Pirates Prospects Daily: Braylon Bishop Still Looking To Put Raw Power On Display

After drafting Henry Davis first overall back in 2021, the Pittsburgh Pirates used their next four picks on high school players, with each of them getting over slot deals in the process.

Deeper down in the draft, the Pirates swung for the fences again, seeing another opportunity to add a high upside prep player to the system. They selected Braylon Bishop in the 14th round, pick 403rd overall.

While some of the other names get more recognition, Bishop was a highly regarded prospect in his own right. The outfielder from Arkansas was among the top-100 prospects in both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline’s rankings.

Noted for his power potential, speed and defense, Bishop was seen as another great grab for the Pirates, especially late in the draft, even with there being some questions about his swing and ability to make consistent contact.

He made a brief cameo in the FCL after being drafted, and then remained there for the entire 2022 season, slashing .220/.358/.294 with a 96 wRC+ in 134 plate appearances across 36 games played.

There wasn’t much power there, only hitting one home run among five total extra-base hits, so it looks like he’s still looking to tap into that raw power people saw from him during the draft process.

Bishop hit a surprising amount of balls on the ground (56.7 GB%) last year, especially considering the talk about his swing and power potential that could lead to more balls hit into the air.

He had more of the approach of a lead-off type hitter, with an impressive 16.4% walk rate and 10 stolen bases. Although he didn’t quite get to his goals of finishing in the top five of both OBP and stolen bases, he did fairly well based on his playing time.

He would have finished 25th in OBP if he had enough plate appearances to qualify, while he was also 17th in stolen bases despite the lack of playing time. 

At first glance, 36 games doesn’t seem like nearly enough for an entire season, even if the FCL Pirates team only played 55 overall. 

The Pirates invested into the idea that the off the field/side work is just as important for development as actual playing time, and the kind of leap that Bishop takes in year two could make him one of the first ‘success’ stories from it. 

I talked previously about where one of the strengths in the system lies, in the lower levels with the higher upside/high risk type of prospects. Bishop would fit that mold, so it will be interesting to see how far they push him next year and if the off-the-field work made up for the lack of games played.

The Pirates haven’t been shy about getting aggressive with some of their prospects, and with Bishop turning 20 during the first month of the season, it is easy to see a scenario where he starts the year in Bradenton.

Highlight of the Day

Pirates Prospects Daily

By Tim Williams

**I broke down Johan Oviedo’s stuff at the end of the year, looking at whether he should be in the Pirates’ rotation.

**Anthony looked at Carmen Mlodzinski and how he closed out the 2022 season on a strong note.

**Baseball Prospectus had three Pirates in their top 101 prospects.

**What do you want to see on Pirates Prospects in 2023?

Song of the Day

Pirates Prospects Weekly

We took a look at a pair of pitchers in this week’s article drop. I looked at Johan Oviedo, who should factor into the MLB rotation this year.

Should Johan Oviedo Be in the Pirates Opening Day Rotation?

Anthony looked at Carmen Mlodzinski, who could put himself into the MLB mix with a strong season in Indianapolis.

Carmen Mlodzinski Closed Out 2022 On A Strong Note

I’ll have a column on Wednesday looking at the MLB pitching depth.

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.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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Another series in the age old story of “can you teach the hit tool?”.

If clubs thought he’d hit a lick he’d have been a no-doubt first rounder. Let’s see what Baker & Co can do.


I agree but Bishop’s bat speed is something you certainly can’t teach. I’d be giving this kid a million chances to make it. Hopefully he needs significantly less.


A week after the 2020 draft, Carlos Callazo did a “WAY Too Early 2021 Mock Draft”. He had Bishop in the top 10.


It’s right in the title my man.


I was disappointed in his showing last year. Perhaps he will show great improvement this coming season.


For no particular reason, the following players were on the Pirates Opening Day roster last year:

Andrew Knapp
Yoshi Tsutsugo
Michael Chavis
Josh Van Meter
Hoy-Jun Park
Cole Tucker
Diego Castillo
Jake Marisnick
Dillon Peters
Heath Hembree
Anthony Banda
Aaron Fletcher


The only name on that list I’m even the slightest bit sad to see go is Diego, but we got something back for him Disappointing to see Park and Chavis not pan out but that’s more common than not with guys like them.

Last edited 13 days ago by john_fluharty


Even more off topic but this is the latest article. The FORT McKenry is doing a live chat on MLB TradeRumors right now.


The fort is never off topic.


Way off topic, but does anyone knows of good baseball podcast? I listen to MLB Pipeline and Just Baseball which is a site and now a podcast that I became aware through this site. Anyway I would appreciate suggestions, tired of Crime and paranormal podcast….


Hardball hosted by Chris Dimino is great. He interviews a whole slew of baseball greats, some of whom played with and against Ruth, Greenberg, DiMaggio, etc.

As for current stuff, the best Pirates podcast IMO is NorthShore 9.


Baseball Prospectus has been decent. I think MLB media has stuff too.


Thank you, BTW after posting I visited the Just Baseball site, they have their Pirates Top Prospects list and a video to long along with it.


The kid is 19 and still learning. Not going to proclaim him a success or a failure so soon. I will decide more once he hits 22 and has some more game experience. Braylon shows some good things as well as showing he has issues as well. Sounds like every kid once they hit the pros and will have to see how it goes. Fun to watch him and all of the kids.


I’m still in the “show me the results” camp when it comes to off the field work being on par with game experience. I don’t buy it yet. There are things about game experience that you simply can’t get in practice and development. Maybe it works for some but not others?


It really comes down to what specifically you’re trying to accomplish.

If a guy’s swing is inherently flawed and needs significant mechanical adjustment, you’re talking about thousands and thousands of reps to solidify that new muscle memory. No chance of ever doing that in game action alone.

But turning those skills into performance, yeah, nothing’s gonna beat game action.


For most prospects nothing will work. But practice is the only place you can work on improving.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I could see the Pirates having Bish focusing on making contact. The power being there was clear, but might’ve wanted him to increase contact as he had a max effort every swing approach.

Wilbur Miller

From what I saw, he was struggling to make swing decisions. Very tentative. A number of their lower level hitters have that problem. I’m not seeing any evidence that it’s one they can address.


Still young, get the contact skills first, power will develop as he grows.

(What Oneil Cruz hopefully will learn…120mph exits are NOT necessary to get a ball over the fence.)


120 may not help you get the ball over the fence but with the defensive alignment rules. it will make it easier to get on base if the ball is not hit right at a fielder.


contact is necessary, a 120mph breeze doesn’t help the OBP


Of course contact is necessary but a ball traveling 120 mph through the infielder is harder for an infielder to get to when they can’t shift than a ball traveling 90 mph. That was my only point. 🙂


But it gets you noticed and talked about and blows up social media,….


Chicks dig the long ball, or so I’m told by Glavine and Maddox.


Been looking forward to seeing if this kid can hit. As a UT fan, living just outside of Knoxville, I was VERY glad that he chose pro vs college ball.


Another one whose 2023 season will be huge for us. We need some, make that, a lot of these guys to take steps forward rather than sideways or backwards. We will need waves upon waves LF water to cure this drought.

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