The Pittsburgh Pirates have optioned outfielders Canaan Smith-Njigba and Jared Oliva to Triple-A Indianapolis, and have reassigned outfielder Cal Mitchell and infielder Mason Martin to minor league camp.
Long-term, the Pirates currently have two outfield spots open. The three outfielders should all be in position to get a shot to play in Pittsburgh this year on either side of Bryan Reynolds. Smith-Njigba is on the 40-man roster, and one of the top candidates in the entire system to take one of those starting jobs. Mitchell has seen his path blocked by the addition of outfielders like Smith-Njigba, but still has the ability to be a starter in the majors if he can transition his raw power ability more into the game. Oliva could serve as an early season depth option out of Triple-A, capable of strong defense from all three spots. He will need to boost his offense to enter the starting conversation.
The Pirates also have a long-term first base spot open, as well as a new designated hitter role. Mason Martin could be a candidate at either spot. Martin has some of the best power production in the entire system, and has been trying to cut down on his swing and miss issues enough to let that power play in the majors. I wrote about the approach the Pirates are taking with Martin a few weeks ago.
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.