BA Newsletter: Get Analysis, Rankings Delivered To Your Inbox!

Pittsburgh Pirates

Prospects Overview

Top 30 Prospects

Click prospect for player report

Prospect Lists

Best Tools

Top Prospects of the Decade
(Listed with 2023 organization)

Top Draft Picks of the Decade
(Listed with 2023 organization)

Player Reports

  1. 1. Endy Rodriguez | C
    Endy Rodriguez
    Born: May 26, 2000
    Bats: B Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 170
    Signed By: Anderson Taveras (Mets).
    Minors: .323/.407/.590 | 25 HR | 4 SB | 458 AB

    BA Grade/Risk: 65/High

    Track Record: The Mets didn't spend much to sign Rodriguez, inking him for $10,000 as an 18-year-old out of the Dominican Republic in 2018, but they're paying the price now for letting him go. New York shipped Rodriguez to the Pirates in January 2021 in a three-team deal that sent Joe Musgrove to the Padres and netted the Mets Joey Lucchesi. Rodriguez has raked ever since. He won the batting title in the Low-A Florida State League in 2021, hitting .294 with 15 homers. He then took another leap forward in 2022, hitting 25 homers and posting a .996 OPS across three levels and ending the year with Triple-A Indianapolis. Rodriguez was especially impactful from July 1 to the end of the season, ranking first among qualified minor league hitters in average (.377), slugging (.723), OPS (1.181) and extra-base hits (43).

    Scouting Report: The switch-hitting Rodriguez turned in one of 2022's biggest breakout performances on the strength of his exceptional bat-to-ball skills and contact quality. Scouts covet Rodriguez's pure hitting ability--he has hit .310 in full-season ball the past two seasons--and his power emerged more consistently from both sides of the plate in 2022. Rodriguez always seems to have a plan at the plate and controls the strike zone well. His proclivity for strong swing decisions allows him to maximize his above-average power potential despite middle-of-the-road exit velocities. Rodriguez has steadily added strength to his wiry frame, too, and is very athletic. Those in the Pirates organization rave about his aptitude, leadership and baseball IQ. Rodriguez made strides defensively in 2022. He improved his blocking and receiving, especially after he settled into a more consistent defensive stance and got consistent reps once Henry Davis was promoted to Double-A Altoona in May. Rodriguez made a conscious effort to improve his throwing accuracy to second base and his transfer after struggling with inconsistency in 2021, when he threw out just 17% of basestealers. He nearly doubled that figure in 2022 and threw out 45% of baserunners once he arrived in Altoona. Opposing evaluators were impressed with Rodriguez's game management, and Pirates minor league pitchers liked throwing to him. He still needs to refine his framing, but any concerns in that regard could be mitigated if MLB introduces an automated ball-strike system. Rodriguez also spent time at first base, second base and left field in 2022, and he's athletic enough to handle any of those positions.

    The Future: Rodriguez emerged as one of baseball's best catching prospects in 2022 and profiles as an impact big leaguer with plus hitting and power potential. He could ultimately become one half of an enviable catching duo with Davis in Pittsburgh. It's easy to dream on Rodriguez becoming a foundational piece who helps usher the Pirates out of their lengthy rebuild.

    Scouting Grades: Hitting: 60. Power: 60. Speed: 45. Fielding: 50. Arm: 55

  2. 2. Termarr Johnson | 2B
    Termarr Johnson
    Born: Jun 11, 2004
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'8" Wt.: 175
    Minors: .222/.366/.365 | 1 HR | 6 SB | 63 AB

    BA Grade/Risk: 60/High

    Track Record: Amateur evaluators have long marveled at Johnson's preternatural feel for hitting and magnetic personality. He's one of the purest high school hitters in recent memory, possessing the best hit tool and strike-zone judgment of any prep hitter in the 2022 draft. The Pirates selected him No. 4 overall and signed him to a $7,219,000 bonus to forgo an Arizona State commitment. He debuted in the Florida Complex League and finished the year with Low-A Bradenton, hitting .275/.396/.450 in 14 games.

    Scouting Report: The 5-foot-7 Johnson is one of the most interesting top 10 picks in recent draft history because of his size and likely future as a second baseman, but it's rare to find a teenager with his feel for hitting. Johnson is a lefthanded hitter who greets pitchers with a sizable leg kick before lashing at pitches with remarkable bat speed, which suggests potential for plus raw power along with a future as a 70-grade hitter. He pairs remarkable bat control and ability to manipulate the barrel with a discerning eye. He also showed the ability to identify strikes and punish them. Like many young hitters, Johnson will need to adapt to premium velocity and offspeed pitches in pro ball, especially considering he faced weak competition in high school. There's pressure on Johnson's bat to perform because of marginal supplemental tools. His body is already close to maxed out. The Pirates will give him a shot to stick at shortstop and he's sure-handed defensively, but his average arm and limited range are better suited for second base. Johnson draws rave reviews as a teammate and plays with notable passion.

    The Future: Johnson is a long way away--he will still be 18 years old on Opening Day--but his brief pro debut teased his potential as an impact big league hitter for both average and power.

    Scouting Grades: Hitting: 70. Power: 60. Speed: 50. Fielding: 50. Arm: 50

  3. 3. Henry Davis | C
    Henry Davis
    Born: Sep 21, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 210
    Signed By: Adam Bourassa.
    Minors: .264/.380/.472 | 10 HR | 9 SB | 212 AB

    BA Grade/Risk: 55/High

    Track Record: Injuries have beset Davis' professional development since the Pirates made him the No. 1 pick in a 2021 draft that lacked an obvious top prospect. Pittsburgh signed him to a $6.5 million bonus that was $2 million under slot value. Davis appeared in just eight games in 2021 before an oblique injury ended his season. A pair of left wrist injuries limited him to just 53 non-rehab games in 2022 between High-A Greensboro and Double-A Altoona.

    Scouting Report: Even in a limited sample size, Davis has reaffirmed the hitting traits that made him the top college bat in his class. He packs considerable strength into his brawny 6-foot-2 frame, and it translates to easy plus power. Davis' barrel control and flat bat path allow him to hit all types of pitch shapes. He cuts an unorthodox presence in the batter's box. Davis sinks into a wide stance, lifting the bat just above his shoulder, sans batting gloves, and then bends forward at the waist, unwilling to cede any ground on the inside part of the plate. Therein lies the problem. Davis, an intense competitor convicted in his approach, was hit by nearly as many pitches (20) as he had extra-base hits (23) in 2022. The Pirates have tried to convince Davis to move off the plate to maintain his health and development. Davis' catching lags behind his bat. He's a stiff mover who needs to continue to clean up his footwork and pitch framing. Davis' arm strength is his calling card, but evaluators note he has struggled with inaccuracy so far as a professional. Some wonder whether a corner outfield position may be a better long-term fit considering his throwing arm, though he's only a fringe-average runner.

