Organization Reports


2023 Organization Report: Pittsburgh Pirates

by Jeremy Deloney

Organization Grades

Hitting: B+ ... Pitching: B ... 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. Henry Davis (C) ... 6-2, 195 ... R/R ... 23 ... 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: Strong backstop who missed valuable time due to wrist. Combines plate patience and huge power to be potent weapon with bat. Has chance to hit for both BA and power and has ability to read spin and make hard contact. Uses entire field in simple approach, though can get pull happy. Continuing to improve with receiving. Owns plus arm.

Development Path: Despite a lack of catchers on the depth chart, Davis will return to the minors, likely Double-A, to begin the season. He'll need to upgrade his defense behind the plate to be trusted at the major league level, but he could come quick if he makes those adjustments.

Fantasy Impact: Davis could be one of the top fantasy catchers in a very short timeframe. With his ability to hit HR and for BA, he'll be a standout. He'd even be a valuable contributor if moved to 1B.

Upside Grade: 8B

2. Termarr Johnson (2B,SS) ... 5-10, 175 ... L/R ... 18 ... 2022 (1) HS (GA)
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2022FCL Pirates Black (FCL)23.130/.310/.21721650.750/2
2022Bradenton Marauders (FSL2)40.275/.396/.45020680.771/4
Comments: Advanced hitter with hand-eye coordination, pitch recognition and strong stroke. Quick hand and wrist action can put charge into balls and has potential for plus power to all fields. Simply needs pro AB. Knows balls and strikes and willing to wait. Likely limited to 2B due to lack of range, but is fundamentally sound. Face of franchise potential.

Development Path: Johnson appears slotted for Low-A for his first full pro season, but could ascend to High-A at some point in 2023. His bat is so advanced, he could hit at higher levels now. The focus will be on his defensive position and just getting professional seasoning.

Fantasy Impact: Assuming he plays 2B full-time, Johnson could be one of the most valuable fantasy players at that position. It is very likely he hits for a high BA, including competing for batting titles. He should also develop above-average power and could hit 25+ down the line.

Upside Grade: 8B

3. Nick Gonzales (2B) ... 5-10, 190 ... R/R ... 23 ... 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 missed time with foot and heel injuries. Makes exceptional contact with strike zone knowledge and elite hand-eye coordination. Smashes line drives to gaps and can turn on velocity for HR. Can try to do too much with stick and overswing. Runs well, though not a burner and is solid defender at 2B.

Development Path: He did quite well in Double-A in limited time in 2022 and appears likely to earn an assignment to Triple-A. It is possible, if not probable, that he'll get a big league trial in 2023. He isn't necessarily ready defensively, so improving his glove will be the focal point.

Fantasy Impact: An offense-first 2B is the projection for Gonzales as he has the bat to potentially hit .300 at times. His ultimate fantasy value will be tied to his power development. If he can get to 15+, he could be a dynamic middle infielder.

Upside Grade: 8B

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4. Quinn Priester (RHP) ... 6-3, 195 ... 22 ... 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: Strong SP who began season late due to oblique. Has the repertoire, athleticism and moxie to thrive in upper levels. Likes to establish plate with plus FB, whether 4-seamer or sinker. Induces ton of groundballs. Terrific CB is legit swing-and-miss pitch and could get better with more consistent arm slot. SL and CU both are solid average.

Development Path: Priester will head to Triple-A with an eye towards pitching in the big leagues by midseason. He could be ready immediately, but the Pirates may exercise caution initially in order for him to get high-level innings.

Fantasy Impact: He's never quite been a dominator in the minors, but he's been awfully good. He projects to become a #2 or #3 starter with low walk rates and a moderately high strikeout rate.

Upside Grade: 8B

5. Liover Peguero (SS) ... 6-1, 160 ... R/R ... 22 ... 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: Exciting INF who tailed off as season ended, but has tools aplenty. Has no obvious shortcoming and could be offensive-oriented SS. Has both power and speed in total package, but pop still emerging. Swings a very fast bat and is becoming more proficient with pitch recognition. Outstanding defender with plus range and strong arm.

Development Path: He's already been in the majors, but he'll head to Triple-A for 2023. He could be the guy who moves Oneil Cruz to a different position as he is an incredible defender. With his emerging bat, Peguero could be an exciting call-up early in 2023 if he gets off to a hot start.

Fantasy Impact: If he gets to the majors in 2023, his biggest contribution will be SB as he's stolen at least 28 bases in each of the last two seasons. He projects to at least 15+ HR and could hit for a moderately high BA. All in all, Peguero is an exciting prospect.

