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Baseball America lists Oneil Cruz as Pirates’ top prospect in latest ranking

Henry Davis, Nick Gonzales round out top three.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball America released its annual rankings for prospects among MLB teams, and while the Pittsburgh Pirates had plenty of names worthy of being the list, those ranked come as no surprise to fans.

Shortstop Oneil Cruz comes in at No. 1 after a standout season throughout the Pirates’ minor league system. In Altoona, Cruz slashed .292/.346/.592 through 62 games with 12 home runs and 40 RBI.

After he was promoted to Indianapolis in September, Cruz continued his success by posting a .524 batting average with five home runs through six games, earning him a promotion to the MLB for the final few games of the regular season.

In that short time with the Pirates, Cruz displayed his power by hitting his first career home run.

Given his quick impact on the Pirates in such a short amount of time, Cruz has earned the No. 1 spot for the Pirates.

Coming in at No. 2 is 2021 first overall pick Henry Davis, who also quickly made an impact in the Pirates’ farm system last season.

After playing just two games with the Pirates’ FGC-Black team, the bare-handed batter was promoted to High-A Greensboro, where he collected five hits in 19 at-bats, with two of them going for home runs. Unfortunately, Davis’s season would come to an end shortly after the promotion, as he fell victim to a season-ending oblique injury in August.

Despite the injury, Davis proved that his ability is worth a No. 2 ranking.

Nick Gonzales comes in at No. 3 on the ranking chart.

One could narrow this down to his performance during the Arizona Fall League, where he earned “Fall Star” honors, but Gonzales excelled way before his stint with the Peoria Javelinas.

After missing some time due to injury in the early part of the season, Gonzales slashed .302/.385/.565 with a .950 OPS. This includes an above average BABIP of .388.

If Gonzales brings his performance from this season into 2022, he will be fast-tracked throughout the Pirates’ farm system like Oneil Cruz.

The first pitcher to appear on the rankings is right-handed hurler Roansy Contreras, who takes the No. 4 spot.

Similar to Cruz, Contreras gave fans a sneak peak of the future by appearing in the MLB after a strong season in Altoona and Indianapolis.

Contreras appeared in 12 games with the Curve and posted a 3-2 record with a 2.65 ERA, 76 strikeouts and a career-high opponent batting average of .185. After he gave up one run in his only start with Indianapolis, he was promoted to the Pirates on Oct. 5, where he didn’t allow a run and struck out four hitters in his debut.

Expect to see Contreras in the MLB next season.

Shortstop Liover Peguero comes in at No. 5 after an impressive season that aided the Greensboro Grasshoppers to an appearance in the High-A East Championship series.

Peguero earned High-A East Player of the Week honors in August and posted a season line of .270/.332/.444. Defensively, he posted a .934 fielding percentage in more than 700 innings as the Grasshoppers’ shortstop.

Rounding out the Pirates’ Top 10 are:

6. RHP Quinn Priester (3)
7. C Endy Rodriguez (17)
8. RHP Michael Burrows (10)
9. RHP Jared Jones (12)
10. RHP Carmen Mlodzinski (8)

Two prospects fell out of the Top 10 ranking. Infielder Tucapita Marcano, who was the seventh-ranked prospect after being acquired in the Adam Frazier trade in July, and outfielder Hudson Head, who held the nine spot.