    The Future: Davis needs to stay on the field. His ceiling remains that of a middle-of-the-order hitter, though his defensive position remains a question mark.

    Scouting Grades: Hitting: 55. Power: 60. Speed: 45. Fielding: 40. Arm: 60

  4. 4. Luis Ortiz | RHP
    Luis Ortiz
    Born: Jan 27, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 163
    Minors: 5-9 | 4.56 ERA | 138 SO | 38 BB | 125 IP

    BA Grade/Risk: 55/High

    Track Record: Ortiz was one of the Pirates' best player development success stories in 2022. They initially signed him for just $25,000 as a 19-year-old out of the Dominican Republic in October 2018. Even a year ago, Ortiz operated in relative obscurity while striking out 30% of hitters for Low-A Bradenton, benefiting from his work with pitching coach Fernando Nieve as he improved throughout the season. Pittsburgh jumped him to Double-A Altoona to begin 2022. Ortiz took off from there, zooming through the upper levels before making his MLB debut on Sept. 13, when he became the first Pirates starter to throw 100 mph since Gerrit Cole in 2015.

    Scouting Report: Power oozes from Ortiz's operation. He has a starter's build at 6-foot-2, 240 pounds and is one of the hardest throwers in Pittsburgh's system, and he does it without overwhelming effort in his delivery. He averages 96.5 mph on his four-seamer. He also throws a two-seamer that touches 99 mph and befuddles righthanded hitters. The Pirates worked with Ortiz to create more distinction between the two fastballs and he became more comfortable deploying both in the second half of 2022. Ortiz also enhanced his upper-80s slider, throwing it harder with more vertical break. It's now easily a plus offering and his best swing-and-miss pitch. Ortiz trusted his solid-average changeup more, though it performs better against righthanded batters. He repeats his delivery well enough to suggest playable future command. The next step is adding polish, specifically around game-planning and sequencing.

    The Future: Ortiz owns one of the system's most tantalizing pitch mixes and has a shot to win a spot in the big league rotation in 2023. He has midrotation potential.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 70. Slider: 60. Changeup: 50. Control: 45

  5. 5. Quinn Priester | RHP
    Quinn Priester
    Born: Sep 15, 2000
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 195
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Cary, Ill., 2019 (1st round).
    Signed By: Anthony Wycklendt.
    Minors: 5-5 | 3.29 ERA | 89 SO | 30 BB | 91 IP

    BA Grade/Risk: 55/High

    Track Record: The Pirates have challenged Priester with aggressive assignments every year since drafting him 18th overall out of high school in 2019 and signing him to a $3.4 million bonus. That trend continued in 2022. Priester's debut was delayed two months by an oblique injury, but he spent the majority of his age-21 season with Double-A Altoona, posting a 2.87 ERA over 75 innings despite again being one of the youngest pitchers at that level.

    Scouting Report: Priester is an analytically minded pitcher who immerses himself in data and revels in game-planning. He relies on a deep repertoire of pitches he can throw for strikes at any time to help mitigate the lack of an elite swing-and-miss offering. His 94-96 mph four-seam fastball has decent velocity but ordinary shape, resulting in one of the lowest four-seam whiff percentages in Pittsburgh's system. Priester instead turned to a sinker midway through 2021 that has better angle. He now throws it nearly as much as his four-seamer, and he generated a 51% groundball rate with Altoona in 2022. Priester's best secondary pitch continues to be his 78-82 mph curveball, a plus offering with good shape that batters chase as it dives out of the strike zone. He also added an upper-80s slider during the pandemic in 2020 that is still inconsistent but has above-average potential. He also throws a firm upper-80s changeup with decent arm speed and fade. The 6-foot-3 Priester looks the part of a workhorse starter and repeats his delivery well, though scouts still have concerns he can become too rigid. The Pirates said they made subtle tweaks to Priester's delivery early in 2022 to help with his durability.

    The Future: Priester should return to Triple-A Indianapolis to begin his age-22 season. He has the ceiling of a midrotation starter.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 50. Curveball: 60. Slider: 50. Changeup: 50. Control: 55

  6. 6. Bubba Chandler | RHP/SS
    Bubba Chandler
    Born: Sep 14, 2002
    Bats: B Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 200
    Signed By: Cam Murphy
    Minors: 1-1 | 2.61 ERA | 60 SO | 28 BB | 42 IP

    BA Grade/Risk: 55/Extreme

    Track Record: Chandler's athletic feats are legendary at North Oconee High, where the Georgia native excelled as a three-sport star and committed to Clemson to play both baseball and football. The Pirates made sure Chandler never reached campus, signing him to an above-slot $3 million deal after selecting him in the third round of the 2021 draft. He debuted that summer as a hitter in the Rookie-level Florida Complex League and returned to the FCL in 2022 as a two-way player before ultimately reaching Low-A Bradenton.

    Scouting Report: Chandler is dynamic enough to warrant a shot at both pitching and hitting, but most evaluators believe he ends up exclusively on the mound. His athleticism allows him to naturally create tension in his delivery, which leads to premium velocity that he already holds deep into starts as a 19-year-old. His 95-97 mph four-seamer is one of the best in Pittsburgh's system. Hitters whiffed on it 40% of the time in 2022, and it has great carry at the top of the zone. The rest of his operation is still quite raw. Chandler's best secondary pitch is an 86-88 mph changeup that flashes plus. His mid-80s slider is a work in progress--sometimes appearing as two distinct pitches--but it improved with more reps. Chandler has little issue repeating his delivery but still posted a 16% walk rate. The Pirates attribute some of the command issues to youth and inexperience as he learns to pitch and not simply rely on his stuff. At the plate, the switch-hitting Chandler has legitimate power potential--his average exit velocity was nearly 90 mph--but he also struck out nearly 40% of the time against low-level pitchers.

