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Minors Matters: Pirates Minor League report - 5/17/21

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Here’s what’s going on in the Minor Leagues for the Buccos

MLB: MAR 23 Spring Training - Twins at Pirates Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As you may already know, the top four levels of minor league baseball are playing six-game series this season, with Monday being the only scheduled off day. So let’s review how the top prospects for the Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB Pipeline rankings are given) are doing after two weeks of play:

No. 1 - Ke’Bryan Hayes

Hayes, working his way back from a wrist injury he sustained during the first week of the season, is expected to begin a minor league rehab stint soon, but no specific date has been given. He’s currently on the 60-day injured list and is not expected back until sometime in June.

No. 2 - Nick Gonzales

Gonzales is hitting .302/.943 at High-A Greensboro. He has homered twice and driven in five runs in 43 at-bats. Teammate Aaron Shackelford, a first baseman who is not ranked among the Pirates’ Top 30 prospects according to MLB Pipeline, has four homers and driven in 10 in 37 at-bats.

No. 3 - Quinn Priester

Priester, the club’s No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft and No. 18 overall, is 0-2 at High-A Greensboro. In seven innings over his two starts, he’s given up eight hits and six earned runs, striking out seven and walking five.

No. 4 - Oneil Cruz

OnCruz is off to a .257/.840 start in his first eight games with Double-A Altoona. Five of Cruz’s nine hits have gone for extra bases, including two home runs. He has eight RBIs and has struck out 14 times in 35 at-bats.

No. 5 - Liover Peguero

Peguero had to miss several games with a minor knee issue, but in 22 at-bats for High-A Greensboro, the right-handed hitting shortstop is hitting .364/.1.098 with two homers and four RBIs.

No. 6 - Hudson Head

Head, the young outfielder who came over from the San Diego Padres in the Joe Musgrove trade, has found Low-A pitching difficult to solve; he is hitting just .195/.478 with no extra-base hits and two RBIs at Bradenton. He has struck out 17 times in 41 at-bats.

No. 7 - Tahnaj Thomas

Thomas has yet to record a decision for High-A Greensboro, but he has given up just three hits while striking out 15 and walking four in seven innings. In his most recent start, which came Thursday, he pitched four scoreless innings, giving up two hits and walking three while striking out eight.

No. 8 - Brennan Malone

Malone made his first appearance of the season Sunday for Bradenton, as he pitched one inning in relief. The 20-year-old right-hander, who came over from Arizona with Peguero in the Starling Marte trade, walked one and hit a batter but did not allow a hit.

No. 9 - Travis Swaggerty

Swaggerty has shown some pop, hitting three home runs in his first 40 at-bats, but he’s lugging around a .200 batting average to go with his .744 OPS. Teammate Cole Tucker, who has lost his prospect status, continues to struggle, as he’s hitting just .186 in 43 at-bats.

No. 10 - Cody Bolton

Bolton underwent knee surgery last week and is expected to be sidelined from four to six months.

No. 11 - Carmen Mlodzinksi

Mlodzinski, chosen 31st overall in the 2020 June draft out of the University of South Carolina, has made two starts for Greensboro. In 6 1/3 innings, the right-hander has posted a 1.42 ERA, striking out 10, walking five and allowing four hits.

No. 12 - Miguel Yajure

Yajure was impressive in his most recent start for the Pirates, holding the Giants scoreless and allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out four in five innings Friday. He was sent back to Triple-A afterward, but likely will be given the occasional start moving forward if he continues to progress well at Indianapolis.

No. 13 - Eddy Yean

Yean had a rough first outing at Bradenton; the soon-to-be 20-year-old right-hander recorded just one out and allowed two hits – one of which was a home run — and three walks. He was charged with five earned runs. His last two outings have been much better; in 4 2/3 scoreless innings combined he has allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out two.

No. 14 - Ji-hwan Bae

Middle infielder Bae has just nine hits in 45 at-bats for Altoona, although he has picked it up recently, going 6-for-20.

