Pirates Prospects Daily: Maikol Escotto Hoping to Benefit From Backfield Work

Maikol Escotto was one of four players the Pirates acquired in the Jameson Taillon trade, and the only one that hasn’t played in the majors yet.

He’s also still just 20-years-old (June birthday) and has already gotten a taste of High-A, although it wasn’t the best of experiences.

The young shortstop was still just 19-years-old when he began the year with the Greensboro Grasshoppers, on a team with the likes of Endy Rodriguez, Henry Davis and Dariel Lopez.

Escotto struggled across 160 plate appearances, slashing just .164/.228/.342 and struck out 36.3% of the time.

He was eventually sent to the Florida Complex League, to get some backfield work for a few weeks, before playing a couple of games and then joining Bradenton on July 3.

Even though this was his second stint with the Marauders, at 20-years-old (by the time he joined the team), he was still young for the level, and put up a slightly above average wRC+ (109). 

Overall, Escotto slashed .253/.333/.391, with two home runs, 13 RBI and three stolen bases. He posted a 77% contact rate, and had an 83.4 average exit velocity in his time with Bradenton. There’s definitely potential to grow into more power, as he flashed in Greensboro when he did make contact, as Fangraphs graded him with plus raw power currently.

With potentially another crack at Greensboro this upcoming season, Escotto will factor into the middle infielder picture there with Tsung-Che Cheng and at some point, Termarr Johnson

He’s a capable fielder at shortstop, and is incredibly experienced for a player his age. Just at shortstop, he has already racked up over 1,000 innings at the position, while also recording 871 plate appearances.

The Pirates eliminated their extra Complex League team last year so that they can utilize backfield work with some players, seeing that as just a strong alternative to playing games. Escotto got only three FCL games despite spending nearly three weeks assigned there, so he will be a great test to see just how effective their process was.

If there was an immediate payout, it was that he did cut down his swing and miss — going from a 17.3 SwStr% in Greensboro to 11.7% with Bradenton. 

Maybe a bit on the lottery ticket side when acquired, he’s certainly showed some potential to this point, and showed progression in his two stops at Single-A. Now it will be about taking those steps in his second attempt in Greensboro.

Highlight of the Day

Pirates Prospects Daily

By Tim Williams

**Ethan Hullihen looked at what it means for a player to be designated for assignment.

**Missed yesterday? Anthony wrote about how Bradenton could have a crowded outfield picture.

Song of the Day

Pirates Prospects Weekly

Ethan Hullihen is working on a new feature to create a Glossary of transaction details on the site. His first installment is a look at how Optional and Outright Assignments work.

Pirates Business: How Do Optional and Outright Assignments Work?

Wilbur Miller looked at the Pirates’ 2019 draft, which is led by Quinn Priester, but has a lot of other interesting prospects still around.

WTM: The Pirates’ Quirky 2019 Draft

Bubba Chandler was a highlight of the 2021 draft, and Anthony Murphy looked at the progress and potential he showed during his debut season.

Bubba Chandler Showed Progress and Potential In His Debut Season

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.

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Really dig the Black Pumas – saw them on an episode of Austin City Limits, they were really really good.


Maikol Escotto going to A+ as a 19 year old was probably overreaching, but he fielded .945 in 32 games at SS, and 974 in 9 games at 2B. In 160 PA’s, the slash line was shaky, and he struck out a lot, but 4 doubles, 2 triples, and 6 HR’s – a HR every 26 AB?

The defensive numbers are excellent for his age at that level, and I do not know how much I would want to subtract from his approach as a hitter, without taking a long look at his game approach at the plate and his BP. How about this – wherever we decide to start Termarr Johnson, we match him up with Maikol Escotto at SS as the MI in A or A+. I think both could be ready for A+ and that would be an electric pairing.

Wilbur Miller

Escotto’s pattern is he gets off to a good start, but after a few weeks the pitchers realize he’ll chase everything and that’s it. In 2022, he had 4 HRs in his first 41 ABs and 2 in his next 105. In 2021 he had 7 in his first 57 games and one in his last 35.


I can only hope that all these kids get a fair shot or a chance to move to on to another organization. Can’t miss prospects are a very small percentage and organizations have to recognize that and pull the trigger. Sadly Pittsburgh is not one of those.