    The Future: Chandler has immense upside--and also a long way to go to reach it. He is expected to return to Low-A Bradenton to begin 2023.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 70. Slider: 60. Changeup: 55. Control: 50

  7. 7. Liover Peguero | SS
    Liover Peguero
    Born: Dec 31, 2000
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 160
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2017.
    Signed By: Cesar Geronimo (D-backs).
    Minors: .259/.305/.387 | 10 HR | 28 SB | 483 AB

    BA Grade/Risk: 50/High

    Track Record: Peguero made his unlikely MLB debut in 2022, three years after the Pirates acquired him alongside Brennan Malone in a deal for Starling Marte. He raced to a .784 OPS in his first 54 games with Double-A Altoona in 2022 and was just a two-hour drive away from Pittsburgh when the club needed a last-minute replacement after Tucupita Marcano tested positive for Covid on June 17. The Pirates called up Peguero and he debuted a day later. It was the high-water mark of Peguero's season. He put up a .612 OPS in 67 games upon returning to Altoona.

    Scouting Report: Peguero bundles an array of intriguing traits but doesn't always blend them together. He has a chance to become an above-average hitter thanks to impressive bat-to-ball skills and lightning-quick hands. His penchant for hard-hit balls allows for average power potential, though his swing isn't necessarily geared for lift. Peguero continues to work on optimizing his bat path to keep his barrel in the zone longer. More advanced pitchers exploited his aggressive approach at times in 2022 by peppering him with breaking balls, and his 5.6% walk rate was one of the lowest in the system. Some wondered whether Peguero carried those struggles into the field. He's prone to bouts of wildness and struggled with his throwing mechanics, making the most throwing errors of any infielder in the system. Still, the ingredients remain for a future plus defender. Peguero turns in his share of dazzling plays, thanks to a plus throwing arm, soft hands and sizable range. He is a plus runner who stole 28 bases in 2022.

    The Future: Peguero will be just 22 years old on Opening Day. He has the ceiling of a first-division shortstop if everything comes together.

    Scouting Grades: Hitting: 55. Power: 50. Speed: 55. Fielding: 55. Arm: 50

  8. 8. Nick Gonzales | 2B
    Nick Gonzales
    Born: May 27, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'10" Wt.: 190
    Drafted/Signed: New Mexico State, 2020 (1st round).
    Signed By: Derrick Van Dusen.
    Minors: .264/.382/.435 | 7 HR | 6 SB | 269 AB

    BA Grade/Risk: 50/High

    Track Record: Some wondered whether Gonzales could jump on a fast track because of his advanced hitting ability when the Pirates drafted him No. 7 overall in 2020 out of New Mexico State. But injuries have slowed his ascent. A broken finger sidelined him for a month in 2021. He missed two months in 2022 after tearing the plantar fascia in the heel of his foot, limiting him to just 74 games. Gonzales struggled prior to the injury, striking out nearly 33% of the time in his first taste of Double-A. Upon returning, he cut his strikeouts by 10% and posted a .913 OPS in his final 28 games with Altoona. He got additional at-bats in the Arizona Fall League.

    Scouting Report: Gonzales continues to show more swing-and-miss than expected for a player who built his game around elite bat-to-ball skills. Scouts still believe he can hit for high averages on the basis of his short levers and punchy swing. He has strong hands and transfers considerable energy through his lower half, which, combined with his barrel ability, suggests average power potential despite his 5-foot-9 frame. Now, Gonzales needs to optimize when to chase that power. He gets over-aggressive in his approach, especially against breaking pitches, and it hurts him. He's a limited defender, which puts pressure on his bat. Gonzales occasionally played shortstop in 2022, and the Pirates tried him at third base in the AFL for the first time. His fringe-average arm and range still work best at second base.

    The Future: Gonzales hasn't fully captured the magic that made him a star in college through two incomplete pro seasons. To that end, the Pirates had him focus on keeping his bat path through the zone longer. There's hope that more consistent at-bats will help Gonzales find his rhythm and chase his ceiling as a solid first-division second baseman.

    Scouting Grades: Hitting: 60. Power: 50. Speed: 55. Fielding: 45. Arm: 50

  9. 9. Michael Burrows | RHP
    Michael Burrows
    Born: Nov 8, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 192
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Waterford, Conn., 2018 (11th round).
    Signed By: Eddie Charles.
    Minors: 5-6 | 4.01 ERA | 111 SO | 31 BB | 95 IP

    BA Grade/Risk: 50/High

    Track Record: Burrows, a Connecticut high school product, expected to honor his commitment to UConn in 2018 until the Pirates swooped in and signed him to an above-slot $500,000 deal in the 11th round. The 22-year-old reached the upper levels for the first time in 2022, pitching 94.1 innings across Double-A and Triple-A, and also appeared in the Futures Game. Health prevented Burrows from pitching a full season for the second consecutive year. He spent a month on the injured list with a shoulder injury late in the season after he had missed two months in 2021 with an oblique injury.

    Scouting Report: Burrows has built a reputation as a two-pitch data darling. His plus 93-95 mph fastball has some of the best carry of any four-seamer in Pittsburgh's system. He pairs it with a 77-81 mph hammer of a curveball that routinely surpasses spin rates of 2,900 rpm. Burrows' one inning at the Futures Game showed a glimpse of how the two pitches work in tandem in short bursts by generating five total whiffs and earning the distinction of best fastball and breaking pitch at the game. Burrows needs a third pitch to take a step forward to remain on a starter's track. The Pirates are bullish on Burrows' mid-80s changeup, and he finally threw it more in 2022. As a result, he flashed solid-average potential and more feel for the pitch. Pittsburgh may also explore adding a second, shorter breaking ball to his arsenal to help turn over lineups more efficiently. Burrows throws plenty of strikes via a repeatable delivery that uses a short arm path and over-the-top release, though some evaluators see more control than command.

    The Future: Burrows presents potential to become a No. 4 starter, though the allure of deploying him as a multi-inning power reliever remains strong. He should arrive in Pittsburgh at some point in 2023.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60. Slider: 60. Changeup: 50. Control: 50

  10. 10. Thomas Harrington | RHP
    Thomas Harrington
    Born: Jul 12, 2001
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 185

    BA Grade/Risk: 50/High

    Track Record: The rare projectable college pitcher with limited innings, Harrington was a two-sport star at Southern Lee High in Sanford, N.C., who only became a full-time pitcher as a junior and made only one start as a senior in 2020 before the pandemic ended his season. Harrington received minimal Division I interest and opted to walk on at Campbell. He quickly made an impact, winning the Camels' Sunday starter role entering the spring and pitching his way to Big South Conference freshman of the year honors. He was even better as a sophomore in 2022, posting a 2.53 ERA to go with 111 strikeouts, 18 walks and only one home run allowed in 92.2 innings. The Pirates drafted him 36th overall and signed him for $2.047 million.

