Organization Reports


2022 Organization Report: Pittsburgh Pirates

by Jeremy Deloney

Organization Grades

Hitting: A- ... Pitching: C+ ... Top-end Talent: B ... Depth: B ... Overall: B

Minor League Affiliates

Triple-A: Indianapolis (AAA East)
Double-A: Altoona (AA Northeast)
High-A: Greensboro (A+ East)
Low-A: Bradenton (A Southeast)
Rookie: DSL Pirates (Dominican Summer League)
Rookie: FCL Pirates (Florida Complex League)

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1. Oneil Cruz (SS) ... 6-7, 210 ... L/R ... 23 ... 2015 FA (DR)
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2021Altoona (AA_NE)250.292/.346/.5367740.3112/18
2021Indianapolis (AAA_East)21.524/.655/1.28628761.605/1
2021Pittsburgh (NL)9.333/.333/.6670560.001/0
2022Indianapolis Indians (IL2)211.232/.336/.42212730.549/11
2022Pittsburgh Pirates (NL)331.233/.294/.4508620.2217/11
Comments: Dazzling, tall athlete who reached majors despite missed time. Set career highs in HR and SB while proving ability to stick at SS. Possesses elite power to all fields, though long arms and swing can be exploited. Tools are explosive, particularly arm strength. Makes very loud contact and runs bases aggressively with long strides. Incredible upside.

Development Path: The Pirates are insistent that Cruz can be a full-time shortstop and he'll have a very strong chance to win the starting job in spring training. He was quite impressive at both Double-A and Triple-A and could still benefit from more seasoning. But the time may be right to hand the keys to him going forward.

Fantasy Impact: Few prospects can match the underlying skills that Cruz possesses and he could be among the top fantasy options in any format if he realizes his vast potential. With 30+ HR power and a chance to hit .290+ with 15+ SB, he could become an early round candidate as soon as 2023.

Upside Grade: 9B

2. Henry Davis (C) ... 6-2, 195 ... R/R ... 22 ... 2021 (1) Louisville
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2021Louisville (ACC)184.370/.465/.66314871.2915/10
2022FCL Pirates Black (FCL)3.000/.250/.0000670.000/0
2022Bradenton Marauders (FSL2)11.364/.467/.7278820.501/1
2022Greensboro Grasshoppers (SAL2)82.341/.450/.5859780.445/5
2022Altoona Curve (East2)116.207/.324/.3799740.404/3
Comments: 1st overall pick with chance to impact game in multiple ways. Owns cannon arm with solid accuracy, though needs to improve overall receiving skills. Understands strike zone and recognizes spin in order to put bat to ball. Athleticism enhances swing and should hit for both power and BA. Works deep counts and can hit breaking balls.

Development Path: The development of catchers is difficult to project. On the one hand, Davis has the offensive skills to produce at Double-A. On the other hand, his glovework needs attention and that could be best served in the lower minors. The likely spot for him is Double-A so he can work with more advanced pitchers.

Fantasy Impact: Davis could be a significant fantasy contributor in all categories with the exception of SB. He could hit for a high BA along with a very high OBP and 30+ HR. That would make him among the most attractive catcher options in all of baseball from a fantasy perspective.

Upside Grade: 9C

3. Nick Gonzales (2B) ... 5-10, 190 ... R/R ... 22 ... 2020 (1) New Mexico State
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2020New Mexico State (WAC)58.448/.610/1.15527832.1012/4
2021Greensboro (A1_East)324.302/.385/.56511690.4018/7
2022FCL Pirates Black (FCL)7.429/.429/.8570860.000/1
2022Bradenton Marauders (FSL2)3.000/.250/.00025330.500/0
2022Altoona Curve (East2)259.263/.383/.42914650.487/5
Comments: Natural hitter who makes easy contact with consistent swing mechanics and ability to drive ball to all fields. Offers solid-average power, but is more about line drives at present. Destroys LHP and rarely gets beaten with velocity. Runs well with keen baserunning instincts, but not a burner on base. Limited quickness will keep him at 2B in future.

Development Path: Gonzales will very likely head to Double-A to join a solid everyday lineup at that level. The Pirates are hoping he can improve his glovework at 2B while proving that his power is legitimate. Given the glut of middle infield options in the system, he could get a shot at big league time by midseason.

Fantasy Impact: He projects as an offensive-oriented 2B and should hit for a high to very high BA with at least average power. He didn't steal many bases in his first pro season, but has 10+ SB potential. His stat line should make him among the top fantasy 2B if he can reach his peak.

