For the most part, “middle infield prospect” means “shortstop prospect.” A player with the ability to play secondbase at the major league level will usually be able to play short at the amateur and minor league levels. As a result, most major league secondbaseman start off at shortstop. There may be a few players who are strictly prospects at secondbase. Generally, they’re players with good bats who are trying to hang on in the middle rather than move to a corner. The Pirates’ Jarek Cunningham is an obvious example. But most middle infield prospects in the minors are shortstops.

The Pirates’ policy has been to keep players at the most challenging position as long as possible, so they try to keep the real prospects at short. Right now, though, they have an abundance of middle infielders ...

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