    Scouting Report: Harrington provides an intriguing foundation for the Pirates to mold. When he signed, his deep arsenal was fronted by a low-90s two-seam fastball. He also experimented with a four-seam fastball at Campbell in 2022 that touched 96 mph. Both his sweeping low-80s slider and tailing mid-80s changeup have intriguing shape, but neither showed plus potential as an amateur. Harrington also flashes a slower upper-70s curveball as a change-of-pace look for hitters. Scouts like his arm action, while his athleticism allows him to repeat his delivery, suggesting plus command potential. Harrington could enhance his entire profile if he finds a way to unlock a bit more power in his arsenal. And there's reason to believe more could be in the tank, because Harrington added nearly 20 pounds of muscle in two years at Campbell and has room on his 6-foot-2 frame to continue adding strength.

    The Future: Harrington is a polished strike-thrower who could move quickly through the lower levels. He will make his professional debut in 2023.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 50. Curveball: 40. Slider: 55. Changeup: 55. Control: 60

  11. 11. Jared Jones | RHP
    Jared Jones
    Born: Aug 6, 2001
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 180
    Drafted/Signed: HS--La Mirada, Calif., 2020 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Brian Tracy.
    Minors: 5-7 | 4.62 ERA | 142 SO | 51 BB | 123 IP

    BA Grade/Risk: 50/High

    Track Record: Jones was a two-way star as an amateur and scouts voted him the second-best athlete in the 2020 high school class in Baseball America's best tools series. The Pirates drafted him No. 44 overall that year and signed him to a $2.2 million bonus to buy him out of a commitment to Texas. He made his pro debut with Low-A Bradenton in 2021, then spent all of 2022 with High-A Greensboro in his age-20 season, throwing the most innings (124.1) of any pitcher in Pittsburgh's minor league system.

    Scouting Report: Jones' 6-foot frame belies the horsepower in his four-pitch mix. He's a dynamic athlete and his upper-90s fastball can touch 100 mph while boring in on righthanded hitters. Both his breaking balls have plus potential. The slider, in particular, tunnels well with his fastball and gives hitters fits. Jones also throws a firm, upper-80s changeup that lags behind his other pitches. A combination of bad luck (.310 BABIP) and wavering command led to Jones battling high pitch counts and inefficiency, especially early in the season. The Pirates believe he made command improvements, especially with his secondaries, as the season progressed. A demonstrative and fiery competitor, Jones is still learning the finer points of pitching and the Pirates believe he dealt with adversity more effectively in 2022.

    The Future: There's some skepticism Jones' size and command hold up over an entire season as a starting pitcher. His electric bat-missing arsenal is suited for a high-leverage relief role if it doesn't.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 70. Curveball: 55. Slider: 60. Changeup: 45. Control: 45

  12. 12. Ji-Hwan Bae | 2B/OF
    Ji-Hwan Bae
    Born: Jul 26, 1999
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 170
    Drafted/Signed: South Korea, 2018.
    Signed By: Fu-chun Chiang/Tony Harris.
    Minors: .289/.362/.430 | 8 HR | 30 SB | 419 AB

    BA Grade/Risk: 45/Medium

    Track Record: Bae's reputation is forever impacted by the 30-game suspension he served in 2019 for violating MiLB's domestic violence policy after a South Korean court convicted him of assaulting his then-girlfriend at a New Year's Eve party in 2017. The Pirates chose not to release Bae and he has steadily risen through Pittsburgh's system since, culminating in his big league debut in 2022, when he hit .333 over 33 at-bats.

    Scouting Report: The industry has long viewed Bae as a burner with impressive bat control and those foundational elements remained intact in 2022. He did, however, make two notable adjustments. Bae cut his strikeout rate (16.9%) by nearly 6 percent. He also added a bit more strength to his 185-pound frame, with evaluators seeing more hard contact than in years past. Still, it's low power potential, and his swing is geared to keep the ball low and accentuate his plus hitting ability. Bae times pitchers with a sizable leg kick, recoiling as he waits, then jumps at the ball, sometimes dropping to one knee as he makes contact. Bae's groundball rate annually hovers around 50%. It allows his 70-grade speed to flourish as he dashes to first base and then steals bases in bunches. Bae doesn't necessarily stand out at any one position defensively, but can capably play almost anywhere, including all three up-the-middle spots, although his arm is stretched at shortstop.

    The Future: Bae could be a plug-and-play option for the Pirates in 2023 as a contact-oriented super-utility type.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 60. Power: 30. Speed: 70. Fielding: 50. Arm: 50.

  13. 13. Anthony Solometo | LHP
    Anthony Solometo
    Born: Dec 2, 2002
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'5" Wt.: 220
    Signed By: Dan Radcliff.
    Minors: 5-1 | 2.64 ERA | 51 SO | 19 BB | 48 IP

    BA Grade/Risk: 50/High

    Track Record: Solometo vaulted to No. 28 on Baseball America's draft board in 2021 and the Pirates nabbed him at No. 37 overall, signing him to an above-slot $2.8 million bonus. Pittsburgh built him up slowly at extended spring training in Florida, but Solometo finally debuted a year later with Low-A Bradenton in late May. He proved worth the wait, pitching to a 2.64 ERA over 47.2 innings.

    Scouting Report: The 6-foot-5 lefthander is mesmerizing to watch. His long levers seemingly fly in all directions as he drives down the mound toward hitters. His delivery and arm stroke consistently draw comparisons to Madison Bumgarner. Unsurprisingly, he's a nightmare at-bat for lefthanded hitters. He creates considerable deception, which helps his arsenal play up despite no clear plus pitch. He attacks hitters with a sinking low-90s fastball and tunnels it well with his mid-80s changeup. He also throws a sweeping 82-84 mph slider that flashes plus, but fluctuates in velocity and command. The Pirates hope to help optimize the shape and design of his breaking ball so it's more effective against experienced hitters. Solometo throws plenty of strikes and repeats his intricate delivery well. He's also a meticulous learner capable of making quick adjustments--the Pirates note he essentially learned how to hold runners over the span of one week--and he draws rave reviews for his maturity and commitment to his routine.

