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Pittsburgh’s prospects lead Pirates charge

The promotions of several key players this season has the Pirates looking better as the youth movement is taking the team by storm.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Pittsburgh Pirates
Catcher Endy Rodriguez is just one of the several young players helping make a positive impact on the team.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past several years, the Pittsburgh Pirates organization has regularly been ranked in the top half of the league in terms of Minor League systems. Now some of the players that held the team in such high regards have made their way to Pittsburgh as the Buccos get younger and younger. While it’s still a small sample size from what could be a successful squad come next year, I’d go as far as to say that the kids are all right. Thank you, Darren Yuvan and Roger Daltrey for letting me use that line.

As someone who is often covering the careers of some of these prospects, I am now thrilled to see that their promotion to the big leagues has largely been paying off. Given the small sample size that it has been, I’m not going to focus so much on stats but more the impact that has taken place, and the impact that I believe will take place next season. A lot of that impact starts with Henry Davis.

This season Davis was the first big name to be promoted from Triple-A Indianapolis on June 19, and following his arrival has been a wave of top Minor League talent. Known for his athleticism, Davis has primarily played right field despite his catching credentials. While not a super natural look at the position, he has made some big time plays, namely a laser in the most recent Philadelphia series in a crucial part of the game.

Davis has been able to get the bats going as well, with five home runs, 16 RBIs, and an impressive 17 walks, as he has been known to go deep when making good contact. The future for Davis seems unclear defensively, but I think he is too athletic to just be stuck in right field.

Jared Triolo was then called up on June 28 as Ke’Bryan Hayes was put on the IL for back problems. While he has not had an overwhelming presence at the plate, Triolo has been versatile defensively when filling in for Hayes and has continued to be flexible with Hayes back in the lineup, seeing some time at short and second.

I don’t know that there’s a permanent place on this team for Triolo after this season, but he is a valued utility guy and should at least be in competition for playing second base next year.

The three-headed monster of Liover Peguero, Quinn Priester and Endy Rodriguez came on July 17 as it became apparent that the Pirates’ organization was fully committed to letting the prospects take over and help shape the team moving forward.

Listed as one of the top prospects in baseball, Rodriguez has been a breath of fresh air at the catcher position, with the thought of Austin Hedges ever playing here long forgotten. A consistent threat at the plate as well as behind it, Rodriguez has slowly but surely been adjusting well to big league pitchers, and the chemistry he appears to have with teammate Quinn Priester is going to pay huge dividends moving forward.

Priester is a guy that I’ve been very excited about for some time now, and I am thrilled he’s finally playing in Pittsburgh. A 2-1 record with an 8.75 ERA is nothing spectacular again given the sample size, but I do think that a full season for Priester will show how talented he is as a bend-but-don’t-break kind of pitcher. Twenty strikeouts in 23 innings pitched is at least encouraging.

This is not Peguero’s first time seeing Major League action, but this could be a sign moving forward that the Pirates intend on keeping him at this level. A utility man no doubt, Peguero is another versatile player in the infield, seeing time at both short and second. Second base is still a huge question mark for 2024, and I think we could see Peguero filling that role.

While he’s been with the team since last season and is slightly farther removed from prospect status, I would like to include Jack Suwinski in this conversation as one of the best young players on the team. While there is still a refinement process that needs to take place, I like the trajectory of Suwinski. A solid outfielder who is more than athletic enough to play centerfield, I think that the day Suwinski can hit for average the whole league will take notice. A .212 average is disgusting, and 125 strikeouts hurts to look at, but 21 home runs puts him in the top 20 of the National League.

This young core that has been developing at the Minor League levels is finally taking shape into a decent lineup. These guys mixed in with established stars like Bryan Reynolds, Hayes, and Oneil Cruz, could be a problem for opposing teams next year, and personally I think there’s something to be excited about.