No. 15 - Mason Martin

First baseman Martin is hitting .333/1.041 for Altoona, and he’s tied for the team lead in home runs with two. He’s driven in nine runs and also has struck out 14 times in 39 at-bats.

No. 16 - Jared Oliva

Oliva, an outfielder who is currently sidelined with an oblique strain. He is expected to play at Indianapolis after he recovers. Not sure how long he’ll be out; Kevin Gorman of the Trib reported on May 6 that he was expected to return in four to six weeks.

No. 17 - Jared Jones

Jones has been assigned to the Pirates’ rookie-level club in the Gulf Coast League, which hasn’t yet started its season.

No. 18 - Cal Mitchell

Mitchell, an outfielder, is hitting .240/.800 at Altoona with a home run and four RBIs.

No. 19 - Sammy Siani

Outfielder Siani is hitting just .182 at Low-A Bradenton, as he has just six hits in 33 at-bats. However, he has homered twice and driven in a team-high nine runs.

No. 20 - Roansy Contreras

Contreras has been perhaps the brightest overall prospect thus far, as he’s allowed only five hits while striking out 22 and walking just two in 11 innings at Altoona. The 21-year-old right-hander, like Yajure, was part of the Jameson Taillon trade.

No. 21 - Nick Garcia

Garcia, last year’s No. 3 draft pick, is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA over six innings of work at Bradenton. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound right-hander has struck out five in his limited duty thus far.

No. 22 - Braxton Ashcraft

Ashcraft has a 1.29 ERA in seven innings over two starts for Greensboro. He has allowed just three hits and an earned run, striking out seven and walking two. The 21-year-old right-hander was the Pirates’ No. 2 pick in the 2018 June draft.

No. 23 - Wil Crowe

Crowe had a respectable outing for the Pirates in the series against the Giants, as he worked five innings in a 3-1 loss, giving up six hits and three earned runs while striking out five and walking one. So far on the season he is 0-2 with a 4.35 ERA in five appearances, four of which were starts. In 20 2/3 innings, he’s given up 18 hits and 10 earned runs, walking 10 and striking out 17.

No. 24 - Omar Cruz

Cruz is 0-1 after two starts at Greensboro. The 6-foot, 200-pound left-hander, who came from San Diego in the Musgrove trade, has allowed just one hit and struck out 14 in six innings but he’s also walked seven and given up four earned runs.

No. 25 - Jose Soriano

Soriano, the top pick in this year’s Rule 5 draft, continues to rehab from Tommy John surgery but he’s expected to start a minor league assignment within the next week or so. Once he’s deemed healthy, he’ll need to remain on the major league roster for the rest of the season or the Bucs would need to offer him back to the Angels for $50,000.

No. 26 - Canaan Smith-Njigba

Outfielder Smith-Njigba has shown a solid eye at the plate at Altoona, walking seven times and striking out seven times. Part of the Taillon trade, he’s started out 9 for 30 with two homers and nine RBIs.

No. 27 - Endy Rodriguez

Rodriguez remains hot on the young season, as the young catching prospect is batting .325/.963 in 40 at-bats for Bradenton. He has two home runs and seven RBIs.

No. 28 - Max Kranick

Kranick is 1-0 with a 5.06 ERA at Altoona. In two starts over 10 2/3 innings, the 23-year-old right-hander has allowed 11 hits and six earned runs, striking out eight and walking just one.

No. 29 - Michael Burrows

Burrows has looked impressive thus far in his two starts for Greensboro, allowing just one hit and no runs and walking one while striking out 15 in eight innings. The 6-2, 183-pound right-hander won’t turn 22 until November.

No. 30 - Alexander Mojica

Mojica is at .242/.783 in 33 at-bats for Bradenton. He has two homers and six RBIs.

Others

Shortstop Maikol Escotto, the last piece in the Taillon trade, is hitting .472/.939 with five RBIs in 30 at-bats at Bradenton.