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The 2021 first round pick registered his first hit of the Spring, driving a pitch up the middle. He eventually scored, and had two runs on the game as well.
Pirates C prospect Henry Davis gets a single in his 1st AB. He scored on a 2-RBI hit by Tucapita Marcano soon after #hitter pic.twitter.com/lGWTwCYS4b
— Florida Prospect Report (@FLProspectPod) February 28, 2023
Rich Hill vs Oneil Cruz
Before the Pirates played their game on Tuesday, Rich Hill threw some live BP, facing off against some who weren’t playing the Baltimore Orioles later on.
Meant to tweet this earlier, but here’s Rich Hill throwing curveballs to Oneil Cruz. Two takes, then a hard line drive to right. pic.twitter.com/6asad5cmj2
— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) February 28, 2023
Here he throws some curveballs against Oneil Cruz, who drives the last one to right field. Cruz struggled against breaking pitches last year, so it’s good to see him get some extra work on it.
Hill also faced Rodolfo Castro, who is fighting to cement his place as the team’s starting second baseman. He fouls off a pitch, but eventually swings as miss for the strikeout.
Rich Hill gets Rodolfo Castro to swing through a loopy breaker for the strikeout. Hill throwing a sim game here at LECOM Park. Volume up for the whole at-bat. pic.twitter.com/6YpGoOhQDX
— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) February 28, 2023
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.
Do we really want 43 year old Rich Hill less than 60 feet away from Cruz’s 100+ mph batted balls?
Imagine if Oneil Cruz tried hard.
Found TSwag’s HR in an article from the Trib about him. Never knew that he was rated the best bat in the draft that year. Btwn he and Nicky G also being the best bat in the draft, shouldn’t one of them come thru for us?
Here’s the Top 100 College Prospects from 2018
The best player is probably the last one on the list (Jeremy Peña)
That coon bite story tho.
You would think, but both came from Colleges who do not play the same level of competition as do hitters in the SEC, Big 12, or the PAC. Not saying they cannot be that good, just that they started their careers seeing pitching that was much better than they were experiencing in college.
Swagg’s has a home in CF if he can hit. If he cannot, Jack Suwinski will be the backup. Gonzales has a more serious problem in that the kids ahead of him – Castro, Bae, and Peguero are younger and multi-positional hitters, whereas Gonzales is limited to 2B only.
Teams, especially the Pirates, are looking for the Utility-type IF’s, who also have a strong hit tool.
Imo pro pitching at all levels is better than college pitching in every league except maybe the SEC
Gonzales somehow might have become the most misunderstood player in the minors
He’s younger than Castro and just 2 months older than Bae
His career MILB numbers are on a different level than the other three
Career MILB OPS // Player // Triple Slash
890 Nick Gonzales (285 / 384 / 506)
881 Anthony Volpe (263 / 376 / 505)
873 Marcelo Mayer (279 / 394 / 479)
866 Gunnar Henderson (276 / 378 / 488)
800 Oneil Cruz (275 / 341 / 458)
792 Ji-Hwan Bae (294 / 373 / 419)
749 Rodolfo Castro (248 / 312 / 437)
745 Liover Peguero (275 / 328 / 417)
Piraterican, you wanna believe!
And yes, Gonzales really struggled last April and May (with an OPS of about 745 in 186 PA)
If not for that rough patch he’d be closer to a 950 OPS
And it’s not a Greensboro effect as half of that list played a season on that park
Cruz, Volpe, Henderson, and Mayer are considered much better players or prospects
But that’s not because of better minor league stats
correct, absolutely nobody aligns best prospects with best stats for very obvious reasons.
The goal is to project how the player will be as a big leaguer and there’s mounting evidence against Gonzalez in that regard.
Doesn’t mean he can’t buck the trends he’s battling, but I don’t see why we would not adjust expectations with more information known.
My favorite player in his draft year was Zac Veen, who also came with traits thought at the time to be advantageous (Cody Bellinger comp) but which have now shown to be major red flags.
He, too, has fallen down ranking lists based on information gained since that time.
That’s an odd comp
Veen had a wRC+ of 42 in AA
That seems bad
He’s still a grade 50 prospect per FG and others
At that same period of time Gonzales had a wRC+ in the 140 or 150 range
And he’s downgraded to a bit prospect
No, that’s not what I’m say…eh, nevermind, we’re not gonna see eye to eye on this one.
I’m not trying to be argumentative
Nick G is essentially a tennis player with a strong first serve and no second serve
Prospect rankers have concluded he is a failed “player” because he double faults too often
That completely ignores the fact that he’s good at identifying strikes and he smashes the sh*t out of the ball
Sounds to me like you’re describing Eric Longenhagen’s most recent evaluation, so I continue to be at a loss for how you’ve developed such a chip on your shoulder about his projection.
I, myself, have even advocated for him to lean into his inherent power characteristics. He’s been miscast as a hit tool prospect when it’s very obvious that he’s actually power over hit.
The problem becomes that the overall package of what he projects to be as a pro simply isn’t Top 100 quality.
Nobody is calling him a “failed” prospect. Simply not a top one.
And those exit velocity numbers were pretty accurate for the top rookies in 2022
HaHa James Robert coming strong to the mic!!
Yes, with a completely irrelevant comment.
I thought I read in one or more of these spring write-ups that Gonzales has looked good at 3b when he has played there.
Waiting for TSwags to break out this year and be in CF last half of the year in the Bigs.
I hope those Rich Hill / Oneil Cruz sessions are a daily event on and through September
I couldn´t think of a better exercise to improve our team