BRETT POPE, SHORTSTOP
|Born: May 28, 1996
Drafted: 22nd Round, 658th Overall, 2017
How Acquired: Draft
College: Western Carolina Univ.
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Pope put up a 342/399/465 slash line in 56 games at shortstop as a junior in 2017, with 15 steals in 17 tries. He also committed 15 errors. He also stole 15 bases in 17 attempts. The power numbers were a slight improvement over his sophomore year, when he slugged .379, although his walk rate was down a little and his strikeout rate was up. Overall as a collegian, he put the ball in play and showed good strike zone judgment. He’s considered a solid defender at shortstop. The Pirates drafted his teammate Garrett Brown in the 23rd round in 2016. Pope was one of four shortstops, all college juniors, whom the Pirates drafted consecutively in rounds 21-24, and the team signed all of them, so he’ll have plenty of competition for playing time.
Pope was Morgantown’s most frequent shortstop, but he played only about a third of the team’s games there. He saw a little time at second after Tristan Gray moved to short late in the season. Pope showed a good glove and range, but didn’t hit much and had no power. He did have a good BB:K ratio.
Pope began 2018 in extended spring training. He was assigned to West Virginia in late May and started hitting well, including power that he hadn’t shown the previous year. In late June he moved up to Bradenton and hit more like 2017. He did continue to show good strike zone judgment at both levels. With Oneil Cruz at West Virginia and Adrian Valerio at Bradenton, Pope didn’t play much shortstop. He instead split his time between second and third.
Pope spent the season in a utility role at Altoona. He spent significant time at short, third and second. He just held his own at the plate until August, when he got hot, hitting 316/395/487 while playing every day. He had no significant platoon split.
Pope is a very solid utility player and showed some upside with the bat late in 2019.
|2020: Minor league contract
MiLB Debut: 2017
MiLB FA Eligible: 2023
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: 2020
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 14, 2017: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 22nd round, 658th overall pick; signed on June 21.|