MLB Pipeline did a mini update to their top 100 prospects list yesterday, as one player graduated from the list, leaving an open space at the back end. They added Endy Rodriguez in that open spot. He did the same thing for Baseball America about two weeks ago.
While Rodriguez is now ranked #100 for Pipeline, this isn’t an actual re-rank of their list. Every time a player graduates, the next player up goes into the 100th spot. Rodriguez will likely move much higher once they present their updated rankings during the off-season, but for now this is just about him getting the recognition he has earned this season with a .317/.406/.580 slash line over two levels. The Pirates now have six of the top 100 prospects according to MLB Pipeline, with Henry Davis, Termarr Johnson, Quinn Priester, Liover Peguero and Nick Gonzales already on their list.
In other news, Oneil Cruz told the Dominican media yesterday that he plans on being the starting shortstop for Tigres del Licey of the Dominican winter league for the season, which starts next month. He has played winter ball three times in the past with limited time and mixed results, but that was before he reached the upper levels of the minors/majors.
The pitching in the Dominican league should be helpful for Cruz, as it’s a nice mix of pitchers who almost all have Triple-A experience, and many have made the majors. It’s basically like playing in a Triple-A league, with a lot of pitchers who throw off-speed pitches. Cruz has 116 strikeouts this season in 74 games, a full-season pace that would crush the all-time single season record for strikeouts in a big league season. That’s a pace of 254 strikeouts over a 162-game schedule, with the big league record being 223. Seeing an off-season of quality pitchers throwing him breaking balls at a high rate should be beneficial. More time at shortstop couldn’t hurt either.