Due to the pandemic, the 2020 minor league season was canceled, removing a whole year of development for prospects all throughout each team’s systems.
Some took advantage of the time off to really work on the finer points of their game. One of those players was outfielder Matt Fraizer.
After a breakout season in 2021 that saw him get Pirates Minor League Player of the Year, he struggled last year in Altoona, slashing just .219/.284/.333 in 116 games.
Usually there is something different that you can find that might be the reason why a player all of a sudden struggles, especially playing a full season at a new level.
Fraizer’s walk, strikeout, and swinging strike rate all remained similar to his 2021 totals, yet we saw a huge decrease in his overall production.
Returning to Altoona for the 2023 season, Fraizer is off to a far better start than at almost any point last year. He picked up three doubles on Saturday, going 3-for-4 in Altoona’s win.
He has slashed .267/.340/.400 early on in the 2023 season. While the slugging is still a ways from where it was in 2021, he did play a good chunk of that season in hitter-friendly Greensboro.
The Pirates don’t have many natural center fielders in the upper levels currently. Jack Suwinski has been getting the majority of the time in the majors. While he’s filled in admirably (+2 OAA), a corner outfield spot may be more ideal for him long-term.
Travis Swaggerty is in Indianapolis currently, but his trouble staying on the field has carried over into this year as well. Matt Gorski is an excellent fielder, and may have some of the best power in the system, but he also has a lot of swing-and-miss issues.
There’s an opportunity to jump up there and snatch at least an audition to play some outfield in Pittsburgh at some point this season.
Fraizer showed just how good he could be when everything is going right. If he’s finally solving Double-A, he could get a look at the next level as the Pirates continue to shuffle things around.
— JP Massey struck out nine batters across five innings, earning the win for Bradenton. The pitching staff has been strong for the Marauders, posting the second best team ERA in the Florida State League at 3.44, trailing just Dunedin.
It was interesting pairing Massey and Luis Peralta together, as when they are on and throwing strikes, they are both incredibly hard to hit.
They combined to strike out 15 batters across eight innings, walking just three.
— If the Pirates are looking for another option out of the bullpen, at least for the immediate future, Colin Selby is already on the 40-man and is really pitching strong as of late.
After struggling to throw strikes early on (five walks in his first three outings), Selby is back to racking up the strikeouts lately. He’s also kept the opposition off the scoreboard in nine of his last ten appearances.
He’s struck out ten over five innings in the month of May, while walking just two batters.
Daily Video Rundown
Shalin Polanco with his fourth home run of the season #LetsGoBucs pic.twitter.com/RvBk6K8ICA
— Anthony Murphy (@__Murphy88) May 14, 2023
Shalin Polanco picked up his team leading fourth home run of the season, giving the Marauders a 4-0 lead.
Two-run homer from Sammy Siani!!!!
Hoppers: 5 | BlueClaws: 9 pic.twitter.com/zFTf2hy2V0
— Greensboro Grasshoppers (@GSOHoppers) May 14, 2023
Things are starting to click for a lot of the Greensboro outfield, including Sammy Siani, who picked up his fourth of the season. Jase Bowen also hit his seventh as well.
Jase Bowen at it again!!!💣
Hoppers: 2 | BlueClaws: 2 pic.twitter.com/21AZTzXJJy
— Greensboro Grasshoppers (@GSOHoppers) May 13, 2023
Pirates Prospects Daily
By Tim Williams
“This sudden dawning on our consciousness that life is not really a contest to make yes triumph over no; to make a positive triumph over a negative. The two sides go together. Then one sees in this strange way that underlying all that is negative in the world, all that is in the way painful and evil, there is a kind of necessity to it. It goes with the good. It is necessary for the good. Disorder is necessary for the manifestation of order. Just as you must have say a black background to show up a light figure. And then when one sees that, a profound transformation takes place in one’s attitude towards the world. That is to say that instead of looking upon life as a contest, it becomes a dance; it becomes a game. One doesn’t withdraw from it. One doesn’t stop living, but one goes into the game so that these revolving fishes (Yin/Yang) are no longer trying to eat each other but just going around dancing having the biggest fun in the world. So then, must we have fixed in our minds the idea that all the forms and patterns of nature are simply methods of attack or defense? That they are devices for camouflage? That they are simply lures for sexual attraction or other utilitarian purposes? Or can we see in them a dance, a joyous cosmology…” – Alan Watts
Pirates Recap: Pirates Drop Second Game to Orioles
Prospect Watch: Solid Starts from JP Massey and Kyle Nicolas
**Yesterday’s Pirates Prospects Daily looks at Cal Mitchell on a recent hot streak
**Our weekly Saturday draft article looks at the clear group of top five prospects and how they are all worthy of a #1 pick.
**A few minor league moves from yesterday.
Song of the Day
I was listening to this song a lot in my recent Altoona trip. I didn’t know until getting ready to post it here that Blu was wearing a Pirates hat in the video.
This is why Crews should be the 1st pick. It really does not look like there are any future solid starting outfielders in the system that can help out in the next few years. We will be patching the outfield together like we have the last ……well it seems like forever.
I am not sold on Fraiser based on his early production at AA so far. Loved his breakout two years ago but last year was disaster. Seems you can discount what players do in A ball. Once they get to double A it separates the prospects from the suspects. Which category will he fall into.
Going, going, going, gonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnne!
Massey is one of my ‘keep an eye on’ pitchers after he was raved about pre-season.
Surpringly (to me) Suwinski is doing a credible job in CF and if he can hit like he has been (.230-.250 with power) I see no reason to worry about replacing him. Stormin’ Gorman made a career out of playing CF and hitting like that.
As for Fraizer, Gorski (another of my faves), if they can hit MLB pitching consistently, then we’ll find a place for them. If Mitchell (from yesterday) can hit MLB, he can be our DH? Still can’t understand why they haven’t tried him at 1b.
Will Henry Davis be our future RFer if Endy beats him to the show?
Fraizer looks like he calmed down his swing this year, closer to his 2021 season. I agree on Massey, hopefully Mitchell can cut back the k’s and put up a stat line similar to what he did in Indy last year.
What possible harm could it do to bring up some of the younger players? Eighteen runs in the last twelve games? Pathetic. At least watching more prospects would be interesting. While they’re at it try bringing up one of the minor league managers. Again, how could it be any worse?
Center field solution? Two words: Dylan Crews.
It seems everyone wanted the hot hitting Palacios brought up. Only 3 ABs vs nothing but curves and he has looked terrible. Is that why he hasn’t played?
It seems that, whoever gets brought up, sits more than they play. It is maddening.