    The Future: His arsenal isn't flashy, but Solometo impresses with his aptitude and pitchability. He has a ceiling of a midrotation starter.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 55. Slider: 55. Changeup: 50. Control: 55

  14. 14. Kyle Nicolas | RHP
    Kyle Nicolas
    Born: Feb 22, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 223
    Drafted/Signed: Ball State, 2020 (2nd round supplemental).
    Signed By: Joe Dunigan.
    Minors: 2-4 | 3.97 ERA | 101 SO | 47 BB | 91 IP

    BA Grade/Risk: 50/High

    Track Record: Nicolas pitched his way up draft boards in 2020 by substantially cutting his walk rate while maintaining premium stuff in a small sample size at Ball State. The Marlins drafted him No. 61 overall that summer, then traded him to the Pirates for C Jacob Stallings just over a year later. Nicolas spent all of 2022 at Double-A Altoona, striking out 25.9% of batters but also walking 12.1% in 90.2 innings.

    Scouting Report: Nicolas has plenty of firepower, but he needs to harness it more consistently to remain a starter. His 93-95 mph fastball touches 97 and is his best pitch. The heater has elite carry, averaging nearly 20 inches of induced vertical break, and he shows the ability to add and subtract velocity as needed. Nicolas' mid-80s slider dives out of the zone and has become a plus pitch. Nicolas' low-80s curveball is a bit softer, thrown with 11-5 break, and he also dabbles with a firm upper-80s changeup that lags behind his other three offerings. Internal and external evaluators alike note there are mechanical inconsistencies in Nicolas' delivery that require attention and currently hinder his strike-throwing. He showed marginal improvements early in 2022, but walked 28 batters over his final 44.1 innings.

    The Future: The Pirates believe Nicolas is on the verge of a breakout if they can clean up his delivery. His powerful pitch mix could play up in a big league bullpen if he can't find more strikes.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 70. Curveball: 50. Slider: 60. Changeup: 40. Control: 45

  15. 15. Jared Triolo | 3B
    Jared Triolo
    Born: Feb 8, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 212
    Minors: .282/.376/.419 | 9 HR | 24 SB | 425 AB

    BA Grade/Risk: 45/High

    Track Record: Triolo performed well over three seasons at Houston, including a pair of summers on the Cape, and the Pirates signed him to a $868,200 bonus after drafting him No. 72 overall in 2019. His debut was nondescript and he lost all of 2020 due to the pandemic. He returned a far more consistent hitter. Triolo hit .282 with nine homers at Double-A Altoona in 2022, and managers voted him the best defensive third baseman in the Eastern League. He missed the final month of the season with a knee injury, but the Pirates added him to their 40-man roster in November.

    Scouting Report: While Triolo's defensive chops are well-known, his improvement in several offensive categories helped elevate his profile. Triolo has premier barrel skills despite an unorthodox swing and stance. His bat path works well, though, and he makes excellent swing decisions, leading to an 80% contact rate and a 14% swing-and-miss rate in the zone that are among the better marks in Pittsburgh's system. His average power plays best to right-center field but he worked on pulling the ball more in 2022. Triolo has won the Pirates' minor league defender of the year award two years in a row. He plays a premium third base, showing a desirable combination of arm strength, accuracy and agility. Triolo is athletic enough to handle shortstop as well, and appeared in center field for the first time as a professional while with Altoona.

    The Future: Triolo's contact ability and defensive versatility provide a ceiling as a super utility option in the big leagues.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 55. Power: 50. Speed: 50. Fielding: 60. Arm: 55.

  16. 16. Matt Gorski | OF
    Matt Gorski
    Born: Dec 22, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 198
    Minors: .280/.358/.598 | 24 HR | 21 SB | 286 AB

    BA Grade/Risk: 45/High

    Track Record: Gorski was a second-round pick by the Pirates in 2019 who entered pro ball with immense power and concerns about his hit tool. Those concerns persisted throughout much of his pro career, and he hit just .223 with a 31.2% strikeout rate as a 23-year-old with High-A Greensboro in 2021. But Gorski rebuilt his swing in the offseason and altered the trajectory of his career, posting a .956 OPS with 23 homers through 81 games, although he missed two months with a quad injury. He was unprotected and unselected in the Rule 5 Draft.

    Scouting Report: Gorski made a myriad of changes to his swing. He slightly opened his stance and altered his stride, better engaging his lower half to become more rotational toward the ball. He also worked to flatten his bat path. The changes unlocked just enough contact ability to allow his plus-plus power to play. Gorski's 91.4 mph average exit velocity trailed only Oneil Cruz among Pirates minor leaguers with 100+ plate appearances. There's still considerable swing-and-miss--he whiffed on 32% of pitches in the strike zone--and High-A Greensboro is a hitter's haven. Gorski is a plus runner who impacts every aspect of the game. He's a plus defender in the corners with a howitzer of an arm and could steal 30+ bases over a full season. The Pirates may try Gorski at first base as well to find him even more reps.

    The Future: There's reason for skepticism considering Gorski will be 25 on Opening Day with 161 career plate appearances in the upper levels. If the swing changes stick, Gorski has a shot at a three-true-outcome-type big league role with considerable supplemental tools.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 35. Power: 70. Speed: 60. Fielding: 60. Arm: 80.

  17. 17. Hunter Barco | LHP
    Hunter Barco
    Born: Dec 15, 2000
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 210

    BA Grade/Risk: 50/Extreme

    Track Record: Scouts viewed Barco as a potential first-rounder as a high schooler in 2019, but the lefthander instead made it to Florida, where he quickly won a spot in the Gators' rotation and was a solid performer over three seasons. He pitched to a 2.50 ERA while striking out 69 batters in 50.1 innings during his draft year until an elbow injury requiring Tommy John surgery ended his season in May. The Pirates nabbed Barco No. 44 overall and signed him to a $1,520,000 bonus.

    Scouting Report: The 6-foot-4 lefthander was trending upward prior to his injury. He's built like a prototypical starting pitcher and attacks hitters from a low three-quarters arm slot. Barco presently lacks a true plus offering. His fastball has touched 95 mph in the past but mostly sat in the low-90s in 2022 with ordinary shape and spin. His sweeping, low-80s slider darts at the back foot of righthanded hitters and is his best swing-and-miss offering, although some scouts wonder whether Barco will struggle to command the pitch because of his arm slot. His mid-80s changeup was popular as a high schooler and remains a solid-average offering. Barco's crossfire delivery and arm slot add deceptive tilt and he was a consistent strike-thrower against Southeastern Conference hitters in college.

    The Future: Barco's injury will delay his debut, but his polish, pitch mix and competitiveness provide a relatively high floor. He has the ceiling of a back-of-the-rotation starter with a chance for more if he adds velocity.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 50. Slider: 55. Changeup: 50. Control: 55.

