Welcome back to our weekly Pirates minor league roundup, where we recap the top performances and noteworthy happenings within the Pirates organization. As always, every Monday we bring you the highlights from the past week, focusing on standout batters and pitchers making strides in the Pirates’ minor league system.
Last week was highlighted by Henry Davis and Po-Yu Chen. We needed to lower our minimum plate appearance requirement this week from 20 down to 17, due to multiple rainouts throughout the system. Only a handful of players had 20 plate appearances for the week, so I needed to drop that minimum to first number that produced ten solid batting performances. I stayed with the three inning requirement for pitchers.
BATTER OF THE WEEK: Josh Palacios
Josh Palacios had quite a week after spending the early part of the season with Altoona. You won’t find many performances over a week than what he pulled off by going 10-for-18, with four doubles, three homers, 13 RBIs and six walks, leading to a 2.056 OPS in 24 plate appearances. That was with Indianapolis losing a game due to rain.
The 27-year-old Palacios has a 1.027 OPS through 15 games this season. He’s a depth option for the outfield, with minimal MLB experience and a .498 OPS over 91 plate appearances during that time. He has a .785 OPS over 465 minor league games.
BATTING AROUND THE SYSTEM
Josh Bissonette – Bissonette is getting a chance for regular playing time and making the most of it. The 26-year-old infielder hit .313 with four walks and two steals in 20 plate appearances, which earned him the last spot among hitters on this list. He has a .280 average and a .699 OPS for the season in 15 games.
Cal Mitchell – Mitchell made it here because of one huge game in which he collected five hits. He was mired in a slump up until that point, and you can’t really say he broke out because of the one game. He’s hitting .212/.264/.282 over 23 games this year.
Aaron Shackelford – Shackelford got onto the list due to the lower minimum. He had a .971 OPS in 17 plate appearances, which included his first homer of the season and five walks. The 26-year-old infielder has a .737 OPS over 19 games this year.
Domingo Leyba – Leyba is getting extra time due to injuries, as well as Drew Maggi going to the majors. He made the most of it, hitting .368/.429/.474 over 21 plate appearances. The 27-year-old Leyba has no business being in Altoona due to his age/experience, but he’s doing what he can to get out of there, posting a .927 OPS over 17 games.
Liover Peguero – Peguero went 5-for-17, with two doubles and four walks, leading to an .840 OPS for the week. He’s been off to a slow start, so this was a nice way to end April. He finished with a .626 OPS in 16 games, highlighted by six stolen bases.
Tsung-Che Cheng – Cheng has played well wherever he has been, usually being the catalyst on a winning team dating back to his amateur days. He hit .278/.381/.667 last week in 21 plate appearances, with two homers. The 21-year-old has a .910 OPS in 18 games this year. He has four homers this year, after collecting six all of last year and four during his rookie season in 2021. He also has seven steals in eight attempts.
Hudson Head – Head homered twice this past week, which put him on the list. His .927 OPS in 19 plate appearances has pushed him to a .743 OPS over 17 games to start the season, while repeating Greensboro. Right now he’s on a pace for putting up the same numbers as last year.
Mike Jarvis – The 25-year-old Jarvis capped off a great month by putting up a 1.739 OPS over 18 plate appearances. He homered four times and hit for the cycle for the week. He has a 1.078 OPS over 17 games this year.
Rodolfo Nolasco – Nolasco put up an .850 OPS in his first week back after a Spring Training injury. He had five hits and four went for doubles. His big issue crept up though, with nine strikeouts in 20 plate appearances. That will be something to watch as he repeats Low-A.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Bubba Chandler
No pitcher had a huge week, so I had a few options here as you will see below. I picked Chandler due to the amount of runners he allowed, along with his strikeout total. He went five shutout innings in his one start, with three hits, two walks and nine strikeouts, in what is likely his best career start (he has only pitched 18 games total).
He’s had a bit of an issue with control this year through four starts, plus pitching in Greensboro won’t help him this year. He’s got a 3.71 ERA through 17 innings, with 21 strikeouts and a 1.59 WHIP. His two worst starts have been on the road, which won’t likely be a season-long pattern.
