The week of April 11-17 was the first full week of action in the minors, so today we introduce our new weekly feature that will be posted every Tuesday. Each week the writers from the site will submit their votes for the Player of the Week, as well as the top player for the four affiliates of the Pittsburgh Pirates. From those lists, we will get our Player of the Week/top player choices.
Our first winner is Altoona Curve outfielder Connor Scott, who came to the Pirates in the Jacob Stallings trade. The 22-year-old outfielder was a first round pick of the Miami Marlins in 2018. He made it up to High-A briefly in 2019 and struggled a bit, then spent all of 2021 there when minor league baseball returned after the 2020 shutdown. Scott hit .276/.333/.446 in 96 games last year, finishing with 25 doubles, six triples, ten homers and 14 steals. He moved up to Double-A with the Pirates this year and he’s off to a .500/.586/.833 start in his first seven games. Over five games last week, he batted .500/.619/.875 in 21 plate appearances. He finished with the second best OPS last week and tied for the best OBP.
Scott recently ranked as our #23 prospect in our updated rankings released shortly before the season started. He was featured in an article here during Spring Training in which he talked about adding weight and strength this year in order to tap into more power. We won’t really know just how much that off-season training helped out until we get much deeper into the season, but the early returns are obviously a good sign with five extra-base hits in seven games. Scott is one of many players right now who have their eyes on those two outfield spots in Pittsburgh that don’t have set long-term options.
TRIPLE-A: INDIANAPOLIS INDIANS
Player of the Week: Cal Mitchell – .421/.450/.737, 1 HR, 0 SB, 20 PA
Analysis: Mitchell had a strong week with his 1.187 OPS, and he wasn’t far behind those numbers in his first week. Through the first ten games, he has a 1.138 OPS. He greatly improved his strikeout rate last year and he’s off to a good start this season (15.8%). Mason Martin wasn’t far behind Mitchell with his .350/.350/.800 slash line in 20 plate appearances. Rodolfo Castro put up a .976 OPS in his five games. Beau Sulser had a strong week on the mound, posting a 0.00 ERA (three unearned runs) in nine innings, with ten strikeouts. Chase De Jong threw the first seven innings of an Indianapolis no-hitter. He struck out nine batters.
DOUBLE-A: ALTOONA CURVE
Player of the Week: Connor Scott – .500/.619/.875, 1 HR, 1 SB, 21 PA
Analysis: While Scott was named as the site’s Player of the Week, my own personal choice was Kyle Nicolas, who made two starts and combined for 7.2 shutout innings on two hits, three walks and ten strikeouts. His start on Sunday was four perfect innings and five strikeouts. Both Scott and Nicolas arrived in the Jacob Stallings trade. Omar Cruz threw four shutout innings on one hit and seven strikeouts. Michael Burrows tossed four scoreless on two hits and six strikeouts. Lolo Sanchez had the second highest OPS for Altoona behind Scott, putting up a .968 mark. Blake Sabol hit .364/.364/.500 with a homer in 22 plate appearances.
HIGH-A: GREENSBORO GRASSHOPPERS
Player of the Week: Jared Jones – 1.08 ERA, 15:3 K/BB, 8.1 IP
Analysis: Jared Jones was the only unanimous choice for a team vote, and he also got a vote for the Player of the Week. He threw 8.1 innings, allowing one run on five hits, three walks and 15 strikeouts. His first start was a solid performance, but his outing on Sunday was outstanding, with five shutout innings on two hits, one walk and eight strikeouts. Garrett Leonard and Grant Ford each threw four shutout innings. On the hitting side, Jackson Glenn had a huge week, with a 1.424 OPS in his 18 plate appearances. Sammy Siani put up a 1.080 OPS, two homers and eight RBIs in 26 plate appearances. Abrahan Gutierrez, who is #3 among the ridiculous riches of catching prospects in Greensboro, batted .316 with an .890 OPS last week.
LOW-A: BRADENTON MARAUDERS
Player of the Week: Jacob Gonzalez – .611/.619/1.056, 2 HR, 0 SB, 21 PA
Analysis: Gonzalez was named the Player of the Week for the Florida State League and even got a vote for our Player of the Week award. It was a big week for the 23-year-old, who was a minor league Rule 5 pick of the Pirates back in December. His 1.675 OPS was best in the system. Alexander Mojica also got votes for Bradenton’s top player this week. The 19-year-old third baseman hit .471/.571/.765 in 21 plate appearances. His line wasn’t up there with Gonzalez, but there’s also a huge difference in their ages to consider. Tsung-Che Cheng had a 1.033 OPS in 26 plate appearances last week. Mike Jarvis had a 1.077 OPS in 13 plate appearances. On the pitching side, Wilkin Ramos allowed one hit in five shutout innings, while Luis Peralta had four no-hit innings and seven strikeouts. Justin Meis, Xavier Concepcion and Christian Charle all threw 4+ shutout innings as well.
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.