Upside Grade: 8C

6. Endy Rodriguez (C,2B) ... 6-0, 170 ... B/R ... 123 ... 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: One of best success stories in org. Finished 4th in minors in OPS and set highs in HR and BA/OBP/SLG. Versatile defender who played mostly C, but also saw time at 2B, LF and 1B. Hits well from both sides and should hit for high BA with at least average pop. Very athletic behind plate, but a bit raw with release and blocking.

Development Path: There have been rumblings of Rodriguez competing for an Opening Day roster slot, but he'll likely return to the minors to start the year. Combined with Davis, the Pirates have two legitimate catching prospects in the high minors. Rodriguez also can play 2B and should be up in the majors by midseason.

Fantasy Impact: He could provide value at two positions - C and 2B - where he could inject above average offense with BA and HR. If he continues to hit, he could evolve into a very unique fantasy contributor.

Upside Grade: 7B

7. Thomas Harrington (RHP) ... 6-2, 185 ... 21 ... 2022 (1) Campbell
Comments: Athletic, projectable SP who has good upside thanks to deep repertoire and ability to repeat delivery. Lacks put away pitch now, but plenty of room to enhance package. Changes speeds very well and FB results in swing and miss due to late carry. CU could be one of best in org and features late tumbling action.

Development Path: He has yet to throw a professional pitch and he could begin his pro career at Low-A. The Pirates could challenge him with an assignment to High-A. Regardless, he could move quickly based upon his fairly polished repertoire. He could get to Pittsburgh by late 2024 as a 23-year-old.

Fantasy Impact: He fits the bill as a #3-type starter who can pitch a lot of innings. He throws strikes and limits walks with a low oppBA, but he also isn't a dynamic strikeout guy.

Upside Grade: 8C

8. Luis Ortiz (RHP) ... 6-2, 163 ... 24 ... 2018 FA (DR)
2019Bristol (App)
2021Bradenton (A2_SE)
2022Altoona Curve (East2)114.14.641.1722.
2022Indianapolis Indians (IL2)10.03.600.8003.610.83.0.118
2022Pittsburgh Pirates (NL)16.04.501.1255.
Comments: Large-bodied RHP who reached PIT after exceeding expectations in minors. Was terrific late in season and finished 2nd in org in Ks. Hitters have trouble barreling heavy FB that looks even quicker than mid-to-high 90s. Both FB and SL miss bats and only needs more consistency with SL to be plus offering. CU is distant 3rd pitch.

Development Path: Of all the arms in the system, Ortiz could be the one with the best chance of cracking the Opening Day rotation. He was very strong in the 2nd half of 2022 and he immediately became ensconced in the Pirates long-term projections. He could also be an interesting reliever.

Fantasy Impact: He should make an impact with a solid oppBA and strikeout rate, but he needs a better change-up to last as a #3-4 starter at the big league level. If starting doesn't work out, he could be an interesting late innings arm.

Upside Grade: 8D

9. Bubba Chandler (RHP) ... 6-2, 200 ... 20 ... 2021 (3) HS (GA)
2021Did Not Play (--)
2022FCL Pirates Black (FCL)
2022Bradenton Marauders (FSL2)
Comments: Two-way player who saw time at SS and DH. One of top athletes in sport with premium arm strength and feel to pitch. Delivery is a bit crude and has inconsistent arm slot. Has potential for 4 average to plus pitches, led by dominant FB. Mixes in two breaking balls with CB ahead of SL. CU shows flashes of brilliance but inconsistent.

Development Path: One of the more unique prospects in the system, Chandler could begin 2023 in High-A. Then again, there is a lot of work to do with his mechanics and secondary offerings. That may lend credence to an initial assignment to Low-A ball where the warm weather would be ideal. It is premature to conclude that playing SS is hindering his pitching development.

Fantasy Impact: The sky is the limit for Chandler as a pitcher and he could become a dominant #2 or #3 starter with very high strikeout rates. The main issue is whether he can limit his walk rate.

Upside Grade: 9E

10. Michael Burrows (RHP) ... 6-2, 183 ... 23 ... 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: Breakout SP who took big leap forward on two levels. Not as strong in AAA, but can dominate with two top offerings in FB and CB. Has confidence to use any pitch in any count. FB features riding life up in zone while CB has plenty of bend and break. CU lags behind and needs to upgrade. Also subject to flyballs.

Development Path: Burrows was very good in Double-A and got hit hard in Triple-A so he'll likely return to the latter level. He's only 23 and should get some big league starts in 2023. The main area of focus will be on his change-up.

Fantasy Impact: Burrows as a fairly high floor and should become at least a #4 starter. Some see an eventual move to the pen without a dependable change-up. He limits hard contact and should contribute in WHIP and oppBA with moderate value in strikeouts.

