Rebuilding a professional sports team is an interesting time. As I mentioned in my intro earlier this week, I also write for the SB Nation’s Houston Rockets site Thedreamshake.com, and this is the first Rockets rebuild in almost a decade. That’s been exciting, because it’s the first time in a long while that the focus was on young players. It’s new and interesting, provided the rebuild doesn’t last long, of course.
Our beloved Pittsburgh Pirates on the other hand, with the exception of four seasons this past decade (2013-2015, 2018) have basically been rebuilding since Sid Bream slid across home plate back in 1992. Focusing on young players is mostly what we’ve been doing for almost 30 years now (25 if you take out winning seasons). It doesn’t hold the same novelty or excitement when rebuild has been the status quo for so long.
It’s a pretty good list, particularly at the top, and here are your top 10 of those 30, at least according to MLB.com
- Ke’Bryan Hayes
- Nick Gonzales
- Quinn Priester
- Oneil Cruz
- Liover Peguero
- Hudson Head
- Tahnaj Thomas
- Brennan Malone
- Travis Swaggerty
- Cody Bolton
You can find the rest of the top 30 at the link above, but I think at the top of this list, the Pirates have some guys I’m really excited about.
Ke’Bryan Hayes has looked fantastic this spring, batting .423 with 4 doubles, a triple, and a homer to go along with 5 RBIs in just 26 at bats. That’s following a .376 average with 5 homers and 11 RBIs in 24 games of action in the big leagues last year.
21-year-old Nick Gonzales, despite a slow start this spring, almost helped lead a Pirates comeback earlier this week against the Tampa Bay Rays, when he went 2-for-3 with 2 RBIs, including a hit in the ninth that got the Pirates within a single run after falling behind huge early. Gonzalez was assigned to the minors earlier this week, which is a good move, but expect to hear more from him in short order.
Quinn Priester was also re-assigned — another good move — but he’s considered one of the Pirates’ top young arms, and the team was extremely excited about him earlier this spring. He allowed one hit, one walk, one balk, and a run in his debut against the Baltimore Orioles this past week, so while it was a nerve-wracking experience, the team has high hopes for him in the future.
Shortstop Oneil Cruz is another of Pittsburgh’s initial cuts, and though the 22-year-old infielder has struggled at the plate this spring, he’s listed as top 50-60 prospect for 2021 and he’s another to keep an eye on as the season progresses, both in the minors and should he get called up.
Liover Peguero barely played (2 at bats) this spring due to a late arrival due to visa issues, and he’s already been sent down to the minors to get some work in, but he hit .364 with Missoula in 2019, and the team is confident in his hitting, but want to see the 20-year-old work some more on his defense. He’ll get that chance in the minors for now.
What do you think of the top 10 list? Top 30? Tell us down below. Better yet, cast a vote for the guy out of the top 5 that you think has the best chance of making it long term.
Which of the top 5 prospects listed has the best chance of making long-term impact?
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