Upside Grade: 8B

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4. Quinn Priester (RHP) ... 6-3, 195 ... 21 ... 2019 (1) HS (IL)
2021Greensboro (A1_East)
2022Bradenton Marauders (FSL2)
2022Greensboro Grasshoppers (SAL2)2.216.872.6253.410.13.0.429
2022Altoona Curve (East2)75.12.871.1952.
2022Indianapolis Indians (IL2)9.13.861.2866.
Comments: Young, consistent SP who led league in ERA. All pitches grade as average or better and shows athletic, repeatable delivery to throw quality strikes. K rate could increase with better sequencing and produces high groundball rates. Deceptive and smart pitcher who changes speeds well. Benefits from high spin rates.

Development Path: Priester seemingly mastered High-A and he'll take the next step to Double-A. He is savvy enough to succeed against older hitters and he'll need to focus on efficiency and mixing his pitches more effectively.

Fantasy Impact: He has a deep repertoire, quality velocity and swing-and-miss offerings. Put them all together and he could get to a #2 starter if he continues to polish his skills. His strikeout rate, while strong, could get even better which would only elevate his fantasy impact.

Upside Grade: 9D

5. Roansy Contreras (RHP) ... 6-0, 175 ... 22 ... 2016 FA (DR)
2021Altoona (AA_NE)54.12.650.9022.
2021Indianapolis (AAA_East)3.22.451.3642.514.75.9.267
2021Pittsburgh (NL)
2022Indianapolis Indians (IL2)
2022Pittsburgh Pirates (NL)95.03.791.2743.
Comments: Breakout prospect who bypassed High-A and reached majors after mid-season forearm strain. Saw huge increase in K rate as all pitches got crisper. Produces high spin rate with plus FB and CU has evolved into best secondary pitch. Can vary velocity with breaking balls and exhibits good feel. Could scrap sub-par SL.

Development Path: After his late September major league debut, Contreras should compete for a starting job in spring training. If not, he'll head to Triple-A to front the rotation. His stock could continue to rise if he improves his slider, if he decides to keep it in his repertoire.

Fantasy Impact: Contreras should make quite an impact within the next few years as potentially a #3 starter. He has high strikeout ability and his low walk rate could lead to very impressive ERA and WHIP.

Upside Grade: 8C

6. Liover Peguero (SS) ... 6-1, 160 ... R/R ... 21 ... 2017 FA (DR)
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2019Missoula (Pio)143.364/.410/.5598760.355/8
2019Hillsboro (Nwst)84.262/.333/.3579800.470/3
2021Greensboro (A1_East)374.270/.332/.4448720.3114/28
2022Altoona Curve (East2)483.259/.305/.3876770.2610/28
2022Pittsburgh Pirates (NL)3.333/.500/.33325330.500/0
Comments: Emerging INF who set easy career highs in both HR and SB. Makes very hard contact with strong swing and has chance to hit for BA and power thanks to quick bat. Continues to add strength to wiry frame. Has above average speed and could be candidate to move to CF if needed. Has range, quick feet and strong arm to be asset anywhere on diamond.

Development Path: In his first year in a full season league, Peguero stood out with his production on both sides of the ball. He is ready to move to Double-A and could reach the majors as soon as 2023. It will be interesting to see his defensive positioning to determine if there is a chance he moves to CF.

Fantasy Impact: Though he may not have as much upside as Cruz, Peguero could be the future shortstop of many major league organizations. The continued development of his power will be the focus, but he seems like a 15+ HR guy with a moderately high BA and 25+ SB. That is a solid impact player regardless of position.

Upside Grade: 8C

7. Lonnie White (OF) ... 6-3, 212 ... R/R ... 19 ... 2021 (2) HS (NV)
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2021FCL Pirates Black (Rk_FCL)31.258/.303/.5166550.142/0
2022FCL Pirates Black (FCL)7.286/.286/.8570570.001/0
Comments: Elite athlete with tools to be potential star at any level. Very raw and will need plenty of at bats to realize high ceiling. Uppercut swing leads to Ks, but natural strength and leverage should get to plus power in near-term. Hit tool better than expected, though needs more consistent stroke. Should stick in CF as he owns plus speed and instincts.

Development Path: The Pirates will be more than patient with White's development and could keep him at extended spring training before a short-season assignment in June. He also has the skills and ability to begin at Low-A. Regardless of the initial placement, he really won't push for major league time until 2025.

Fantasy Impact: White has incredible upside and could become a monster in all fantasy categories. One must be patient, however. He may not have the capability for hitting for a high BA, but his power and speed could lead to 25 HR/25 SB campaigns well down the line.