Upside Grade: 7B

11. Jared Jones (RHP) ... 6-1, 180 ... 21 ... 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: Live-armed SP who led both SAL and org in Ks. Struggles with consistency and command at times, though has toned down delivery. Excellent athleticism on mound and throws with great arm speed. FB has potential to be double plus and has seen success with hard SL. All pitches exhibit movement, but tough to control.

Development Path: Jones has advanced one level per year and will probably head to Double-A as a 21-year-old. It isn't likely he'll see the majors in 2023 unless he dominates and continues to hone his command. Once he does that, watch out.

Fantasy Impact: He has been one of the best strikeout artists in the minors over the last few seasons, though his strikeout rate has fallen. His ability to miss bats should continue, however, especially as he polishes his secondary stuff.

Upside Grade: 8D

12. Ji-hwan Bae (2B,SS,OF) ... 6-1, 170 ... L/R ... 23 ... 2018 FA (KR)
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2021FCL Pirates Black (Rk_FCL)4.500/.500/.500010000/0
2021FCL Pirates Gold (Rk_FCL)3.333/.333/1.333010001/0
2021Altoona (AA_NE)320.278/.359/.41311740.467/20
2022Indianapolis Indians (IL2)419.289/.362/.43010810.608/30
2022Pittsburgh Pirates (NL)33.333/.405/.4246820.330/3
Comments: Made MLB debut after finishing 2nd in org in SB and continuing to show defensive versatility and easy contact skills. Exhibits incredible speed to steal bags. Adding to power thanks to loftier swing and strength, but not really his game. Puts bat to ball and can drive to gaps. Lacks range and quickness, but makes fundamental plays.

Development Path: Bae may be the Opening Day 2B if the Pirates don't make any moves prior to spring training. He hit well in his major league debut and appears ready for a job.

Fantasy Impact: Don't expect much in the way of power - maybe 10 HR at peak - but he could be a valuable SB contributor. If he earns full-time work, Bae could provide 30+ SB while hitting .275+ with a .350 oppBA. He also can play multiple positions, giving him solid value.

Upside Grade: 7C

13. Lonnie White (OF) ... 6-3, 212 ... R/R ... 20 ... 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: Missed most of season with elbow injury. Very exciting upside based upon athleticism, power and speed. Has the wheels to steal bases and patrol CF with above average range. Still raw with bat as he can lunge at pitches and be beaten with breaking balls. May take time to get to pop as he curtails aggressiveness.

Development Path: White has always been considered to be a long-term project and the injury doesn't put much of a dent into those plans. He'll either be assigned to Low-A or stay back in extended spring for more instruction. He should surface in the majors by 2026.

Fantasy Impact: Few in the org can match his athleticism or upside. White could make an impact with all fantasy categories, though his hit tool needs plenty of refinement. He has the strength and speed to be a 20 HR / 20 SB producer at peak.

Upside Grade: 8D

14. Anthony Solometo (LHP) ... 6-5, 220 ... 20 ... 2021 (2) HS (NJ)
2021Did Not Play (--)
2022Bradenton Marauders (FSL2)47.22.641.0493.
Comments: Tall, projectable SP who began season in May and is being brought along slowly. Has ability to dominate hitters with lively pitches and very deceptive delivery. Long arm action tough to read, but leads to command issues. Didn’t allow HR as he lives in lower half of zone. Uses FB frequently and has SL to miss bats. CU needs work.

Development Path: Solometo was treated very cautiously in his first full season and it wouldn't be a total surprise to see him return to Low-A and have longer outings. The warmer weather could help as well and could get elevated to High-A at midseason. He has an ETA of 2025.

Fantasy Impact: He as among the better upsides of any arms in the system and he could become a solid #3 starter and potentially more if his command improves. With his frame and arm strength, he should provide durability.

Upside Grade: 8D

15. Kyle Nicolas (RHP) ... 6-4, 225 ... 24 ... 2020 (2) Ball State
2020Ball State (MAC)23.02.740.9572.714.55.4.179
2021Beloit (A1_Cent)
2021Pensacola (AA_Sou)39.12.521.2205.711.42.0.163
2022Altoona Curve (East2)90.23.971.3014.710.02.1.207
Comments: Power SP with arm strength and excellent velocity. Repertoire among best in org. FB is best pitch with high spin rate and heavy life. SL can be K pitch, but likes to use CB to keep hitters off guard. Too many flyballs and has trouble with sequencing. May be better off with one breaking ball and enhancing below average CU.

Development Path: After spending the entirety of 2022 in Double-A, it is time for Triple-A. There is a lot to work on, but there are some who suggest a move to the bullpen could hasten his arrival time to the majors. If his change-up doesn't improve, then that could force the Pirates hand.

Fantasy Impact: The walk rate is a legitimate concern which would mute his upside as a #3-4 starter. If he converts to a reliever, he has the arm strength, velocity and strikeout ability to be a potential closer.

Upside Grade: 7C

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