There is so much that can happen in a baseball offseason, making any kind of prediction about a potential makeup of a minor league roster right now a fool’s errand. That being said, Indianapolis has the potential to have a very special makeup to kick off the 2023 season.
A lot of the roster makeup could be come down to how where they want to work in their top two catching prospects, Henry Davis and Endy Rodriguez. Davis, the former first overall pick, has less than 300 career plate appearances, and although he’s making some of that missed time back in the AFL right now, a start in Triple-A would be on the aggressive side.
It could be in the immediate future that they both occupy a roster spot at the major league level, so it would make sense to get them into some sort of rhythm on how they are going to split playing time behind the plate and anywhere else. Davis got some time late in the season in right field.
Nick Gonzales almost falls in the Davis category, as he has missed time in both of his full seasons of pro ball, but he’s still amassed nearly 700 plate appearances, and is in his second AFL stint currently.
Jared Triolo has the second most hits in the system over the past two seasons, there doesn’t seem like a reason not to move him up, leaving Malcom Nunez and Mason Martin to split first base and DH, although Nunez continued to get time at third to end the year in Indianapolis.
This does put players like Diego Castillo and Tucupita Marcano in a weird situation, as neither would probably have a roster spot set aside for them in Pittsburgh, but space is running low in Indianapolis for them as well.
I’m not as down on Liover Peguero’s 2021 season as others are. It wasn’t good no, it wasn’t bad either (outside of the errors). Even when he was struggling, he was actually cutting down on his strikeouts compared to his hot start of the season. He’s young enough to where there really shouldn’t be a problem with letting him start in Altoona again, that would actually free up a spot in Indianapolis for the time being.
There’s even more clutter in the outfield, as they could potentially have upwards of three 40-man players (Canaan Smith-Njigba, Cal Mitchell, Travis Swaggerty) and then quite a few names attempting to move up from Altoona as well – Connor Scott, Matt Gorski, and Matt Fraizer.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see one, or even two of those names hang around Altoona to begin the season like Jack Suwinski did before the season sorting things out.
There will be a lot of decisions to be made, and Ben Cherington has an entire offseason to come up with what to do. The Pirates had 14 players make their major league debut this past season, and just the amount of names on the offensive side of things point to potentially them going past that in 2023.
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Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.