BRADENTON, Fla. – It’s been well documented that First National Bank Field, the Greensboro Grasshoppers stadium, is a hitter friendly environment.
Many of the hitters in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ High-A environment had favorable numbers at home, while lacking the same results on the road in 2021. The opposite was true for third base prospect Jared Triolo, who hit for a .915 OPS on the road and a .752 OPS at home.
“It’s definitely a hitter friendly park,” said Triolo. “Sometimes I guess hitters can just fall into trying to get big at that field. I guess just whenever you play in other teams stadiums, it’s a lot easier to lock in on your hitting approach and stay true to what you’re doing.”
Triolo got off to a slow start at the plate in 2021, hitting for a .639 OPS in the month of May. He attributes that to getting away from his own approach and trying to hit home runs, though he righted the ship the rest of the season.
“I think early in the season it was just trying to find any kind of confidence I could at the plate,” said Triolo. “I feel like not having a season the year before, it kind of took me away from the little bit of confidence that I had going into the next season. After I realized I was lacking a little bit of confidence, it definitely picked up for me.”
Despite moving away from trying to hit for power, Triolo managed 15 home runs on the season. He worked on his pull-side power heading into 2021, and felt that showed up a little bit, giving a different look from his opposite-field tendencies.
“I feel like my style has always been an inside-out approach,” said Triolo. “Not getting away from it, but learning to also be able to go pull side and reach the ball out in front.”
Triolo’s overall results are a bit of an anomaly for a 6-foot-3, 212 pound position player. His strength, based on 2021 stats, was base running and defense, with 28 stolen bases and a Gold Glove award at third base. The Pirates have discussed trying him at other positions, including outfield and shortstop.
“We’ve had some brief conversations about it,” said Triolo. “Apparently it’s a good thing when you start getting put in different positions. We’ll see how easy I can adjust to the changes.”
Three of the four corner spots in Pittsburgh lack a long-term option, and Triolo has emerged as one of the top Plan-B options to Ke’Bryan Hayes at third base. Triolo likes to watch and model his game after Kris Bryant, another tall third baseman who has played all over the field.
“I feel like we’re kind of a similar guy,” said Triolo of Bryant.
Triolo would have to see a big power boost to match Bryant’s overall production, but with strong defense at the corners, double-digit home run power, solid contact skills, an ability to get on base, and smart base running, Triolo has the attributes to be his own special type of player.
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Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.