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’s top players were Aaron Shackelford and Caleb Smith. This week, we look at top performances from Henry Davis and JP Massey, as they were the top qualified players (minimum 20 plate appearances/three innings pitched) for the week.
BATTER OF THE WEEK: Henry Davis
This is the second time that Henry Davis has been named as the Batter of the Week. He also had another strong week in between in which he didn’t have enough plate appearances to qualify. Davis led the system with .368/.478/.790 slash line in 23 plate appearances. He connected on two doubles and two homers, while drawing three walks, against two strikeouts.
Davis played the outfield twice this week, after playing it just once this year before this past week. He is hitting like he should be promoted to Indianapolis, but if the plan is to keep him at catcher most of the time, he is exactly where he should be. He’s batting .308/.452/.648 through 25 games. That gives him the best OPS in the league.
BATTING AROUND THE SYSTEM
Nick Gonzales – Gonzales hit .318/.400/.500 in 25 plate appearances this past week. He had seven hits, including two doubles and a triple. He’s hitting .279/.358/.452 over 27 games this year. That’s a nice slash line, but it comes with a 35% strikeout rate, which would not translate well to the majors, so he still needs some time.
Cal Mitchell – Mitchell hit .412/.542/.647 in 24 plate appearances, with a double, homer, four walks and two HBP. He got off to a slow start this year, which was only interrupted by one five-hit game in the middle. He now has a 1.051 OPS in May, after posting a .533 OPS in April.
Malcom Nunez -Nunez is basically in the same spot as Mitchell, just without the five-hit game to break up the struggling. This is his first big week. He hit .316/.381/.474 in 21 plate appearances. He’s hitting .213/.276/.312 over 32 games to start the year. He’s only 22 years old, so there is time.
Andres Alvarez – Alvarez was just outside the top ten for OPS, but that small difference was made up by having a better overall week with more plate appearances than the last cut. He hit .300/.440/.400 in 25 plate appearances, with two doubles and four walks. He had a strong off-season in Colombia that has not carried over as he repeats Altoona. The 26-year-old has a .584 OPS through 29 games.
Hudson Head – Head hit .278/.350/.500 in 20 plate appearances last week. He had a double, homer and two walks. He’s hitting .260/.333/.480 in 27 games this year, showing a slightly lower OBP than last year in Greensboro, though his slugging is 93 points higher.
Sammy Siani – Siani had one of the highest OPS for the week, but he had just two hits. It helped that they were both homers, plus he walked six times in 20 plate appearances. His OPS through 23 games is 263 points higher than last year at Greensboro.
Jesus Castillo – Castillo had a big first week of the season, then slumped a bit since then until this past week. He hit .350/.435/.550 in 23 plate appearances. The 19-year-old, who won the FCL batting title last year, is hitting .250/.420/.308 in 31 games this season.
Rodolfo Nolasco – Nolasco has been hitting since he joined Bradenton three weeks into the season. He hit .350/.458/.600 in 24 plate appearances last week. He had two doubles, a homer and four walks. He has a .998 OPS in 16 games, with a 30% strikeout rate that is a nice improvement on last year’s number with Bradenton.
Javier Rivas – Rivas hit .375/.423/.542 in 26 plate appearances last week, with seven singles, a double and a homer. He’s hitting .232/.277/.304 in 29 games this year. His 37.5% strikeout rate needs to improve.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK: JP Massey
Massey was my pick this spring as a sleeper prospect who could turn into a legit prospect. That pick was made due to glowing reports from Spring Training. His control hasn’t been a strong point so far this year, so he might remain a sleeper unless he can have plenty of starts like the one he had this week.
He tossed five shutout innings on two hits, two walks and nine strikeouts. He has a 3.47 ERA through 23.1 innings, with 35 strikeouts. The velocity/off-speed pitches are all there for future success, he just needs better control consistently.
PITCHING THROUGH THE SYSTEM
Osvaldo Bido – Bido had an impressive relief performance after following an opener. He went five scoreless innings on four hits, no walks and four strikeouts. You never know what you might get with him. At his best, he’s a strong middle relief option/spot starter at the big league level. He can have bad outings as well due to his control. He’s got the pitch-mix of a starter, along with nice mid-90s velocity, but he’s already 27 years old, so it’s difficult to project much more.
