Our new Prospect Watch features daily updates on three players in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ system. Looking for the nightly game recaps? Check out Pirates Prospects Live:
Yesterday’s Results: Pirates End Losing Streak, Solometo Throws Five Shutout For Altoona
Today’s Action: The Type of Energy This Slumping Team Needed
Today, Ryan Palencer takes a look at Nick Gonzales from his time in Indianapolis, I look at Jared Triolo as a depth option, and John Dreker has a report on rookie ball pitcher Adolfo Oviedo.
RYAN PALENCER: Nick Gonzales, 2B, Pittsburgh
Nick Gonzales has enjoyed an eventful first half in Indianapolis prior to his promotion to Pittsburgh on Friday.
One thing is clear: Gonzales steps to the plate looking to make contact.
While it doesn’t always happen, aggressiveness hasn’t lacked in his approach.
“He always has the green light and rarely gets caught in between,” Indianapolis hitting coach Eric Munson said. “By nature, he’s an aggressive hitter. One of the things he’s gotten a lot better at is selective aggressiveness. Stuff that he would chase early in the year, for the last month and a half, he’s been learning how to take the tough pitches.”
Munson mentioned Gonzales has displayed restraint on his aggressiveness lately, and pointed specifically to an improved judgement on pitches that start as strikes and break out of the zone.
The numbers show this as well. In June, Gonzales has walked 17 times, which nearly matches his April and May totals combined.
He has also struck out just 18 times in June after 30 strikeouts in April and 26 in May. Munson credits the work Gonzales put in to this improvement.
“He’s put a lot in at the cage,” Munson said. “There are a couple of things move-wise he’s been working on. He’s been all in about his work. He’s one of those guys who’s going to show up everyday. No matter what happened the day before, he’s going to show up with the same mentality to try to get better every day.”
As for learning his routine and work ethic, he credited some more experienced players from his time in big league camp in the Spring.
“I think what is really important is finding a good routine,” Gonzales said. “Watching some of the big league guys, seeing what they do, and being able to implement that into your game. It’s a long season, so if you can keep everything the same and keep a good routine, I think it’s really important.”
Learning this routine and hard work, now has Gonzales sharing the same clubhouse with those who taught it just a handful of months back.
TIM WILLIAMS: Jared Triolo, 3B, Indianapolis (AAA)
Henry Davis and Nick Gonzales were promoted this week. Looking for another guy in the minors to watch for a potential callup this year? How about Jared Triolo. Last night, Triolo had a four hit game, picking up a double and two triples. In the month of June, Triolo is hitting for a .333/.408/.530 line.
One of the benefits Triolo has is his versatility. He’s got the potential to play all over the field, with Gold Glove defense at third base, and the range and athleticism to play shortstop or center field. While he can play those positions, I’m not sure that Triolo could start outside of a corner role.
The Pirates actually had Triolo playing shortstop regularly at the end of May, starting him at the position almost daily for close to two weeks. That ended when the team acquired shortstop Alika Williams. The the last week, Triolo got a start at second base. Most of his time is at third, where he’s blocked by Ke’Bryan Hayes. Triolo provides a luxury of depth at that position, but if he keeps hitting, the Pirates could bring him up for other positions as a utility guy to add to their mix of variability.
JOHN DREKER: Adolfo Oviedo, RHP, DSL Pirates Gold
Yesterday’s Dominican Summer League games saw both starters for the Pirates throw no-hit ball. Adolfo Oviedo pitched for the Pirates Gold squad, going five innings in his outing, which included six strikeouts. He has been nearly impossible to hit in his second season of pro ball. The 18-year-old right-hander has pitched a total of 11.2 innings over his three starts, allowing just one hit. That hit was an infield hit.
Things haven’t been all roses for Oviedo. He has an .031 BAA and a 1.03 WHIP this season, which lets you know that he has been very wild. It’s an interesting combo because his rookie season was basically the complete opposite. He had a .273 BAA last year, allowing 39 hits in 35.1 innings. He didn’t have a single outing last year in which he didn’t give up a hit. He already has two this year, as well as one hit over three innings in his other game. On the flip side, he has 3+ walks in every game this year. He had zero games (out of 12 appearances) in which he walked three or more batters last year.
Oviedo was signed in May of 2022, which was 4 1/2 months after he was first eligible to sign, though I was told that his contract took some time to approve. He was working out with the Pirates at the time, so he was able to get right into games once he was eligible. I was able to get a scouting report in early June. He has a 6’1″ frame, with plenty of room to add when he signed, weighing in at 165 pounds. A few pictures I saw from months later showed that he still has plenty of room to add upper body and lower body strength. He best pitch at the time of his signing was a low-90s sinker, with good downward movement. He also mixes in a slider and changeup.
It’s a bit difficult to figure out how a guy loses control of his pitches, yet he’s impossible to hit. Something is going to have to give here, good or bad. As you can imagine from a league full of young hitters trying to impress anyone watching, you have to be pretty wild to average a walk per inning. There’s no one in the 50-team DSL that has a similar innings total/walk rate/hit rate combo. His BAA is 69 points better than the second best mark in the league. It’s going to be interesting to see which direction he goes in over the next two months.
Prospect Watch Archives
6/23: Michael Kennedy, Po-Yu Chen, Wyatt Hendrie
6/22: Braxton Ashcraft, Jase Bowen, Maikol Escotto
6/21: Termarr Johnson, Connor Scott, Enmanuel Terrero
6/20: Cal Mitchell, Travis MacGregor, Alessandro Ercolani
6/19: Henry Davis, Bubba Chandler, Julian Bosnic
6/18: Jared Jones, Matt Gorski, Tony Blanco Jr.
6/17: Liover Peguero, Dominic Perachi, Carlos Mateo
The Prospect Watch runs every day at noon, featuring three players from the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system.