P2Daily: And So It Begins

The final score didn’t end up in their favor, but in the bigger scope of things, what started on Tuesday night at PNC Park may be more important.

Over the last couple of days we have finally started to see the churn of the big league roster to make space for the first wave of prospects that the Pirates have been stockpiling within the system.

Roansy Contreras rejoined the team, this time in the rotation, and was exactly what everyone had hoped that he’d be, pitching five shutout innings while striking out five. Although he got the no-decision it was the kind of shutdown performance from a starter they have been looking for outside of Jose Quintana for the entire season.

More than just Contreras, Cal Mitchell joined Jack Suwinski and Diego Castillo as players to make their big league debut this year for the Pirates. In his first game, Mitchell drove in the Pirates only run of the night, scoring Castillo on the base hit.

When you count in Rodolfo Castro, who just recently shed his prospect status, the collection on youth in the lineup Tuesday combined to go 3-for-9, with a run, RBI, and a walk to their credit.

Ke’Bryan Hayes is the face of the franchise, but this wave that was expected to hit this season that’s supposed to provide support to him.

Speaking of Castro, he’s been exactly what this season is supposed to be about, figuring it all out. He’s made some head scratching plays, as well as some errors, even thrown out in key situations being aggressive.

But the Pirates are letting him learn from those moments, providing the valuable ‘life’ experience that comes with it. Castro’s play highlights the aggressive play that we’ve seen in the minors. It’s fun to see the aggressiveness transition to the major league level, as well as the energy that Castro has brought when he’s in the lineup.

This is just the beginning though.

Sitting in Triple-A Indianapolis are still more parts of that wave that should start the revitalization in Pittsburgh.

The batting average still isn’t where you’d like it to be, and he’s still having the defensive lapses, but Oneil Cruz is starting to made more consistent contact. For the second straight year Ji-Hwan Bae has seen his power increase, and is already halfway to his extra-base total from a year ago.

Mason Martin continues to clobber baseballs, Canaan Smith-Njigba has gotten on base every game he’s played in this month, and Travis Swaggerty’s bat is starting to show signs of waking up. Ryan Palencer will have more on Swaggerty today.

There’s a long way to go, and while the floodgates haven’t completely been blown open, it’s certainly sprung a leak. It’s just a matter of time before the rest of the wave comes crashing down.

Pirates Prospects Spotlight

Endy Rodriguez Gets Back on Track After Swing Issues in April

Pirates Links

Prospect Watch: Mason Martin, Oneil Cruz and (Of Course) Matt Gorski Go Deep

Pirates Discussion: Pirates 1, Rockies 2; Roansy Contreras Starts

P2Daily Articles:


Williams: Jared Jones is a Familiar Story With Hopefully a Different Ending

Endy Rodriguez Gets Back on Track After Swing Issues in April

Matt Gorski: A More Consistent Swing and 17 Home Runs Later…

Prospect Roundtable: Which Greensboro Prospects Are Most Intriguing?

Maikol Escotto: “There’s a lot of thump in that bat”

Jacob Gonzalez: From Minor League Rule 5 to Minor League Video Game Numbers

Jack Carey: Stuff Playing More Than Numbers Showing

Song of the Day




Most Voted Comments

5 2 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Who’s gonna be the catcher? BC apparently likes Bins but so far he’s not doing much with the bat. Davis is hurt, again, and is pretty far away especially if he’s not playing. Sabol’s been doing most of the catching for Altoona and hitting well but is listed as an outfielder. The other prospects are in A ball. What’s the plan?


Cal’s swing is NSFW.


Guessing they’ll trade Gamel soon to let the young guys get consistent playing time, so who plays LF – Suwinski or Mitchell?

Stephen B

It’ll be a 4-man rotation with some 1B, some DH. With Vogelbach out and Yoshi just not hitting, they can make it work. They might try Gamel at 1B, I think I read that he was taking ground balls at first. They’ll play him as much as they can to prep him for trade, but that trade isn’t happening until July. Gamel’s not the kind of guy you reach for ahead of the rush – he’s an August 2 guy when all the impact OF bats are already taken.


LF Reynolds CF TSwags RF Mitchell/Suwinski


Interesting, but i don’t think they move Reynolds from CF for a rookie, especially one that isn’t guaranteed to stick. Maybe next year

Different regime, but as an example, i’d imagine it something like with Cutch getting established in CF, even if Marte was the better CF, he came up after Cutch


I don’t know if they will trade Gamel this soon or not. Yoshi will surely be on the block if they intend to bring up Martin anytime soon. Newman too, when healthy They will be just looking to move these guys for something. I can see Yoshi being DFAd if no takers and they really want Martin in the lineup. That option will get more appealing as the season wears on and the remaining contract keeps dwindling.


Just need a fringe contender to have a corner OF go down for an extended period of time, would make too much sense not to check in for Gamel, which won’t require a top prospect return. More like a low level guy having a good year & is interesting.


I don’t think Shelton (or Marin or Haines) is the right person to help prospects transition (e.g., I of course get the lefty vs. righty think but still wanted Castillo to get the AB last night with the chance to win the game) but I give him credit for sticking with Castro despite the mistakes and playing Suwinski everyday (though it’s not like he has a lot of options for the OF). He can win me over somewhat by sticking with prospects (and it’s probably a win-win as sticking with prospects through their ups-and-downs gives him an excuse for his terrible W-L record).


I love Castro, but man is he wild. They need to reign some of the wild energy in. So damn raw looking out there…Seems like he’s getting thrown out on the bases multiple times per game. I love the enthusiasm but a more refined approach would go a long ways for him.


I agree, we need his energy and I think there’s more of that to come from many of our prospects. But he also needs to reign it in a bit. I just want him playing while he finds the right balance.


I thought prospect status was 130 ABs. Castro is close with 124.


More youngsters will come up with the corresponding moves through the system. Should have Cruz up sooner than later. Bae and Martin at some point too. It should be easier to add FA this coming off season with the rebuild hitting the major league roster. The last few seasons were giving vets that could fill holes that were worth signing longer term deal a choice between a 2-3 year deal with a team with more defined rosters or a roster of a team that was still in rebuild from the system up mode with the top of the system still in major flux. The Bucs should have several more defined roles by the time FA season begins. The fun part is finally hitting the big club 🙂

John Fluharty

Took me a couple tries to get through that marathon sentence in the middle, but having done so I agree.


I was running out of gas on the marathon and barely made it to the end……. 😂 


This season is all about laying the foundation. It promises to be a roller coaster ride with lots of ups and downs, but it will be an enjoyable ride.


I don’t know, man. How the hell can they have a sturdy foundation without Sulser and Alldred. Those lefties that throw 86 mph fastballs are an important pillar.

But, yes, this should be enjoyable to watch some of these young guys grow. I’ve watched Mitchell in person and on milb tv but he looked bigger, especially his lower half last night. He’s got a nice approach at the plate.

Roansy is going to be a good one. Rotation of Roansy-Q-Brubaker-Thompson-Keller could be at least serviceable. Melendez is the next bp arm I’m interested in seeing…He’s got real stuff that can make him a difference maker.


There surely will be ups and downs. MLB is really hard.


The more the young bucs play, the more enjoyable these games become. Looking forward to seeing Yerry, if he ever gets a chance to pitch

John Fluharty

Definitely more fun to watch a roster full of youngsters with a generous helping of hope for the future rather than a bunch of retreads with no future even if they lose more games.


Having talented youngsters is fun.


And soon to be more talented youngsters added to the mix and should make it more fun.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x