Cameron Junker – Junker made three relief appearances last week, resulting in four shutout innings. He had some control issues, but managed to keep the runs off of the board. He has a 2.19 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in 12.1 innings this year.
Travis MacGregor – MacGregor had a start and a relief appearance, combining for 4.1 scoreless innings. He had control issues this week as well, yet got out of them thanks to three double plays. He has a 1.74 ERA, a 1.40 WHIP and 25 strikeouts in 23.1 innings.
Juan Minaya – Minaya tossed 3.2 scoreless over three appearances. He’s a former big leaguer in Double-A, so his 0.57 ERA should come with some caution that he’s just a veteran dominating younger hitters.
Aaron Shortridge – You could make a case for Shortridge as the Pitcher of the Week. It was a coin flip between him and Massey. I actually went with Game Score as the decider, with Massey picking up a 70 GS, compared to 66 for Shortridge, with Masey’s strikeouts providing the difference. Either way, it was a strong start for Shortridge, who went six shutout innings on four hits, one walk and three strikeouts. He now has a 3.98 ERA in 31.2 innings, with 21 strikeouts and a 1.26 WHIP.
Will Kobos – Kobos has been dominant all season. His 3.1 scoreless with seven strikeouts this week now has him at 16.1 scoreless innings on four hits, 20 strikeouts and an 0.55 WHIP. Get this man to Altoona by tomorrow.
Dante Mendoza – Mendoza has basically been quiet since joining the system in the Moroff/Luplow deal with the Cleveland Indians. He had a nice week that just went by, throwing 4.1 scoreless with seven strikeouts. However, that brought him down to a 4.86 ERA and a 1.68 WHIP for the season.
Carlos Lomeli – Lomeli had two shutout appearances that resulted in four scoreless innings. He has a 2.45 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 14.2 innings. The caveat here is that he’s 24 years old in Low-A.
Dominic Perachi – Perachi allowed a run over five innings on three hits, a walk and nine strikeouts. He has a 2.61 ERA in 20.2 innings, with 27 strikeouts and a 1.45 WHIP. He did not pitch last year after being drafted in the 11th round.
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.
I am following the Siani vs Head numbers throughout the year. Both players at one point were excited about but each year I lose hope. I want to be proven wrong.
Hope the both can keep progressing, cut down the k’s and make more consistent hard contact. If they can it would be great to see them in Altoona, need to know if they need protection in rule 5 draft.
Maybe they could get these guys to Altoona before Connor Scott’s OPS drops below .000.
Can’t believe Scott got 3 hits last week, still think he’s a good athlete just can’t hit. Altoona’s out field is pretty suspect, a couple guys that are still on the prospect board are getting up there in age.
Interesting writeup of the Pirates’ int’l signings at BA. It says David Matoma was up to 96 in April.
Any other good notes to share?
Pitching looks like the key.
We already knew Carlos Mateo was topping out at 98. The projection lefty, Janderson Linarez, is up to 92. The third big bonus P (beyond Shim and Mateo), Bladimir Pichardo, has grown to 6-6 and has reached 94. (Can’t remember how much of this John already had.)
The Cuban OF, Jauregui, is showing some pop.
I didn’t realize the largest Pirates bonus went to the C Jonathan Rivero from Venezuela
From the reports, I thought sure Shim would get 1.5M or 2M or something. Thought he’d get the biggest one.
I am absolutely loving this, thanks for sharing!
What more does Will Kobos have to do to get promoted? I talked to him several times in 2022 at Altoona. What a classy, intelligent, polite young man he is. Hoping for his continued success.
Just checked the #s. There were a few guys he didn’t strike out. Maybe that’s it.
Why not just bring Davis up and DFA Hedges and Andujar?
BC’s explanation is that Davis needs to catch every day. That’s why he’s caught 18 of Altoona’s 31 games. That’s a little over three a week.
Really, they’re just stalling. Once Endy, Davis, Priester, etc., come up, they can’t hide behind the rebuilding excuse any more. Accountability day will have arrived. They’re pushing that day back as far as possible.
LOL. I’m sure the FO is deathly afraid of being held accountable for the winning team they’ve put together in Pittsburgh.
Let’s see where they are in two weeks.
Gotta respect the x-axis.
No, let’s see where they are now. Hmmm. Second place. You can live the goalposts in two weeks again, as I’m sure you will.