  18. 18. Jun-Seok Shim | RHP
    Jun-Seok Shim
    Born: Apr 9, 2004
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 215

    BA Grade/Risk: 50/Extreme

    Track Record: Shim was the top prospect in South Korea when the Pirates signed him for $750,000 soon after the international signing period opened on Jan. 15, 2023.

    Scouting Report: Shim has a power arm with a fastball that would stack up among the best prep pitchers in the 2022 draft. He sits at 92-96 mph, with the ability to reach back and dial it up to 98 mph. It's a lively fastball with good carry up in the zone. Shim's fastball is his best pitch, but he shows feel for sharp-breaking curveball and splitter mixed in too.

    The Future: Shim is still several years away from being big league ready, but he immediately becomes one of the organization's best arms in the lower levels of the farm system.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60. Slider: 45. Curveball: 50. Splitter: 45. Control: 50.

  19. 19. Michael Kennedy | LHP
    Michael Kennedy
    Born: Nov 30, 2004
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 205

    BA Grade/Risk: 50/Extreme

    Track Record: Kennedy joined Pirates first-rounder Termarr Johnson on Team USA's 18U National Team roster in 2021 and was the top-ranked draft prospect in New York entering the 2022 draft. He was expected to be a tough sign considering his commitment to Louisiana State until the Pirates drafted him in the fourth round and signed him to a $1 million bonus, nearly double the expected slot value. A knee injury kept Kennedy from making his pro debut.

    Scouting Report: Kennedy pairs a cerebral, competitive approach with a surprisingly refined three-pitch mix for a cold-weather prep arm. The Pirates are excited by the characteristics of Kennedy's 88-92 mph fastball, which carries well from his low arm slot. He pairs it with a sweeping upper-70s slider and has shown aptitude to quickly learn and enhance his low-80s changeup. His delivery is controlled and he repeats it well. He shows good feel for his entire arsenal and his shorter arm path provides a bit of deception against lefties. Kennedy would benefit from a bit more power across his arsenal, but some scouts worry there isn't a ton of room for projection on his frame.

    The Future: One of the youngest prospects in the draft, Kennedy will be just 18 years old throughout all of 2023. He's in line to make his professional debut and begin his ascent through Pittsburgh's system as a strike-throwing lefty with a useful three-pitch mix.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 55. Slider: 55. Changeup: 50. Control: 55

  20. 20. Canaan Smith-Njigba | OF
    Canaan Smith-Njigba
    Born: Apr 30, 1999
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 215
    Drafted/Signed: Mexico, 2017.
    Signed By: Mike Leuzinger. (Yankees)
    Minors: .277/.387/.408 | 1 HR | 8 SB | 184 AB

    BA Grade/Risk: 45/High

    Track Record: Smith-Njigba has been known for posting high walk rates all the way back to his days as a high school star in Texas when teams mostly pitched around him. The Yankees drafted him in 2017 and traded him along with three others to the Pirates in 2021 in exchange for Jameson Taillon. He made his big league debut in mid-June, but suffered a season-ending fractured right wrist in an outfield collision just three games into his stint in Pittsburgh. His brother, Jaxon, stars at wide receiver for Ohio State and is a potential first-round NFL draft pick in 2023.

    Scouting Report: Smith-Njigba parses balls and strikes as well as any hitter in Pittsburgh's system, walking 15.1% of the time with Triple-A Indianapolis in 2022. He pairs that plate discipline with considerable strength-based power, exceeding 90 mph average exit velocity. His natural swing plane, though, is not geared for lift and curbs his in-game power. The good news is Smith-Njigba slashed his groundball rate by roughly 13% in the minors in 2022, but it still clocked in at 52.8%. Defensively, he's likely ticketed for left field because of his fringe-average running ability, throwing arm and range, although he can handle right field in a pinch.

    The Future: Smith-Njigba has a chance to reach a platoon-type role in the big leagues. He should vie for opportunities in Pittsburgh's wide-open corner outfield competition in 2023.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 50. Power: 50. Speed: 45. Fielding: 45. Arm: 45.

  21. 21. Malcom Nunez | 1B
    Malcom Nunez
    Born: Mar 9, 2001
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'11" Wt.: 205
    Drafted/Signed: Cuba, 2018.
    Signed By: Alix Martinez/Angel Ovalles.
    Minors: .262/.367/.466 | 23 HR | 5 SB | 416 AB

    BA Grade/Risk: 45/High

    Track Record: Nunez starred as an amateur in Cuba and carried that momentum into his 2018 pro debut upon signing with the Cardinals, winning the Dominican Summer League triple crown with a .415/.497/.774 slash line. He struggled mightily the following year, but has shown far more consistency over the last two seasons. The Pirates acquired Nunez at the 2022 deadline in the Jose Quintana trade. He hit 23 homers between the two systems, briefly reaching Triple-A as a 21-year-old. The Pirates left him unprotected ahead of the 2022 Rule 5 draft.

    Scouting Report: Nunez is capable of cranking out some majestic pull-side homers via his violent, strength-based swing. He has a relatively simple move to the ball, although scouts point out he still has a minor hitch in his load, and posts exit velocities in excess of 110 mph. He became more selective in 2022, swinging at just under 40% of pitches. His breaking ball recognition improved out of necessity as older pitchers found it unwise to challenge him with too many fastballs. Nunez doesn't always maximize his power potential, though, as his groundball rate traditionally hovers around 50%. Almost all of Nunez's value is tied to his hitting ability. Despite a strong arm, he has outgrown third base and his range is tested even at first base.

    The Future: There isn't much margin for error in Nunez's bat-only profile, but he shows intriguing hitting traits and will be just 22 years old on Opening Day. He should open 2023 with Triple-A Indianapolis.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 40. Power: 60. Speed: 30. Fielding: 40. Arm: 55.

  22. 22. Carmen Mlodzinski | RHP
    Carmen Mlodzinski
    Born: Feb 19, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 231
    Drafted/Signed: South Carolina, 2020 (1st round supplemental).
    Signed By: Cam Murphy.
    Minors: 6-8 | 4.78 ERA | 111 SO | 40 BB | 106 IP

    BA Grade/Risk: 45/High

    Track Record: Mlodzinski generated first-round buzz on the strength of a dominant Cape Cod League showing in 2019 despite never putting it all together at South Carolina. Pittsburgh drafted him No. 31 overall in 2020. Mlodzinski turned heads in his pro debut with High-A Greensboro the following year, striking out 54 batters in his first 41 innings, but right shoulder stiffness sidelined him for more than a month. He hasn't regained that form since. He spent all of 2022 with Double-A Altoona, posting a 4.78 ERA in 105.1 innings.

