First Pitch: Pirates Stack Up Well with Infield Prospects

MLB Pipeline has started a feature that looks at the best prospects around baseball by position, then ranks the teams by strength at each position. So far they have covered catchers, corner infielders and middle infielders. We don’t need to tell you that catching is a position of weakness in the system so it’s no surprise that the Pirates aren’t a top ten team. They did nothing to address that need during the draft, or have yet to sign any catchers as non-drafted free agents either. However, Pipeline gave the Pirates some good rankings around the infield, which was bolstered by the addition of first round pick Nick Gonzales.

If the middle infield rankings, the Pirates rate as the sixth best team, led by Gonzales, who was signed as a shortstop, but could end up at second base. The also have Oneil Cruz, Liover Peguero and Ji-Hwan Bae among their top prospects in the system.

In the corner infielder rankings, the Pirates rate seventh best. They are led by third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, who is likely going to make his big league debut this season. He carries the team this high, since there are no other top ten prospects in the system at either corner spot. However, a look at the top 30 for Pipeline reveals that they have four other corner infielders who rank high. That includes Will Craig and Mason Martin at first base and Alexander Mojica and Jared Triolo at third base. Martin and Craig are both on the 60-man rosters for the Pirates and Craig will likely see the majors at some point this season.

Here’s the catcher list for those who are interested. The Pirates best catching prospect is probably Eli Wilson, a draft pick from last year who impressed at Bristol. They also have Omar Alfonzo, who was signed on his 16th birthday in August and has high upside, as well as Eybert Escalona, a Venezuelan catcher signed on July 2nd, who also has high upside. The only catching prospect on their 60-man roster is Christian Kelley, who has strong defense, but he struggled mightily at the plate in Triple-A last year.

*Today is normally an exciting day on this site, with the announcements of the July 2nd international signings. That has been pushed back to January 15th, so a normally boring day in the winter will now be filled with news.

**We will have at least four articles today, including the one you’re currently reading. If any news comes up, we will have more. The other scheduled articles for today are as follows:

This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History – Five birthdays, including the mayor. Plus a transaction of note that should have worked out better.

Pittsburgh Pirates Seasons – Our first season covered from Dave Parker

1979 Season Recap – Bill Madlock’s debut

Hope everyone has a thrilling Thursday!




Video of Honus Wagner’s statue dedication. No audio for the video, so it’s best to turn the sound off too, trust me.

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.

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