Despite their struggles at the Major League level, the Pittsburgh Pirates have one of the strongest farm systems as of late with several of their prospects ranked within the top 100 in all of baseball. The Baseball America webpage recently updated their list on who they deemed to be the top 10 prospects in Pittsburgh’s system with fans very excited to see the future of the Pirates now.
Not only Happy ZiPS projections day, but happy Baseball America Pirates Top 10 Prospect update day!— (@NorthShoreNine) December 1, 2022
Ortiz over Priester? Gonzales down to 8? Solometo still not in top 10? What are your thoughts?
Endy Rodriguez: Catcher
Several publications ranked Endy Rodriguez as one of if not the best catching prospect in baseball. He is one of the best prospects in terms of playing both sides of the ball very well and has incredible explosiveness behind the backstop. His athleticism could see him fair well in other positions like first base and in the outfield, where he has played sparingly, but there is no doubt he is best utilized with a catcher’s mitt in hand.
Termarr Johnson: Second Base
The top pick in Pittsburgh’s 2022 draft was second baseman Termarr Johnson who now has officially completed one season of Minor League play. Johnson offered up only a small sample size of what he can do in his first year out of high school, but did compile 14 hits in 23 games. Defensively Johnson needs to continue to develop and likely isn’t the solution at second base right now. With that being said, he still has plenty of time to grow into that kind of player, and in the mean time, his incredible bat skills are something to keep an eye out for in the future.
Henry Davis: Catcher
Why have one dynamic Minor League catcher, when you can have two? The second being the top pick in the 2021 draft, Henry Davis out of Louisville. Davis has continued to shine since his promotion to Double-A earlier this year and is showing why he was drafted and ranked so highly. Despite struggling with an injury this summer, Davis still produced through 59 games, amassing 56 hits while batting .264 for the season. While his batting numbers are down since joining Altoona, Davis is another bright spot behind the backstop.
Luis Ortiz: Pitcher
Consistency is what the Pirates’ bullpen needs, and perhaps one of the pitchers to do that is right hander Luis Ortiz. Ortiz has been described by some as immaculate, with others saying he clearly has a lot of work to do. Regardless of that, Ortiz was able to see some Major League action this year, starting four games in Pittsburgh. His fastball routinely hits triple digits, his slider is phenomenal and his changeup has come leaps and bounds since his signing in 2018. Ortiz may not be the starter the Pirates are looking for, but he could certainly become a capable reliever.
Quinn Priester: Pitcher
Another pitcher who could see himself fast tracked to the Buccos is Quinn Priester. Following a great start to his career in single and Double-A, Priester had a dominant showing in his Triple-A debut with a six inning shutout. Priester was selected to the 2021 futures game, as well as being assigned to the Arizona Fall League, once again having an impressive showing. Again given the state of the Pirates’ pitching rotation, Priester could definitely see himself in Pittsburgh sooner than later.
Bubba Chandler: Pitcher/ Short Stop
An exciting two way player is what the Pirates got in the third round of the 2021 draft, having to convince (pay) Bubba Chandler to sign with them instead of Clemson where he would’ve likely played baseball and football. That raw athleticism has yielded a pitcher with incredible control and velocity, as well as a short stop with raw power at the plate. Chandler’s ceiling at pitcher is admittedly higher, but Pittsburgh is looking to bring him on slow and have him develop at both positions. Not to mention, fans are going to love that mullet.
Liover Peguero: Shortstop
An acquisition in the Starling Marte trade, Liover Peguero has become one of the brightest prospects for Pittsburgh with his knack for making contact with the ball and aggressive base running savvy. The Dominican Republic native had impressive batting stats through 2022 and has been catching the eye of coaches at practice. Peguero calmly makes big impact plays, and should be a fixture at short for a long time.
Nick Gonzalez: Second Base
The Pirates have been looking to further solidify who will be at second base, and that may come in the form of Nick Gonzalez. One of the best hitters in college baseball at New Mexico State, Gonzalez has super fast hands and has become a rhythm hitter during his time in the minor leagues. He was also one of the best batters in the AFL just a year ago, and looks to correct some of his batting slumps as of late with lower numbers than expected. The batting prowess could see him fast tracked to Pittsburgh, which would fill a vacancy at second, where he has impressed in he defensive development.
Michael Burrows: Pitcher
Dominant would be an appropriate way to describe Mike Burrows time in Greensboro, as the right handed pitcher got off to a fast start following his draft day in 2018. A late round pick, Burrows has come very far and is continuing to develop control and a feel for his changeup. With that being said he has an incredible curve and is building more control with the more time he gets on the mound. Burrows played sparingly in Altoona and Indianapolis this year, but experts project a 2023 promotion.
Thomas Harrington: Pitcher
Pitcher Thomas Harrington has not played any minor league ball yet, but is an interesting project for the Pirates’ organization. As a walk on at Campbell, Harrington climbed the ranks to become an excellent starting pitcher, amassing 111 strikeouts in his 2021 campaign. Pittsburgh made him the highest drafted player out of the program in 2022 with the 36th pick, and the Pirates could use him as a high end reliever if he struggles to find a spot in the starting rotation.
The Pirates certainly have a lot to look forward to with a Minor League group of this depth, with many of them already eyeing promotion in 2023.