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Pittsburgh Pirates

Prospects Overview

Top 30 Prospects

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Player Reports

  1. 1. Ke'Bryan Hayes | 3B
    Ke'Bryan Hayes
    Born: Jan 28, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'10" Wt.: 205
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Tomball, Texas, 2015 (1st round).
    Signed By: Tyler Stohr.

    Hitting: 60. Power: 50. Running: 55. Fielding: 70. Arm: 60.

    TRACK RECORD: The Pirates drafted Hayes with the 32nd overall pick in 2015. He’s the son of former major league third baseman Charlie Hayes, who played for the Pirates in 1996 and spent 14 years in the majors. (His brother Tyree also pitched professionally.) Hayes entered the 2020 season as the Pirates’ top position prospect but tested positive for Covid-19 during summer camp, which set his progress back. He returned in late July and made his major league debut in September, exploding onto the scene with numbers that were among the best of the rookie class. He hit .376/.422/.682 with seven doubles, two triples and five home runs in 95 plate appearances. His 1.124 OPS ranked fourth among qualified batters in September, when he won National League rookie of the month, providing hope for Pirates fans looking for a young prospect to emerge as a cornerstone of their rebuild.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Hayes’ calling card has long been his defense at third base. He has a chance to win multiple Gold Glove awards with smooth hands, quick reactions, good routes to the ball and plus arm strength. He’s an asset defensively for the Pirates whether they want a traditionally strong third baseman or if they want to get creative with defensive shifts. Hayes has the range to play shortstop in a pinch and is a great candidate to move around the field in different defensive alignments. Hayes’ offense has been improving the last few years and his power took a big leap in 2020. Hayes made adjustments to his swing mechanics by opening up his stance and changing his hand position. His biggest change was mental. He prioritized hard contact, as opposed to just making contact, and worked with his father during quarantine to get the ball in the air more often. The result was the most power than Hayes has had in his career without sacrificing his average or plate discipline. Hayes’ video-game September numbers will come down, but he is capable of hitting .300 with 15-20 homers a year with a high on-base percentage. Hayes is an above-average runner who adds value on the bases in addition to his bat and glove.

    THE FUTURE: Hayes has the potential to be an offensive cornerstone the Pirates build their lineup around. He won’t hit .450 on balls in play, as he did in a small 2020 sample, as pitchers adjust to him, but if he gets anywhere close he will be a perennial all-star third baseman. Hayes will be the Pirates’ Opening Day third baseman in 2021 and figures to keep that status as long as he remains in Pittsburgh.

  2. 2. Oneil Cruz | SS
    Oneil Cruz
    Born: Oct 4, 1998
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'7" Wt.: 210
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2015.
    Signed By: Patrick Guerrero/Franklin Taveras/Bob Engle (Dodgers).

    Hitting: 50. Power: 70. Running: 60. Fielding: 55. Arm: 60.

    TRACK RECORD: Cruz signed with the Dodgers for $950,000 in 2015 and was traded to the Pirates two years later for Tony Watson. He cemented his status as the most athletic and dynamic prospect in the Pirates’ system during his ascent to Double-A in 2019 and spent the 2020 season at the alternate training site. He was arrested in his native Dominican Republic in September for allegedly driving under the influence in a car crash that killed three people.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Although it might seem odd to see a 6-foot-7 player at shortstop, Cruz can handle the position. He has plus speed and moves around well at short despite his height. Cruz has a plus arm and the Pirates have better infield options, so he may end up in right field in the future. Cruz is a dynamic prospect due to his elite raw power that comes from his long arms and strength in his hands and wrists. He’s hit for average in the minors, but because of his lanky body and long levers, there are long-term concerns about whether pitchers will find holes in his strike zone to exploit.

    THE FUTURE: Cruz faces up to five years in prison if convicted. If he’s able to play, he has the tools to anchor the middle of the Pirates’ lineup with power and speed.

  3. 3. Nick Gonzales | SS/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.

    Hitting: 70. Power: 45. Running: 55. Fielding: 50. Arm: 50.

    TRACK RECORD: Gonzales became the first draftee of the Ben Cherington era for the Pirates, signing for $5,432,400 as the seventh overall pick in 2020. That capped off an impressive transformation after he joined New Mexico State as a walk-on and went on to lead the nation in hitting while batting .432/.532/.773. He hit 12 home runs in 82 plate appearances in his brief junior season.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Gonzales’ carrying tool is his bat. Despite his slight, 5-foot-10 frame, his elite contact skills, exceptional plate discipline and exemplary barrel control should allow him to hit annually for a high average. He consistently finds the barrel and his strong hands help him drive pitches to all fields, giving him surprising 15-20 home run power. Gonzales’ above-average speed and advanced baserunning instincts should result in a handful of stolen bases, too. Gonzales has the arm strength for shortstop, but scouts question his short-area quickness and prefer him as a second baseman who can focus on being an elite hitter for the position.