Upside Grade: 9E

8. Tucupita Marcano (2B,3B,SS,OF) ... 6-0, 165 ... L/R ... 22 ... 2016 FA (VZ)
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2021El Paso (AAA_West)172.273/.366/.44214851.046/4
2022Bradenton Marauders (FSL2)3.000/.250/.00025671.000/0
2022Altoona Curve (East2)99.303/.413/.47517750.802/4
2022Indianapolis Indians (IL2)101.287/.365/.42611840.813/1
2022Pittsburgh Pirates (NL)160.206/.256/.3066730.232/2
Comments: Acquired from SD in July, brings keen instincts and approach to game. Plays multiple positions and is nifty defender at most. Has quickness and nimble footwork along with average arm. Smart, instinctual hitter who focuses on line drives and easy contact. Lacks ideal power, but getting stronger and could get to more pop in time.

Development Path: Marcano has an opportunity to win a job during spring training and he should have a decent shot given his defensive versatility and previous big league experience. Otherwise, he'll head to Triple-A and await a call-up which will likely occur at some point.

Fantasy Impact: He may not be a huge fantasy contributor in any one category, but he offers the defensive versatility that fantasy managers crave. Marcano can hit for BA and it is possible he gets to double-digit HR as he adds strength. At his peak, he will have value.

Upside Grade: 7A

9. Travis Swaggerty (OF) ... 5-11, 180 ... L/L ... 24 ... 2018 (1) South Alabama
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2018South Alabama (SBC)213.296/.455/.52620821.4213/9
2019Bradenton (FSL)457.265/.347/.38111750.499/23
2021Indianapolis (AAA_East)41.220/.333/.43913800.753/3
2022Indianapolis Indians (IL2)398.254/.348/.39913710.499/20
2022Pittsburgh Pirates (NL)9.111/.111/.1110560.000/0
Comments: Athletic CF who ended season in May after shoulder surgery. Hasn’t produced much, but tools are evident. No true weakness with glove as he owns plus speed and range in CF. Arm strength also a big asset. Power hasn’t shown up yet as contact hinders output. Still has the swing and strength to grow into big offensive contributor.

Development Path: The hope was that Swaggerty would have already made his big league debut. Unfortunately, the shoulder surgery pushed him off the radar. To begin 2022, he will likely return to Triple-A to gain valuable at bats against upper level pitching. He should emerge at some point in late 2022.

Fantasy Impact: Swaggerty hasn't lived up to his billing, but his abilities can be impactful in real life and fantasy ball. He has above plus speed which give him 20+ SB upside while his power hasn't yet emerged. If it does, he could become a 20/20 producer with an acceptable, moderate BA.

Upside Grade: 8C

10. Anthony Solometo (LHP) ... 6-5, 220 ... 19 ... 2021 (2) HS (NJ)
2020Did Not Play (--)
2022Bradenton Marauders (FSL2)47.22.641.0493.
Comments: Powerful, young SP who has makings of prized arm. Ingredients are there for plus FB and SL, though needs to iron out mechanics. Lot of moving parts in delivery, but spots FB to both sides of plate. Can pitch up with good spin and can knock out hitters with SL. Hasn’t used CU much and will need pro instruction.

Development Path: He didn't pitch upon signing after the draft and it is likely he won't get assigned to an affiliate until June, likely a rookie club. The Pirates may move him along slowly to get him the coaching he needs to turn into a well-rounded young pitcher.

Fantasy Impact: With arm strength, a potentially plus fastball and deception, Solometo has mid-rotation upside with high strikeout ability. It is possible for him to become more than that, but there is a lot of work to be done to iron out his mechanics.

Upside Grade: 8D

11. Jared Jones (RHP) ... 6-1, 180 ... 20 ... 2020 (2) HS (CA)
2021Bradenton (A2_SE)66.04.641.4704.614.13.1.241
2022Greensboro Grasshoppers (SAL2)122.24.621.3533.710.42.8.238
Comments: High-upside arm who posted extremely high K rate in first pro experience. Power arsenal should continue to get better, but attention needs to be given to inconsistent arm slot and CU. Very athletic delivery produces lively FB and has two strikeout offerings. Not blessed with great size, but arm strength is unmatched in org.

Development Path: Jones will likely be elevated to High-A after a terrific season in 2021. While his ERA was a bit high, he can absolutely dominate and it would be a good learning experience at the next level. He's still a long ways away from the majors, but he will be one to watch.

Fantasy Impact: Few can match his upside and he has #2 starter potential if he can continue to add polish to his delivery and overall stuff. It isn't too hard to fathom Jones competing for strikeout totals at maturity.