    Scouting Report: The metric-savvy Mlodzinski has a bevy of offerings but is still seeking the optimal pitch mix. He has experimented with both a sinker and four-seamer as his predominant fastball, opting to stick with his preferred 93-95 mph four-seamer. Mlodzinski also re-introduced a two-seamer and can occasionally cut his fastball as well, but it doesn't generate many whiffs. His two offspeed pitches are above-average. Mlodzinski altered the movement profile of his mid-80s slider to add more depth in 2022, and he rounds out his arsenal with an upper-80s changeup. There's some deception in his effortful delivery, but his command wavers and he battles inefficiency.

    The Future: Erraticism has defined Mlodzinski's pro career. Clean health and improved command in 2023 would help him stay on track to his ceiling as a back-of-the-rotation starter.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 50. Slider: 55. Changeup: 50. Control: 50

  23. 23. Cody Bolton | RHP
    Cody Bolton
    Born: Jun 19, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 185
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Tracy, Calif., 2017 (6th round).
    Signed By: Mike Sansoe.
    Minors: 4-2 | 3.09 ERA | 82 SO | 40 BB | 76 IP

    BA Grade/Risk: 45/High

    Track Record: Simply pitching on a consistent basis represented a massive step forward for Bolton, who once ranked as one of Pittsburgh's top prospects but hadn't appeared in a game since 2019. A knee injury wiped out Bolton's 2021 season, and he also missed time with forearm and groin injuries in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Pittsburgh was cautious when deploying Bolton in 2022 given his history, using him in short outings or as an opener over 30 games with Triple-A Indianapolis.

    Scouting Report: Bolton worked hard in the offseason to improve his conditioning after the lost 2021 season. His fastball is still a tick below where it was prior to his layoff, but his four-seamer sat 92-94 mph and touched 96. He occasionally mixes in a two-seamer. His best pitch may now be a low-80s slider. Bolton worked to turn the pitch into more of a true sweeper with two-plane break, and it has some of the higher horizontal break and spin rates of any slider in Pittsburgh's system. He also features a firm upper-80s changeup. Bolton struggles with pitch efficiency, walking 12.4% of hitters in 2022. There's skepticism he can throw considerably more strikes because of his lengthy arm action.

    The Future: Given Bolton's durability and command concerns, a bullpen role seems likely. He should reach the majors at some point 2023, and could pitch his way into middle- to high-leverage relief situations in relatively short order.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 55. Slider: 60. Changeup: 55. Control: 45

  24. 24. Dariel Lopez | 3B
    Dariel Lopez
    Born: Feb 7, 2002
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 183
    Minors: .286/.329/.476 | 19 HR | 6 SB | 391 AB

    BA Grade/Risk: 45/High

    Track Record: Lopez was one of the high-profile names in Pittsburgh's 2018 international class, signing for $400,000. He has acquitted himself well at the plate since debuting at the lower levels in 2021. He spent all of 2022 with High-A Greensboro, hitting. 286 with 19 homers in his age-20 season.

    Scouting Report: Evaluators take note of Lopez's intriguing blend of tools while also acknowledging he needs to refine his game, especially defensively. Lopez's swing is surprisingly compact given his large frame and he has notable raw strength. He also has plenty of faith in his above-average contact ability. Lopez was one of the most aggressive hitters in Pittsburgh's system in 2022. His aggressiveness outside the strike zone results in too much weak contact and groundballs, something older pitchers will exploit. His power is presently geared toward right-center field, which was rewarded at Greensboro--15 of his 19 homers came at home. It's unclear where Lopez best fits defensively. He has smooth actions, solid hands and a plus throwing arm, but he's mistake-prone (25 errors) and will likely be too big to play shortstop. He played more third base and second base in 2022.

    The Future: Lopez's hitting ability combined with his versatility is intriguing. He's still young, but he needs to clean up the mistakes to ensure he sticks in the dirt.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 50. Power: 55. Speed: 45. Fielding: 45. Arm: 60.

  25. 25. Tsung-Che Cheng | SS
    Tsung-Che Cheng
    Born: Jul 26, 2001
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'7" Wt.: 154
    Minors: .270/.376/.418 | 6 HR | 33 SB | 385 AB

    BA Grade/Risk: 45/High

    Track Record: Cheng enjoyed a breakout 2022 campaign with Low-A Bradenton, three years after Pittsburgh signed him as a 17-year-old via Taiwan for $380,000. Cheng, who goes by the nickname Z, led all Pirates minor leaguers with 33 steals and was among qualified Florida State League leaders in batting average (.270) and doubles (25). He was named to the league's all-star team and also named the Pirates' minor league baserunner of the year.

    Scouting Report: Cheng marries a line-drive approach with a simple lefthanded swing that accentuates his bat-to-ball skills and results in plenty of contact. There's a bit more power than some might expect considering his 5-foot-7 frame, but it will never be a focal point of his game. The Pirates lauded his pre-pitch preparation. His 20.7% strikeout rate was a bit higher than anticipated, but Cheng made subtle improvements to his plate discipline as the season progressed and his in-zone contact ability was strong. He also graded out as one of the Pirates' best infield defenders. He checks all the boxes at shortstop, showing good hands, range and an above-average throwing arm. Cheng's baseball IQ and meticulous preparation help enhance his skill set, even if he's not the most toolsy player.

    The Future: The type of player coaches adore, Cheng has the makings of a super-utility type thanks to his defensive acumen and contact ability.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 55. Power: 30. Speed: 60. Fielding: 60. Arm: 55.

  26. 26. Colin Selby | RHP
    Colin Selby
    Born: Oct 24, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 218
    Minors: 2-3 | 2.27 ERA | 43 SO | 14 BB | 36 IP

    BA Grade/Risk: 45/High

    Track Record: Selby was a three-year starter at Division III Randolph-Macon (Va.) College and became the seventh draft pick in program history when the Pirates selected him in the 16th round in 2018, signing him to a $125,000 bonus. Pittsburgh initially deployed him as a starter, but Selby had Tommy John during the shutdown in 2020 and returned as a reliever. He spent most of 2022 with Double-A Altoona, where he struck out nearly 30% of batters faced, although he missed two months due to injury.

