Pirates Prospects Daily: Who Had the Better Day at the Plate?

Which of the following players had the better game in the Indianapolis 8-6 victory over Toledo last night?

  • Canaan Smith-Njigba went 4-for-5, knocking in five runs. All five hits were singles, though he also added two stolen bases.
  • Nick Gonzales went 4-for-5 as well, though with zero RBIs. He did have four runs, and one of his hits was a triple.
  • Jared Triolo went 1-for-2 with a double, but walked three times and stole a base.

Those were the stat lines. Here’s how they got there:

  1. In the first inning, Gonzales singled with one out, Triolo doubled, and Smith-Njigba singled to knock both batters in.
  2. The third inning saw all three go down in a 1-2-3 frame.
  3. In the fifth, Gonzales singled with two outs, Triolo walked, and Smith-Njigba singled to knock in Gonzales. Triolo would score on a following single from Domingo Leyba, who also had three hits.
  4. Gonzales led things off in the seventh with a one-out triple. Triolo walked, and Smith-Njigba singled to knock in Gonzales. Both Triolo and Smith-Njigba stole a base, but were stranded.
  5. In the eighth inning, Mason Martin broke a tie, and Grant Koch extended the lead with back-to-back solo homers. Two batters later, Gonzales reached with a two out single, forcing a pitching change. Triolo walked again. Smith-Njigba singled to score Gonzales. He then stole second base.

All three batters accounted for six bases.

Gonzales had three singles and a triple. Triolo had three walks, a double, and a stolen base. Smith-Njigba had four singles and two steals.

None of the RBIs from Smith-Njigba would have been possible had Gonzales not gotten on base. None of the runs from Gonzales would have scored had Smith-Njigba not delivered all night with runners in scoring position. None of the runs might have happened had Jared Triolo not consistently bridged the gap between the two hitters.

Truthfully, there’s no “best” player from this group. Baseball is a team sport, where you need a guy setting the table, a guy getting him over, and a guy knocking him in. Last night, Indianapolis had that team effort from their 2-4 hitters, with Gonzales/Triolo/Smith-Njigba combining to go 9-for-12 with a double, a triple, three walks, six runs, five RBIs, and three stolen bases.

But, if we’re having fun here, which player do you take? The guy starting things up, the guy continuing the trend, or the guy making the previous efforts all worthwhile in the end?


PIRATES (64-75) VS Brewers

Score: Brewers 7, Pirates 3
Pittsburgh Starter: Andre Jackson, RHP (5.21)
–Line: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 5 BB, 2 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Connor Joe, 1B (1-for-4, HR [10], 3 RBI)
Attendance: 9,324

Notable Performers

  • Bryan Reynolds, DH (1-for-3, BB)
  • Josh Palacios, LF (2-for-4)
  • Hunter Stratton, RHP (2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K)

One Sentence Recap: Hunter Stratton made his MLB debut with two shutout innings, but the Pirates lost their latest bullpen game.


Let’s watch those hits from Canaan Smith-Njigba last night, starting with the first inning where CSN knocked in two:

Here is another video of CSN knocking in Gonzales:

Here’s Gonzales reaching with a triple, and getting knocked in two batters later:

One last time:


  • The Pirates placed 2023 first overall pick Paul Skenes on the development list, ending his brief pro debut. Skenes combined for 6.2 innings across three levels, finishing with two shutout innings and three strikeouts in his final appearance for Altoona.


Spoiler alert for above: My player of the game pick for Indianapolis is in the Prospect Watch.

Pirates Prospect Watch: Rodolfo Nolasco Hits His 18th Home Run


It took Gonzales, Triolo, and Smith-Njigba reaching base safely 12 times, and Indianapolis still needed home runs from Mason Martin and Grant Koch to win.


Jackson Wolf made his latest start for Altoona, giving up three runs on two homers.


Greensboro was suspended in the sixth, but they got five strong innings from Thomas Harrington, and a home run from Termarr Johnson.


The Marauders remain 1.5 games back in the playoff race with Lakeland. For the full daily action, check out the Prospect Watch.


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Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.

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Pardon me, while I beat my drum…

Re-sign Cutch!!!

Productive year. Great influence. Knows his role. I wanna see this guy in April.


I’m sort of against having him back. He needs to be more than a DH only player. I rather see the DH used to keep bats in the line up while giving players a breather like Endy for example. Then there’s Davis, if his bat improves like we hope and he’s still unplayable, DH is the only solution. Not to mention that $5 million is sizable part of this team budget….


I’m hoping that has already been discussed and that it will be official once all the post season 40 man roster mgmt (post Rule 5) is complete. I certainly don’t see him going elsewhere. Seems simple – if he wants to play (he has said that) and healthy (I guess some concern considering the type of injury) then this seems like a no-brainer.


Bowen to Altoona as well and Gorski to Indy!


Bubba Chandler up to Altoona?!?


A three legged stool only works if all three legs are present. Can’t pick just one. All three deserve equal credit.


Gotta take CSN. Love the production from Gonzales and Triolo too. Gonzales had an error on the night, which breaks the tie for me with him. And I value hits above walks, so gotta give the nod to CSN over Triolo at the plate. Beautiful box score all around though.


I’m not going to pick one based on last night. Gonzo’s adjustments seem to have been good since going back down. I think that in the long term that he can be the most impactful player in MLB. Hopefully his time has been as productive as it seems and the big league staff keeps him on track when he gets the call.


Bae seemed to have benefited from his trip to Indy. Hoping Nick will do the same.


So much to me for Gonzo depends on what pitches he is hitting. His box score without a doubt has looked good, but if he is basically still hammering fastballs and waving at anything that spins then he really has not progressed. I truly don’t know that answer and hope that he has adjusted and is hitting the curve as that would be great news. But if he still can’t hit the curve, that will show itself at the major league baseball level whether the AAA coaches come with him or he is turned over the MLB coaches.


Not to diminish Gonzales or Triolo, but I would go with CSN. His at bats seemed more pressure packed and I like players that can perform under pressure.

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