    THE FUTURE: Scouts view Gonzales as a future all-star second baseman capable of competing for batting titles. He is advanced enough to jump on the fast track to the majors and arrive in Pittsburgh at some point in 2022.

  4. 4. 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.

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

    TRACK RECORD: The Pirates drafted Priester out of high school with the 18th overall pick in 2019. He hadn’t even turned 20 when the Pirates sent him to their alternate training site in 2020, but he was impressive enough facing some of the best hitting prospects in the system to show he may be a fast-mover despite his youth.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Priester’s fastball jumped to 96-98 mph in short stints at the alternate training site, an encouraging development after he sat in the low 90s and touched 97 mph in his pro debut. He throws both a two-seamer with movement and a four-seamer he controls better. Priester complements his fastballs up with a plus low-80s curveball he can land for strikes or get swings and misses with. He improved his changeup by learning to consistently throw it like a fastball. Priester improved his control by staying taller in his delivery and keeping his upper and lower body in sync. He’s made strides figuring out how to sequence and tunnel each pitch to improve his entire mix. Priester is a studious learner who quickly picks up the game’s newest trends on pitch mechanics and deception.

    THE FUTURE: The Pirates are prepared to move Priester aggressively with his stuff and smarts. He has the potential to eventually join Mitch Keller at the front of the Pirates’ rotation.

  5. 5. 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).

    Hitting: 60. Power: 50. Running: 55. Fielding: 50. Arm: 50.

    TRACK RECORD: The first big move Pirates general manager Ben Cherington made was to trade center fielder Starling Marte to the D-backs for Peguero and righthanded pitching prospect Brennan Malone in January 2020. The previous year, Peguero ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the Rookie-level Pioneer League and finished the campaign at short-season Hillsboro. The Pirates sent him to their alternate training site in 2020 to challenge him against older competition.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Peguero is a dynamic athlete with a long track record of hitting the ball hard. He has a strong, wiry build and has a natural feel for finding the barrel. He has worked the last two years to tone down his aggressive approach and be more selective at the plate. If those improvements continue, he has the feel for quality contact to be a plus hitter with average power as he fills out. Peguero improved his defense at shortstop with Arizona prior to the trade and continued his work at the position all year with the Pirates. He has above-average speed and the long strides to handle the outfield if he has to move.

    THE FUTURE: Peguero’s bat will always be above his glove, but he has a chance to be the Pirates’ shortstop of the future as long his defensive strides continue. He is slated to jump to full-season ball in 2021.

  6. 6. Hudson Head | OF
    Hudson Head
    Born: Apr 8, 2001
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 180
    Drafted/Signed: HS--San Antonio, 2019 (3rd round).
    Signed By: Kevin Ham. (Padres)

    Hitting: 50. Power: 55. Running: 60. Fielding: 50. Arm: 55.

    TRACK RECORD: Head played quarterback at his San Antonio high school and didn’t draw baseball scouts’ attention until he hit .645 with 13 home runs and 54 RBIs his senior year. The Padres drafted him in the third round and signed him for $3 million, a then-record for a third-rounder. Head spent time at the Padres alternate training site and instructional league in 2020, but he was limited by a recurring hamstring injury. The Pirates acquired him after the season as the top prospect in the trade that sent Joe Musgrove to San Diego.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Head is one of the best athletes in the Pirates’ system. He’s a lean, twitchy athlete who is a plus runner, has explosive bat speed and is ambidextrous—he threw with his right hand when he rolled right and threw with his left hand when he rolled left as a quarterback. Head has a lot of extra movement in his swing, which leads to questions whether he’ll catch up to upper-end velocity. He drives balls with authority when he does connect and flashes surprising plus raw power out of his lean frame. Head is extremely aggressive on both sides of the ball. He needs to rein in his approach, and evaluators expressed concern he could hurt himself with how aggressively he plays center field. He’s a potential above-average defender in center with an above-average arm when he plays under control.

    THE FUTURE: Head has plenty of athleticism, but he still has to prove he can make consistent contact against advanced pitching. He’ll try to show he can in 2021.

  7. 7. 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.

