The Pittsburgh Pirates had three minor league players retire from baseball over the off-season. We were just able to confirm the last one yesterday, but all of the players were missing from the minor league rosters for Spring Training, so they weren’t recent decisions.
Infielder Michael Gretler, pitcher Drew Fischer and catcher Marshall Gilbert have retired. All three were draft picks over the last three years, with Fischer being drafted in the 35th round in 2017, Gretler going in the tenth round in 2018 and Gilbert getting picked in the 29th round last year.
Fischer looked like he was turning into a possible late round gem early last year, until an arm injury ended his season in May. He threw shutout ball in April and didn’t allow a run until his final inning. During the April outings, he was hitting 97 MPH. He struck out 87 batters in 81 innings as a pro.
Gretler had a tough year in 2019, beginning the season in Bradenton, before a slow start led to a demotion to Greensboro. He didn’t do much better there, finishing with a .604 OPS. Gretler played well in Morgantown in 2018 after the draft, and the Pirates liked him enough that they drafted him two years in a row.
Gilbert played just 16 games last year at Bristol, posting a .545 OPS, with a high strikeout rate. He was drafted as a catcher, but also saw some time at first base and third base. He signed late last year due to his team being in the College World Series, so his time in pro ball was very brief.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.