jeff Reed

The star of the week will be with the Aberdeen Ironbirds visiting Greensboro. 2022 MLB Draft first overall pick Jackson Holliday comes to town with the Baltimore Orioles’ affiliate. He is the #1 prospect on Pipeline, and soon to be with Baseball America as Elly De La Cruz is quickly coming up to graduating. This will be a good matchup for Pirates 2022 college draft picks Thomas Harrington and JP Massey.

Opponent Stats

Team OPS: .696 OPS
Rank: 10/12
Team ERA: 3.72
ERA Rank: 3/12

Top Prospects

Player | Position | Pipeline Ranking

    • MLB Pipeline Top 100: #1
    • Baseball America Top 100: #2
  • MAX WAGNER | 3B | 12
  • SILAS ARDOIN | C | 29


LAST MONTH’S BEST… by John Dreker

Jack Brannigan, 3B – Brannigan hit .247/.396/.520 for the month in 96 plate appearances. He had 20 runs, three doubles, six homers, 14 RBIs, 16 walks and seven steals in eight attempts. That was after he had a .505 OPS in 11 May games, after returning from an injury that cost him five weeks of action.

Shalin Polanco, OF – Polanco hit .300/.343/.567 over 99 plate appearances in June. He finished with 15 runs, six doubles, six homers, 18 RBIs and eight steals in nine attempts. Polanco had a rough April, followed by a strong May, though his strikeouts that month were rough. He improved that slightly in June, while adding 100 points to his slugging percentage. He’s starting to show why the Pirates gave him such a high bonus ($2.35M) three years ago. He’s also playing this entire season at 19 years old.

Enmanuel Terrero, OF – Terrero got off to an amazing start, putting up a .950 OPS in April. He slowed down in May, posting a .686 OPS over 100 plate appearances. He was back to his early season pace in June, hitting .313/.402/.500 over 92 plate appearances. He has 17 extra-base hits and 16 steals this year.

Alessandro Ercolani, RHP – He turned 19 during the season, but Ercolani already looks like a strong prospect on the mound thanks to improved velocity this year, as he’s consistently averaging mid-90s with his fastball. He had a rough April, which got better in May, though his 3.78 ERA hid some issues he had with too many base runners. He continued to improve in June, posting a 2.14 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP and 21 strikeouts in 21 innings.

THE WEEK AHEAD… by Jeff Reed

Since it’s impossible to get away without talking about the Cincinnati Reds as of late, the Bradenton Marauders take on their affiliate the Daytona Tortugas this week. The main name is the same one as all season for the Tortugas with Cam Collier. The Tortugas have gotten off to a blazing start in the Florida State League East division in the second half, where Clearwater is once again leading the West division. If the Marauders are going to want to keep pace, they’ll need to pull out some victories this week.

Opponent Stats

Team OPS: .710 OPS
Rank: 6/10
Team ERA: 4.14
ERA Rank: 4/10

Top Prospects

Player | Position | Pipeline Ranking

  • CAM COLLIER | 3B | 4
    • MLB Pipeline Top 100: #57
    • Baseball America Top 100: #64
  • SAL STEWART | 3B | 8
  • CARLOS JORGE | 2B | 13
  • LOGAN TANNER (Full Season IL) | C | 16
  • LEONARDO BALCAZAR (Full Season IL) | SS | 21


LAST MONTH’S BEST… by John Dreker

Yordany De Los Santos, INF – He was the biggest bonus from the players signed by the Pirates at the start of the 2021-22 international signing period. De Los Santos moved up to the U.S. this year and he’s off to a strong start, with a .356/.420/.509 slash line over 69 plate appearances. He had 14 runs, six doubles, a homer, 14 RBIs and 12 steals in 13 attempts. He turned 18 years old back in February.

Michael Kennedy, LHP – Last year’s fourth round pick is off to a nice start to his pro career, except for some issues with control. He allowed one run on five hits, with 11 walks and 23 strikeouts in 14.2 innings. The lefty caveats mentioned for Solometo apply here. Kennedy is throwing high 80s right now, and not really with good control, but young batters just don’t see good lefties often, so he’s dominating while getting in his work at the right level for him.

