The Pittsburgh Pirates’ Minor League affiliates have a lot of young talent that give fans a reason to be excited. Prospects1500 ranked the top 50 prospects in the Pirates’ system ahead of the 2023 season, and there is a lot of notable names that should standout for diehard and casual fans alike.
The list was broken down into five tiers based on how the players in that tier are projected to perform at the next level. Tier one, while not extensive, was very top heavy with two great prospects in Termarr Johnson and Endy Rodriguez.
Johnson started what should be a fast track to the majors in Bradenton last year and impressed to say the least. The 18-year old infielder looks and plays like a number one overall pick and should continue to do so this year.
Rodriguez shot up a lot of lists last season as he continued to get better and better, and one would be hard pressed to find a better batter in the closing months of 2022. A strong catcher, versatile athlete and great batter, Rodriguez needs to be in Pittsburgh as soon as possible.
Tier two is where a lot of familiar names reside for the Pirates of the future. Henry Davis, Quinn Priester and Nick Gonzales headline this group as solid contributors with above average expectations in the majors. It should be interesting to see when these players get the call as Priester and Davis finished in triple-A last year, with all three prospects also participating in the Arizona Fall League. I have been on the Quinn Priester bandwagon for a while now, and I cannot wait to see him the starting pitchers lineup as a Pirate.
As the list moves on, we see a lot of guys in the third tier, as players with average expectations to get to the Majors and be solid contributors. There are several players who saw the Majors last year with mixed results and will likely not start the season there. Ji Hwan Bae, Luis Ortiz and Liover Peguero all played in the Majors sparingly late in the year, with all three turning in mixed results.
Fan favorite Bubba Chandler turned in an impressive stat sheet with Bradenton last season and is showing positive signs of development. Likely not a call up candidate this season but certainly someone to look forward to in the next two or three seasons, especially if Pirates’ pitchers continue to struggle on the mound.
The fourth and fifth tiers showcase a lot of players of interest, with most at the moment being projected as having average chances of making it to the show. With that being said, there are several players worth watching as the season goes on through the dog days of Summer.
24-year old Jared Triolo could be a future lead off hitter with a high OBP and steals the bases at an impressive rate. Malcolm Nunez also possesses a high OBP and just 21-years of age in triple-A, he could be low ceiling contributor sooner rather than later. Michael Kennedy was drafted straight out of high school, and while still raw, is a confident pitcher who should see a lot of development in frame and mechanics this season.
Rounding out the list are the tier five players, who have an outside chance of making the team, but still notable. Tahnaj Thomas was much higher on previous listings, but has failed to find the consistency needed to be one of the top prospects. However, the book is no where near finished on him, and still has time to improve. International signings Raymond Mola and Jun-Seok Shim headline this group as some players that are going to be very exciting to watch in the coming years.
The Pirates have a lot of depth in minor league hopefuls, and more than a few could be seeing Pittsburgh very soon. Make sure you check out the full list here!