Injuries happen, they are very much a part of the game. It’s unfortunate when a player misses an extended period, especially in the minors as that is time they can’t spend on development.
This past season the Pirates saw a couple of players return after long layoffs, both Aaron Shortridge and Cody Bolton among them.
As we continue to head towards the 2023 season, the Pirates could once again have a few more players returning to the field after a long layoff. Here’s a look at a few of them.
A 30th round pick by the Pirates back in 2018, Jack Herman has struggled to make it out of A-Ball, and only recorded 136 plate appearances this past season with Greensboro.
He began 2021 with the Grasshoppers as well, but struggled, striking out 48.1% of the time before being sent down to Bradenton for the rest of the season.
Herman flashed some of that raw power in his bat while with the Marauders, slashing .253/.325/.493 (116 wRC+) with 13 home runs and 25 total extra-base hits in 243 plate appearances.
The outfield picture in both Greensboro and Bradenton are going to be a little crowded, so at-bats could get hard to come by, but Herman has experience and power potential that could let him stand above the rest.
It’s not hard to take notice of Will Matthiessen, as he towers over the rest of the crowd, standing at 6 ‘7″. He hit 13 home runs for Greensboro in 2021 and entered this past season set to split time at first base with Aaron Shackelford. Matthiessen got hurt early on, missed the rest of the season, and Shackelford went on to lead the system in home runs.
He’s a high strikeout guy, and he will probably have to compete for at-bats in Altoona with Jacob Gonzalez next season.
If Brennan Malone didn’t have bad luck, he’d have no luck at all. There was a time during the pre-draft work in 2019 that some debated who the best prep pitcher was in the draft – Malone or Quinn Priester.
Priester made it to Triple-A this past year, and pitched in the Arizona Fall League, while Malone has amassed just 27 innings since being drafted all the way back in 2019.
After finally working his way back, Malone made it just five innings in 2022 before needing shoulder surgery that ended his season.
Bolton and Shortridge last pitched in 2019 before coming back this past season. While it won’t nearly be as long, the last time Braxton Ashcraft stepped on a mound in a regular season game was July 21, 2021 for the Greensboro Grasshoppers.
He put up some impressive strikeout/walk numbers (25.9 K%, 7.6 BB%), before the injury, so the fact he progressively struggled as the season unfolded makes you wonder just how long his arm was bugging him beforehand.
Highlight of the Day
Pirates Prospects Daily
By Tim Williams
**Osvaldo Bido is a sleeper to help the Pirates out of the bullpen in 2023. He’s starting in winter ball in the Dominican Republic this year, and John Dreker broke down his progress in this week’s Pirates Winter Report.
**Sammy Siani had a big game in winter ball, and Miguel Andújar homered. John Dreker has the latest winter league updates.
**Missed yesterday? Anthony Murphy and I broke down the signing of Carlos Santana, and the first base position.
Song of the Day
Pirates Prospects Weekly
Every Saturday, John Dreker has the Pirates Winter Report, which recaps the recent progress of players in all of the leagues, along with a report each week on one player in winter ball. This week’s profile is on right-handed pitcher Osvaldo Bido.
Ethan Hullihen will have his latest Pirates Business update on Sunday at noon.