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termarr with a three run triple and ercolani cooking in bradenton


Solometo, Jones, Peguero and a prayer


John Dreker writes like a man that watches an enormous amount of minor league ball and knows exactly what he’s looking at.

John Dreker

I’d like to think it helps, but I’m still learning the more I watch. Watching a lot of Low-A ball over the years because of my local team has definitely helped me recognize that the level isn’t what it used to be, which I then “figured out/assumed” that it’s because teams are holding on to tools more than polished low upside guys because of the roster limits. That factor, plus guys are getting pushed to the level quicker because there aren’t stops in between the FCL and Low-A anymore.

Those polished low upside guys made Low-A games bearable to watch on a daily basis. These Bradenton games the last two years have really been rough on both sides. So many mistakes and clueless hitters and wild pitchers. That makes me cringe for next year when they chop 15 more minor league roster spots from each MLB team.

I don’t blame baseball for that way of thinking, but two rosters full of raw tools don’t make for good baseball. If you’ve ever been able to watch GCL/FCL games, you see how bad it can look down there, and just how far away these guys are from the majors.

All of that to say, I still need to be able to adjust my thinking if it’s warranted.


Absolutely. He reminds me of Cal Ripken Jr. Just showing up for work each day and giving it his all. Day after day. No tweaked hammies or strained obliques. Hell, he fought off forearm tightness to write three articles last year. Tough as a coffin nail he is.


Can’t fault Pirate fans for daydreaming about Solometo as our Glavine (yeah i know only 3 starts in AA, age 20 blah blah blah 😆) surrounded by Keller, Jones and — Skenes.

During the discussions on Federal Street this week, there has to be an acknowledgement that Contreras, Ortiz, Priester, Bru, Burrows all have some serious open questions. Keller isnt a FA until 2026 but who is our #2 , or even #3 , if we are going to take it it to the next level? Do we have the budget to land that pitcher, or do we have to continue to roll the dice that the Velasquez’s of the world are our next Quintanas? Is it fair to bank on Solo/Jones/Haringon/Priester , or do you draft a guy with Cole/Strasburg comps to diversify your portfolio with TOR upside?

GMBC’s last place, worst team since 1965 2012 Red Sox won the World Series the very next year finishing top 1 or 2 in all of MLB in BA, OBP and runs. So maybe he sees reliable offense as the key to the promised land and drafts Crews. BUT Ross, Gomes, Drew, Napoli & Victorino were all FA’s signed to complement core players. Even the Pirates have been able to get Corey Dickersons on offense like this in the past for cheap.

Throw in the upside of a middle finger to Boras, I’m with Kiley McDaniel that Skenes is more probable than not . And I’m here for it!

Last edited 2 months ago by Cobra

D’ont forget about Brubaker.


Perfect question for JDreker:

True or False. Solometo will be a better Pittsburgh Pirate from New Jersey than :
(1) Will Pennyfeather?
(2) Vin Mazarro ?
(3) Dale Berra ?
(4) Joe Orsulak?
(5) Charlie Morton ???

Last edited 2 months ago by Cobra

1) god i hope so
2)god i hope so
3) dear lord help us
4) maybe….
5) That would be awesome, as long as he gives better interviews than ground chuck


I forgot Joe Orsulak. Not sure how. But I did.


good old 4-3 groundout Orzulak . . . .


Also looked up Joe Oliver. Dude is 57. I’d like to go to a Pirates reunion with some of the Orsulak types. Chat with the RIcks. Rhoden and Reuschel. Maybe Felix Fermin or Al Pedrique would make an appearance. John Cangelosi is a must though.


CANGY! I was hoping for Benny D and Mike Diaz, but lets not forget my old time favorite RJ REYNOLDS


Almost put RJ. Isn’t that a cigarette company too. Always like a Reynolds on my baseball team

John Dreker

All true, unless you mean career for Morton. Now if you add Dots Miller to that list, it becomes a false. Solometo will never be better than him, so he might as well get used to second place.