    Fastball: 60. Slider: 55. Changeup: 50. Control: 55.

    TRACK RECORD: The Pirates drafted Bolton in the sixth round in 2017 and signed him for an over-slot $300,000 bonus. He was shut down with forearm soreness after nine starts in 2018 and received a platelet-rich plasma injection, but he came back throwing harder with better control in 2019 and vaulted up to Double-A. He spent 2020 at the alternate training site in Altoona, Pa.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Bolton has grown into his projectable frame and now sits 93-96 mph on a consistent basis, while touching 98. He has both a four-seamer and a two-seamer he keeps in the bottom part of the zone in the low 90s, forcing hitters to look for two different fastballs in two different parts of the zone. Bolton added a cutter in 2019 and has developed it into a potentially above-average pitch that pairs nicely with his two-seamer. His average changeup gives him a competitive offering against lefthanded hitters and gives him the third pitch needed to start. Bolton pounds the strike zone out of his low three-quarters arm slot and keeps his walks to a minimum.

    THE FUTURE: Bolton has the body, stuff and control to profile as a middle to back-of-the-rotation starter. If his development stalls, he has a fallback as a power reliever with his fastball/cutter combination.

  8. 8. Tahnaj Thomas | RHP
    Tahnaj Thomas
    Born: Jun 16, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 190
    Drafted/Signed: Bahamas, 2016.
    Signed By: Koby Perez (Indians).

    Fastball: 70. Slider: 55. Changeup: 45. Control: 50.

    TRACK RECORD: Thomas trained as a shortstop in the Bahamas and moved to the mound only after signing with the Indians for $200,000 in 2016. The Pirates acquired Thomas in the November 2018 that trade sent Jordan Luplow and Max Moroff to Cleveland. Thomas’ velocity spiked and his control improved after the trade, helping him emerge as one of the top pitchers in the Rookie-level Appalachian League in 2019.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Thomas hasn’t pitched in a live game since 2019 because of the coronavirus pandemic, but he was sitting 95-99 mph and touching 101 with Bristol at the end of that season. His fastball gets swings and misses with plus life up in the zone, and he has steadily improved his control to become an average strike-thrower. Thomas relies heavily on his fastball, but his slider flashes above-average potential and generates swings and misses at its best. He throws his fringe-average changeup sparingly.

    THE FUTURE: Thomas has the kind of overpowering fastball that dominates hitters, but he needs to refine his secondary pitches. He has a chance to stick as a starter if he can improve his changeup or find another offspeed pitch. If not, he can be a dominant reliever with his fastball/slider combination.

  9. 9. Brennan Malone | RHP
    Brennan Malone
    Born: Sep 8, 2000
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 205
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Bradenton, Fla., 2019 (1st round).
    Signed By: Matt Mercurio (D-backs).

    Fastball: 60. Slider: 60. Changeup: 50. Curveball: 50. Control: 45.

    TRACK RECORD: The D-backs drafted Malone with the 33rd pick in the 2019 draft and signed him for an above-slot $2.2 million to keep him from a North Carolina commitment. The Pirates acquired him with Liover Peguero for Starling Marte in January 2020. Malone reported to the Pirates’ alternate training site in Altoona, Pa., after the pandemic canceled the minor league season, but he was never cleared for on-field activity.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Malone is a physical, projectable pitcher still learning to harness his potent stuff. His fastball sits at 93 mph and touches the upper 90s with heavy sink, and his slider is a potential plus pitch with late, sharp break. He focused on developing his curveball during the shutdown and transformed it from a slurvy pitch to a spike-curveball that shows average potential. His changeup isn’t consistent but flashes average potential. Malone has a strong, durable frame and an athletic delivery, but he can be a bit wild and spent the shutdown working to shorten his arm path in an attempt to throw more strikes more consistently.

    THE FUTURE: Malone made his Pirates debut in instructional league and should see full-season ball in 2021. He has mid-rotation potential but is a long way from that ceiling.

  10. 10. Miguel Yajure | RHP
    Miguel Yajure
    Born: May 1, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 175
    Drafted/Signed: Venezuela, 2015.
    Signed By: Cesar Suarez/Ricardo Finol. (Yankees)

    Fastball: 55. Curveball: 60. Cutter: 50. Changeup: 55. Control: 55.
    Track Record: The Yankees signed Yajure out of Venezuela for $30,000 in 2015 on the strength of two innings at a tryout. He missed the 2017 season after having Tommy John surgery, returned in 2018 and broke out in 2019 as he jumped to Double-A. The Yankees added Yajure to their 40-man roster after the 2019 season and called him up for his big league debut on Aug. 31, 2020. The Pirates acquired him after the season as the top prospect in the trade that sent Jameson Taillon to New York.

