Jack Suwinski has hardly spent any time in the majors.
The outfield prospect, called up from Double-A Altoona at the end of April, has 49 plate appearances so far with the Pirates. That’s still very much in small sample size territory. This is highlighted by the fact that Suwinski entered the week with a .515 OPS and currently has a 715 OPS after hitting two homers in his last four games.
I’ve mentioned this before, but I remain surprised at how the Pirates are using their prospects. Last night, Suwinski continued getting starts, even though he’s skipping Triple-A. The Pirates also went with Cam Alldred for an inning of relief, rather than opting for a more experienced pitcher on the roster.
Suwinski earned his chance by crushing in Altoona early in the year. Alldred got here by being a dominant, multi-inning lefty reliever in Indianapolis. Both got here on merit, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to see them starting so often.
Perhaps that’s a holdover from how the Pirates handled prospects under Neal Huntington and Clint Hurdle. We’d often see players come up in an emergency role like these two, only to never play unless it was an actual emergency. It’s as if there was a fear of using the unknown player, rather than seeing what they could do.
What we’re seeing from the Pirates now is almost the opposite approach. Suwinski spends his first ten games with a .515 OPS, and still gets four starts in a row. In fact, Suwinski has started six games in a row, spanning back to when he had a sub-.400 OPS.
The Pirates took this approach last year with Rodolfo Castro and Max Kranick. I thought at the time that this might devalue those players, signaling that the Pirates don’t really like them as much, indicated by the usage. That may have just been leftover thinking from the old front office.
It’s one thing to take this approach with two prospects who were added by the previous front office, who both universally grade as bench and bullpen guys more than starters in the majors.
It’s completely different to see this approach taken with a guy that Ben Cherington acquired last July for one of his biggest deadline trade chips, Adam Frazier.
It seems that this version of the Pirates isn’t afraid to let their prospects play, and show what they can do in the majors while they are up.
And I’m all here for it.
Pirates Prospects Spotlight
Daily Video Rundown: Carter Bins, Canaan Smith-Njigba, Brendt Citta
Pirates Discussion: Pirates 0, Reds 4
- Cam Alldred earns promotion by pitching rather than throwing
- Duane Underwood Returns to Pirates; Kranick Optioned to Indianapolis
- Pirates Add Rodolfo Castro to Big League Roster; Option Cole Tucker
- Pirates Claim Pitcher Tyler Beede from the Giants
- New Mock Draft from MLB Pipeline
THIS WEEK ON PIRATES PROSPECTS
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