    Scouting Report: From the fastball touching 99 mph to the wipeout slider and even the big, bushy beard, Selby's entire operation screams power reliever. He has steadily added velocity since turning pro and his fastball now sits in the upper 90s. Both his offspeed pitches are nasty. He snaps off an upper-80s slider with considerable depth that rates as one of the best sliders in Pittsburgh's system and batters whiffed on it more than 70% of the time. Selby also mixes in a sweeping low-80s curve. Command isn't a strength. Selby attacks hitters with brute force, falling toward the first base line as he finishes his delivery.

    The Future: Selby has the ceiling of a hard-throwing late-inning reliever if he can throw enough strikes.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60. Curveball: 60. Slider: 60. Control: 40

  27. 27. Rodolfo Nolasco | OF
    Rodolfo Nolasco
    Born: Sep 23, 2001
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 175
    Signed By: Victor Santana
    Minors: .239/.330/.425 | 11 HR | 7 SB | 280 AB

    BA Grade/Risk: 50/Extreme

    Track Record: Nolasco was part of a Pirates 2018 international signing class that included players like Dariel Lopez, Alexander Mojica and Luis Ortiz, but injuries slowed his development compared to his peers. He made his full-season debut in 2022, hitting 11 homers in 77 games for Low-A Bradenton sandwiched around two trips to the injured list.

    Scouting Report: Nolasco's physicality and raw strength has always separated him from other players his age. It results in wicked bat speed, top-end exit velocities and gargantuan home runs. There still are questions about whether he'll make enough contact to consistently utilize his plus power. Nolasco struck out 34% of the time in Bradenton. Like plenty of inexperienced hitters, he needs to improve his pitch recognition and can stray from his approach, although he has a solid understanding of the strike zone. Nolasco showed signs of improvement in July--he hit five homers with nearly as many walks as strikeouts over 13 games--until an injury essentially ended his season. Nolasco isn't the most fleet of foot defensively and is most comfortable playing right field, where he has average potential and can utilize his plus throwing arm.

    The Future: His hit tool remains unrefined, but it's easy to dream on Nolasco's power. He needs more seasoning in the low minors in 2023.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 35. Power: 70. Speed: 45. Fielding: 50. Arm: 60.

  28. 28. Axiel Plaz | C
    Axiel Plaz
    Born: Aug 12, 2005
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'11" Wt.: 165

    BA Grade/Risk: 50/Extreme

    Track Record: Pittsburgh signed the Venezuela native in January 2022 on the strength of his intriguing combination of defensive ability and power potential. He then hit .382/.500/.706 with three homers over 32 games as a 16-year-old in the Dominican Summer League, earning an all-star nod, and was one of the Pirates' most impressive hitters at their fall instructional camp.

    Scouting Report: Plaz flashed power potential as an amateur and has already added more strength, especially to his lower half, with room to add more to his frame. He times up pitchers with a toe tap and is capable of driving the ball to center field when he connects, already showing feel for the barrel, pitch recognition and strike-zone awareness. Amateur evaluators noted Plaz may battle some swing-and-miss as he grows into his power, but he kept his strikeouts in check in his first taste of the DSL (18.6% strikeout rate). He also has a chance to stick behind the plate due to solid receiving skills for his age and an above-average arm, although his footwork remains a work in progress.

    The Future: Plaz will be just 17 years old on Opening Day and has a myriad of potential outcomes, but he caught the Pirates' attention. There are indicators that suggest a potential for both impact defense and power at a premium position.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 55. Power: 55. Speed: 45. Fielding: 55. Arm: 55.

  29. 29. Lonnie White | OF
    Lonnie White
    Born: Dec 31, 2002
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 212
    Signed By: Dan Radcliff
    Minors: .286/.286/.857 | 1 HR | 0 SB | 7 AB

    BA Grade/Risk: 50/Extreme

    Track Record: White is a dynamic athlete who planned to play both baseball and football at Penn State until the Pirates drafted him No. 64 overall in 2021 and went $500,000 over slot to sign him to a $1.5 million bonus. His professional career has yet to come into focus. White has played just 11 games at the rookie-level Florida Complex League since turning pro, missing essentially all of the 2022 season because of elbow and hamstring injuries.

    Scouting Report: The injury woes hit particularly hard for White, who was already in need of consistent reps to catch up as a cold-weather prep bat who never focused on baseball full-time. While it's tough to draw anything conclusive from 40 career plate appearances, he still appears to be the same strong, explosive athlete with plus raw power potential who battles swing-and-miss issues (42% strikeout rate). White is already physically mature. He's a plus runner now who could slow down a tick as he gets older, which could force him to a corner outfield spot.

    The Future: The Pirates expect White will be healthy for spring training and he'll be just 20 years old on Opening Day. There's a bundle of intriguing traits to work with, but he needs to remain healthy and make up for lost time.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 40. Power: 60. Speed: 55. Fielding: 55. Arm: 50.

  30. 30. Andres Alvarez | 3B/2B
    Andres Alvarez
    Born: Mar 29, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'10" Wt.: 175
    Minors: .220/.339/.429 | 20 HR | 21 SB | 368 AB

    BA Grade/Risk: 40/High

    Track Record: The Pirates signed Alvarez for just $2,000 as a 22nd-round pick out of Washington State in 2019 and he was still in extended spring training until an opening emerged with High-A Greensboro in July 2021. Alvarez made an impression, hitting .288 with seven homers, but his true breakout came in 2022 after reworking his swing. Alvarez hit .220 with 20 homers and 21 steals for Double-A Altoona in his age-25 season.

    Scouting Report: Alvarez credits his work with Pirates minor league hitting coach Jon Nunnally for unlocking his power potential. They worked on two things: Identifying better pitches to hit and backspinning the baseball to maximize Alvarez's average power when he lifts the ball. The results led to the first 20-20 season in Altoona history. Previously a contact-oriented hitter, Alvarez's strikeout rate climbed and production dipped throughout the season as he tried to find the right balance in his approach. Defensively, Alvarez is sure-handed and capable of playing anywhere in the dirt. He also expanded his versatility to left field for the first time in 2022. The Pirates admire Alvarez's work ethic, noting he's played winter ball each of the last two seasons.

    The Future: He'll have to prove his swing changes stick, but Alvarez's improved power potential, speed and defensive versatility has put him on the Pirates' prospect radar.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 50. Power: 50. Speed: 55. Fielding: 55. Arm: 50.

View Players 11-30

Are you a member?

In order to access this exclusive content you must have a Baseball America Account. 

Login or sign up  

Additionally, you can subscribe to Baseball America's newsletter and receive all of our rankings, analysis, prospect insight & more delivered to your inbox every day. Click here to get started. 

of Free Stories Remaining