    Scouting Report: Yajure added velocity through a weighted-ball program and a series of delivery tweaks after the 2019 season that were designed to better incorporate his lower half. The result was a nearly 2 mph jump in his average fastball velocity, up to 92 mph in 2020. Yajure complements his enhanced four-seamer with a cutter, slider, curveball and changeup. His high-80s changeup, which he feels comfortable throwing against both righties and lefties, is his go-to secondary pitch and shows above-average potential. His curveball is a 12-to-6 breaker thrown in the low 80s and forms an ideal tunnel with his four-seamer. His cutter and slider were added to give him more options against righthanders. Yajure struggled with walks in 2020 but had above-average control in the minors.

    The Future: Yajure has a chance to break camp with the Pirates. He should get the chance to pitch in their rotation at some point during the 2021 season and projects to settle in as a back-end starter.

  11. 11. Ji-Hwan Bae | SS
    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.

    Hitting: 60. Power: 30. Running: 70. Fielding: 55. Arm: 40.

    TRACK RECORD: Bae originally signed with the Braves but was declared a free agent after MLB ruled the Braves violated international signing rules. The Pirates signed him in early 2018 for $1.25 million. Bae was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend in South Korea and served a 30-game suspension during the 2019 season. He returned to low Class A Greensboro in late May and won the South Atlantic League batting title with a .323 average. The Pirates brought him to their alternate training site in 2020.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Bae projects as a prototypical top-of-the-order shortstop with a contact bat and plus speed. He makes some of the best contact in the system and uses his speed to beat out infield singles and take extra bases when he drives the ball into the gaps. Bae lacks home run power with his slight build, so his slugging contributions will come from doubles and triples. Bae has the range to be an above-average defender at shortstop, but his lack of arm strength raises questions about his ability to stick at the position. His assault conviction raises obvious concerns about his makeup.

    THE FUTURE: Bae has a chance to develop into a table-setter at the top of the order or a No. 8 hitter who provides value with his speed and defense. He may see Double-A in 2021.

  12. 12. 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.

    Fastball: 60. Slider: 55. Changeup: 40. Cutter: 55. Control: 55.

    TRACK RECORD: Mlodzinski was one of the 2020 draft’s biggest question marks due to a lack of track record. He suffered a broken foot that limited him to three starts in 2019, made six starts in the Cape Cod League the following summer and had just four outings before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the 2020 college season. His stuff was undeniable, though, and the Pirates drafted him 31st overall and signed him for $2.05 million to turn pro as a redshirt sophomore.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Mlodzinski throws a heavy sinking fastball that sits 92-94 mph and has reached 98. He throws a slider and a cutter that have flashed plus potential, especially during an impressive performance in the Cape. Both pitches were less sharp in the spring, however, with the slider lacking depth and tilt, and his cutter sitting at a reduced 89-91 mph. Mlodzinski has a fringe-average curveball and a below-average changeup that each need to be improved. He throws strikes and generates a lot of ground balls with his fastball, but he’s still trying to find a consistent swing-and-miss pitch.

    THE FUTURE: Mlodzinski is capable of being a groundball-oriented starter at the back of a rotation. He needs to find a consistent second pitch.

  13. 13. Roansy Contreras | RHP
    Roansy Contreras
    Born: Nov 7, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 197
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2016.
    Signed By: Juan Rosario (Yankees).

    TRACK RECORD: Though the Yankees were in the international penalty box in 2016, they still unearthed several gems in Jose Devers (since traded to Miami), Oswald Peraza and Contreras, who was a product of the same training program in the Dominican Republic that produced Gary Sanchez and Miguel Andujar. Contreras was part of a talented group of pitchers at low Class A Charleston in 2019 but was not brought to the Yankees alternate training site in 2020. The Pirates acquired him as one of four players for Jameson Taillon after the season.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Contreras showed a small uptick in his velocity and averaged 95 mph on his fastball in spring training before camps shut down. The development of his breaking ball will be key. It's been more of an inconsistent slurve in the past, but he worked to make it more of a firm slider during limited time in 2020. His well-regarded changeup features both horizontal and vertical movement and is thrown with enough confidence to be effective against both righties and lefties. He's shown above-average control at every stop in the minors so far.