John do you own any Dots Miller baseball cards? I would have assumed they were cost prohibitive but not crazy prices on eBay

John Dreker

I own about 30 of his cards. I have three that probably have ten copies total known between them, a 1910 Orange Border, a 1911 Baseball Bats and a 1912 JK Candy, but the most expensive one is a specific back from the T206 set. It’s one of two known from the most popular vintage set out there. His T206 card isn’t rare, but finding it with a Broadleaf ad back is almost impossible. I basically paid nothing for it because it was part of a 18-card lot and I sold one card from the lot for more than the entire cost of the lot.


Pretty amazing Wiki write up for Dots:


Dang. Lost Dots way too soon. Interesting he was renowned for his soccer skills.

John Dreker

Kearny is Soccertown USA!


Also, awesome article, love the format!


Hoping kennedy gets the solometo velo bump over the next year or two so he becomes a legitimate prospect

John Dreker

Control will also have to be part of that improvement. He’s got time though, he was just two days short of being a full year younger than Solometo when they both got drafted. So even though he was one year behind him in school, he was two years behind in age. The big difference going the other way is the frames. Solometo looked like someone who could add with age. Kennedy doesn’t have that same type of projection.


Hopefully with Kennedy the contol comes with an uptick in velocity. A lefty can be a mid-rotation asset with a low 90’s fastball and a couple of above average offspeed pitches with good command. I think a 3 starter is Kennedy’s ceiling, pretty good for such a young guy. Still a long way to go but it’s encouraging other than the walks so far.
Quick question, I haven’t seen him pitch. Is he working more on control or command, with a lot of strikeouts and walks and very few hits against, is he missing in the area his going for or just wild?

John Dreker

I’ve only seen partial video from one start, but Wilbur can tell you more. As I said in the article, lefties don’t need much to dominate the lower levels. I was the only lefty pitcher in three straight years of playing baseball in my town’s little league. First time I faced a lefty was actually my cousin and it was tough getting used to it. He did well throwing 20 MPH slower than me. These lower level guys are seeing lefty breaking balls for strikes for the first time in their life. Lefties get sorted out in AA, so I never put much into their lower level stats unless I see a reason from their pitches.


Totally agree with what you said earlier. First lefty I ever faced in little league ended up pitching in the majors, he also played shortstop in little league. (Tony Saunders) Always a shame how his career ended. I couldn’t touch a thing he threw but no one else could either back then.

John Dreker

I think Rinku Singh is the best example of a lefty in Low-A ball. He had a 3.00 ERA over 72 innings with West Virginia in 2012. I say this neither as a brag nor a compliment. He wasn’t any better at pitching than I was at 17. I saw him three times that year, it was the least impressive pitcher I’ve seen in the minors. A scout for the Marlins stopped taking notes on him. That just doesn’t happen, they update notes on everyone. I saw him walking away when Singh came on and said aren’t you gonna watch him, he just said I’ve seen him, he’s just a sideshow. Yet Singh with a fastball that touched 85 and a hanging curveball put up a 3.00 ERA in regular work. The reason was that he was around home plate. (I have to add that what Singh did to get that far from where he started was still impressive)

They had another lefty named Mike Jefferson who did serviceable work with an 86-87 MPH fastball and that’s about it.

I saw Colton Cain blow away guys sitting 88-90 MPH. They were just getting overpowered, even late when he dropped down to 86-87 MPH.

There are so many examples of lefties doing well that I saw, and then they went nowhere, that it eventually clicked.

I also saw Cole Hamels pitch six times in Low-A and he was unlike anything I saw at any level of the minors from a lefty or righty, but I’m guessing being a lefty helped him even more.

Guys would miss his changeup by a ridiculous amount and they had no chance vs his fastball. I saw back-to-back starts with a combined total of one batter making solid contact, and it was a fastball he was very late on that was lined into the crowd above the dugout. I’m almost positive that there wasn’t a ball that left the infield in either start.

Last edited 2 months ago by John Dreker
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