No matter what your opinion of the current big league team, Pirates fans should be pretty happy with its current farm system, as well as the guys who work within it.
General manager Ben Cherington certainly is, and he showed his appreciation by leveling up two managers and bringing in a noob with a lot of experience in overseeing young players to guide prospects through the system.
Indianapolis Indians (AAA): In the wake of manager Brian Esposito’s departure, the Pirates named Miguel Perez as the new Indians skipper. Perez managed the Curve last season and is credited with being a solid mentor to players such as Roansy Contreras, Rodolfo Castro, and Oneil Cruz, all of whom put in time in Pittsburgh in 2021. Injuries and some pitching issues meant the Curve didn’t do as well as expected, but players have raved about Miguel’s coaching and leadership. Perez is steadily working his way up, having been Greensboro’s manager in 2019, so he’s a familiar presence for many Pirates farmhands. He’s also bringing his Curve pitching coach Drew Benes with him to Indy.
Altoona Curve (AA): With Perez’s promotion, Kieran Mattison, who managed the Grasshoppers last season, moves up to take his place. Suppose anyone can see the future of the Pirates being on an upswing. In that case, it’s Mattison, who oversaw players such as Quinn Priester, Nick Gonzales, Liover Peguero, and overall first draft pick Henry Davis (briefly). The AA level is critical to a budding major leaguer’s development, for it’s here where the majority of pro players make or break, and to have a manager who’s already worked with advancing prospects there to greet them when they move up is an excellent thing. Considering Mattison’s success at Greensboro, this is one move I’m looking forward to watching in the new season.
Greensboro Grasshoppers (High A): A new face will be at the helm of the Grasshoppers in 2022 in the form of Callix Crabbe, who before now was an assistant hitting coach for the Texas Rangers. He was an instructor at the prestigious IMG Academy in Bradenton, as well as its high school baseball varsity coach, and ran his own instructional camps before taking the Rangers job in 2018. With so much experience working with young baseball talent, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of magic Crabbe can work with the Grasshoppers.
There’ll be more movement to come, but this is an auspicious beginning to the new season.