Brother Ray Charles one day & the Black Pumas the other? Mercy, Tim’s on a roll!


This game is hard. In what other sport can you be considered a hall of fame player when you get a hit 3 out of 10 at bats. So lets let the kids germinate down on the farm before deciding a players faith.


In fact I can’t think of any other sports that use at bats 🙂


True. What I am showing is how difficult the game is for a hitter. Compare that to basketball where 50% is considered good..



b mcferren

field hockey?


Hat tip to Dreker who had Dariel Lopez ahead of Escotto well before the national outlets.


What will be interesting to watch is will Lopez stay ahead of Escotto or will Escotto catch back up? Just nice to have guys competing for spots these days even in the minors.

Wilbur Miller

I’d bet on Lopez. He chases too much, but still mostly makes it work. Escotto is strictly hacketty hack hack. One guy needs some adjustments, the other needs a total makeover. It’s unfortunate because defensively Escotto is massively better.


I hope this doesn’t sound cruel, but Escotto needs to adapt and improve or he’s going home.

I’m sure he doesn’t want to go home. He wants to advance. I’d be surprised if he is done.


He’s 20….


~4 months younger than Lopez. That is why I am curious as to how both improve, regress or stays the same in the offense and defense. Both so young and both will be fun to watch over the season.


You are probably right but will be interesting to see if the extra work that Anthony mentioned paid off at all. even modest improvement in either Lopez’s fielding or Escotto’s hitting could make a huge difference in either separating or closing the gap. Just some thing else to make the minors interesting. 🙂


Speaking of complex league upside baseball America has an article with one fantasy dynasty league player to consider per team


and they picked Smerlyn Valdez whose 90th percentile EV was 106. For reference 106 mph is the league average 95th!!! -% EV in the majors. He is 18 years old. That is ridiculous power for a teen.

I had not heard anything about him before. Any prospects writers have thoughts?


Last edited 1 month ago by sewer2001

Yesterday Brandenton outfield piece!


Ah yea. Missed that. The blurb doesn’t mention his pop, though. Seems to be significant aspect of his prospectdom.


Good find! I never would never had seen it if you didn’t link.


“Smerlyn the Smagician!”

He makes baseballs disappear.


Deep tracks ! .362 OBP over 228 ABs, just turned 19. Here is Wilbur from November: “Valdez is the power hitter here, again apart from White. From just looking at the stats, you’d probably think he’s a prime candidate to break out. He drew a ton of walks, struck out a lot but not at a frightening rate (K rates that used to seem like deal-breakers a few years ago are unremarkable now), and his OPS went from .407 in June to .976 in July and .892 in August. He also seems like a candidate to move to first, given the logjam in the outfield.”


From a buried discussion…

FWIW it does appear likely that the Pirates will be rated as the top farm system by Fangraphs when they get around to doing those rankings (April, May, June?)

Not sure if Fangraphs is still considered a good source for that type of thing


Doesn’t Longengahen use almost the same exact method for farm system ranking as Kiley?


I think so, but maybe the dollar value has changed for their systems. Also, Kiley is much higher than Eric on some of these players and systems. For instance, Kiley put the value on Baltimore as almost $150M more than Eric had them. Looks like Kiley has Cleveland almost $50M higher, Cincy is about $25M higher. It’ll be interesting to see what FG puts the Bucs at.


Current leaderboard

3 days ago
Orioles: 324.5
Dodgers: 284
Guardians: 265.5
Rays: 257
Reds: 250
Brewers: 213.5
White Sox: 123


Leaderboard from last summer

1 BAL $364M
2 CLE $354M
3 PIT $346M
4 TBR $321M
5 CHC $305M
6 ARI $269M
7 LAD $257M
8 CIN $252M
9 BOS $245M
10 NYM $234M


That’s a good question

They wrote a book together and this is the Fangraphs tool

Not sure if things have been simplified for the ESPN work



Thanks buddy!


Good point. Practice is really the only place you can work on specific skills (e.g. footwork on backhand plays), especially defensive skills.


Hmmm, maybe not my pick to break out. Thanks Murph!


Still may a good pick if the back field work pays off 🙂

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