PITCHING THROUGH THE SYSTEM
Kent Emanuel – Emanuel is trying to make it back to the majors as a starter. That didn’t go well in his start on April 19th when he allowed nine runs in 1.2 innings. He bounced back with four shutout innings last week. He had success in his brief big league time in 2021, but was injured for half of last year and never reached the majors.
JC Flowers – Flowers threw 3.1 shutout innings in an extended relief appearance last week. That leaves him with a 3.38 ERA and 14 strikeouts over 13.1 innings to start his Triple-A time, though he’s allowed 21 base runners during that brief time.
Angel Perdomo – Perdomo got the tenth spot, and just like with the top spot, I had a few different options for the final player. The 29-year-old with 22 games of big league experience allowed one run over 3.2 innings last week. He has a 4.35 ERA in 10.1 innings, which comes with 16 strikeouts.
Sean Sullivan – While he has been building his pitch count, which has limited his outings, Sullivan has thrown shutout ball in all three starts this year, including five innings last week. He has a 1.11 WHIP and 12 strikeouts in 11.2 innings this season. Keep an eye on him, he got strong reports from Spring Training, which has carried over so far.
Grant Ford – Ford threw 4.1 shutout innings last week, while picking up seven strikeouts. The 25-year-old had a rough debut this year, but he’s allowed one run on three hits over 9.2 innings since.
Valentin Linarez – Linarez allowed an unearned run over 3.1 innings during his start last week. His praise from the Pirates for his pitches has always been higher than what the stats show, so he could be a breakout prospect one of these days if he puts everything together. He has one rough outing, mixed with two runs over 11 innings in his other three games.
Anthony Solometo – Solometo made two starts last week, combining for two runs over nine innings on four hits, six walks and ten strikeouts. It was a great week (except for the walks) considering Greensboro was at home. Through five starts this year, he has a 3.86 ERA, a 1.33 WHIP, a .200 BAA and 26 strikeouts in 21 innings.
Thomas Harrington – Harrington was a first round pick out of college, so you would expect him to dominate Low-A. The level as a whole feels like it has turned into more raw tools players, rather than polished fillers mixed with toolsy players, due to the roster limits being imposed. The level of play at Low-A has been rough to watch these last two years, so a high profile college starter should have no issues. Harrington had one bad game, mixed with three games in which he has thrown 16 innings. He should be at Greensboro, and that’s not based on stats.
Dominic Perachi – Last year’s 11th round pick hasn’t had a smooth transition to Low-A, despite what I just said about college players at the level. He made it here due to 4.1 shutout innings and six strikeouts, but he still allowed seven base runners. Opponents are hitting .326 against him, with a 2.06 WHIP this season.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.
Very nice to see Cody finally getting the opportunity to flash his filth and thats exactly what he did.
Bucs just got better.
Remember last year Indy naming Bolton opening day starter days before
The SWAGS of the Arms skipped levels and hadn’t thrown a competitve pitch in 30 months
He gave up some hits and had control issues but you could tell the stuff was there, just needed time to polish it up
Make them KEEP you up kid!
There’s a great piece on Bednar at FG. Bottom line . . . he’s staggeringly good.
When I was his age, I was just . . . staggering.
Bubba and Solo are eligible to pitch in this summer´s futures game?
How about introducing another category such as coaching future hitters, and the first two persons I would recommend are Callix Crabbe and Hitting Coach Jon Nunnally. Recognizing a problem with making contact, whatever they are doing is working.
Breaking it down to the basics, Henry Davis and Mason Martin are both 15 Walks and 15 K’s, Liover Peguero is 8 Walks 13 K’s, and Lolo Sanchez is 11 Walks and 15 K’s. Putting the ball in play more often is an important step forward.
have gone, not have went, John . . . just sayin’ and thanks for all you do
Lots of older prospects doing better than younger prospects. However, Peguero’s numbers are becoming encouraging.
I expect walks from Bubba (I compare him to Bobby Witt) but not Solometo. I hope that Anthony fixes that. Move Harrington up already!
Good thing our ML roster is so young because our system is looking a little weak right now due to promotions, injuries and underproduction.