Upside Grade: 9E

12. Bubba Chandler (RHP) ... 6-3, 200 ... 19 ... 2021 (3) HS (GA)
2020Did Not Play (--)
2022FCL Pirates Black (FCL)
2022Bradenton Marauders (FSL2)
Comments: Ultra-athletic SP with very high upside. Didn’t pitch after draft and will need time to develop pitch mix and feel. Can fire FB into mid-90s and owns quick arm that should evolve into consistent power. Lacks touch on CU and will work to clean up delivery. Has chance to play infield at times with quickness and arm strength.

Development Path: Similar to Solometo, the Pirates are likely to bring Chandler along slowly. There isn't any reason to rush him. To potentially complicate matters, he could also be used at shortstop at times to determine if he has two-way value as a pro. This is a long-term play.

Fantasy Impact: Given his incredible athleticism and raw ability, the long-term payoff could be enormous. Patience will be required, however. If he maintains his plus fastball and enhances his secondary offerings, he could become a #2 starter who can register a ton of strikeouts.

Upside Grade: 8D

13. Carmen Mlodzinski (RHP) ... 6-2, 232 ... 23 ... 2020 (1) South Carolina
2020South Carolina (SEC)25.12.841.3032.
2021Greensboro (A1_East)50.13.931.2913.611.43.2.230
2021Indianapolis (AAA_East)2.04.502.5009.
2022Altoona Curve (East2)105.14.781.4153.
Comments: Physical SP who got off to hot start, but faltered down stretch. Repeats compact delivery and has pitch mix and groundball tendencies to be dependable arm. Could become RP if CU doesn’t develop. Hitters bury sinking FB into ground and CT gives him second solid pitch. Under-the-radar arm.

Development Path: Despite only 50 innings at High-A (and 2 IP in Triple-A), Mlodzinski should be assigned to Double-A with an outside shot to reach the majors late in 2022. There are suggestions he could convert to a reliever at some point, but the Pirates will stick as a starter for now given the deep repertoire.

Fantasy Impact: Mlodzinski has an interesting profile and could serve in a variety of roles. It is far too early to write him off as a starter and he could become a #4 guy if he can stay healthy. Regardless of his role, he has strikeout ability.

Upside Grade: 7C

14. Michael Burrows (RHP) ... 6-2, 183 ... 22 ... 2018 (11) HS (CT)
2018GCL Pirates (GCL)
2019West Virginia (NYPL)43.24.331.4704.
2021Greensboro (A1_East)
2022Altoona Curve (East2)52.02.941.0963.311.93.6.196
2022Indianapolis Indians (IL2)42.15.311.3462.
Comments: Consistent SP who thrived in first full season. Proved very tough to hit and was stingy against RHH thanks to high spin rate and deceptive, fast arm. Produces good life to FB and elevated K rate due to CB improvement. CU lags behind and needs to repeat delivery more consistently. Can be flyball pitcher.

Development Path: Burrows will head to Double-A with the hopes of continuing his success from last season. He may focus on repeating his delivery more consistently and implementing his change-up more frequently.

Fantasy Impact: His low oppBA could lead to mid-rotation status, but that doesn't appear sustainable in the upper minors without a better pitch to combat lefties. He could become a #4 starter who could eat innings and maintain a respectable ERA.

Upside Grade: 7C

15. Endy Rodriguez (C,1B) ... 6-0, 170 ... B/R ... 21 ... 2018 FA (DR)
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2019GCL Mets (GCL)75.293/.393/.45312830.770/4
2021Bradenton (A2_SE)377.294/.380/.51212800.6515/2
2022Greensboro Grasshoppers (SAL2)318.302/.392/.54412760.5516/3
2022Altoona Curve (East2)118.356/.442/.67813820.868/1
2022Indianapolis Indians (IL2)22.455/.435/.7730860.001/0
Comments: Under-the-radar prospect who led Low-A SE in BA and 3rd in HR. Red hot over last 3 months of season with easy career high in HR and improved approach. Reads pitches well and puts bat to ball with ease. Has above average athleticism for catching and has the agility and strong arm to be asset behind plate. Power development will determine upside.

Development Path: The Pirates may ease Rodriguez up the minor league ladder and a placement with High-A appears to be the next step. He has played other positions besides catcher and that could hasten his ascension as well. There is some work he needs to do to enhance his catching, but the bat is legit.

Fantasy Impact: If he becomes eligible for other positions besides catcher, Rodriguez would be extraordinarily valuable. He could hit for a high BA and OBP while producing 15 HR. Similar to other backstops, SB won't be a factor.

Upside Grade: 7C

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