    THE FUTURE: Contreras worked remotely with Yankees pitching coach Dustin Glant during the shutdown and should be in decent pitching shape despite the lost year of development. He has back-of-the-rotation potential if his breaking ball comes along.

  14. 14. Travis Swaggerty | OF
    Travis Swaggerty
    Born: Aug 19, 1997
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 5'10" Wt.: 183
    Drafted/Signed: South Alabama, 2018 (1st round).
    Signed By: Darren Mazeroski.

    TRACK RECORD: The Pirates drafted Swaggerty 10th overall in 2018 and gave him a $4.4 million bonus based on the power-speed combination he showed at South Alabama. Swaggerty's speed has translated to pro ball, but his power has not. Swaggerty hit a combined .257/.339/.381 in his first two seasons, topping out at high Class A. The Pirates brought him to their alternate training site in 2020.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Swaggerty has the potential for average or better tools across the board, but he simply doesn't make enough contact. He tends to sell out for power, leading to a lot of swings and misses and a decline in his overall offensive game. Swaggerty worked to clean up his hitting mechanics, but the lost 2020 minor league season didn't give him a chance to show off the results of his work. He draws plenty of walks, which allows his plus speed to play on the bases. Swaggerty's defense is ahead of his offense. He's a plus defender with the range and above-average arm strength to be the Pirates' center fielder of the future.

    THE FUTURE: Swaggerty has to start making more contact. If he can, he has the tools to be an everyday outfielder.

  15. 15. 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.

    TRACK RECORD: Jones was a well-known draft prospect after playing for USA Baseball's Junior National Team three times as a two-way player. The Pirates drafted him 44th overall as a pitcher in 2020 and gave him an above-slot $2.2 million bonus to pry him from a Texas commitment. Jones' father Keith played two seasons in the minors. Cousins Randy and Ron Flores both pitched in the majors.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Jones is undersized but already owns a lively 96-99 mph fastball thanks to his electric arm speed. He pairs it with a sharp, above-average, mid-80s slider, and he is developing a changeup. The Pirates have worked with Jones on adjusting his effortful delivery to improve both his command and control. He showed power potential and above-average speed as a high school outfielder, but he was a bit of a free-swinger and the Pirates typically stick to developing players on one side of the game.

    THE FUTURE: Some evaluators peg Jones as a bullpen candidate because of his size and effortful delivery. The Pirates will give him every chance to develop his changeup and remain on a starter track.

  16. 16. JT Brubaker | RHP
    JT Brubaker
    Born: Nov 17, 1993
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 185
    Drafted/Signed: Akron, 2015 (6th round).
    Signed By: Trevor Haley.

    TRACK RECORD: A sixth-round pick out of Akron in 2015, Brubaker slowly climbed the minors and appeared on the cusp of the majors in 2019, but a forearm strain followed by right elbow irritation limited him to six starts. He returned healthy in 2020 and made the Pirates' Opening Day roster, beginning the year in the bullpen before moving into the rotation. In his nine starts, Brubaker recorded a 5.53 ERA with 41 strikeouts and 16 walks in 42.1 innings.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Brubaker's fastball sits 93-94 mph with plenty of horizontal movement and generates a lot of ground balls. Both his upper-80s slider and low-80s curveball are swing-and-miss offerings that played against major leaguers. His curveball is a slurvy pitch that grades at least average, while his short slider flashes plus when paired with his hard sinker. Brubaker also flashes an average changeup and at least average control. He has a tall, muscular frame that can handle a starter's workload, though his recent arm injuries are reason for pause.

    THE FUTURE: The Pirates will give Brubaker a shot to win a rotation spot out of spring training in 2021. He should settle in as a back-of-the-rotation starter.

  17. 17. Nick Garcia | RHP
    Nick Garcia
    Born: Apr 20, 1999
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 215
    Drafted/Signed: Chapman (Calif.), 2020 (3rd round).
    Signed By: Brian Tracy.

    TRACK RECORD: Garcia was one of the biggest risers on the West Coast in the 2020 draft, with many Southern California area scouts writing him in as the top pitching prospect in the area. Garcia played third base as a freshman at Division III Chapman in Orange, Calif., but converted to pitching as a sophomore and was named Most Outstanding Player of the D-III College World Series. As a junior, Garcia moved into a starting role and saw his draft stock take off, eventually signing for $1.2 million in the third round.

    SCOUTING REPORT: While Garcia is new to pitching, he possesses starter traits, with a strong 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame and an easy and smooth delivery that allowed him to pound the strike zone with a three-pitch mix in college. His fastball typically sat in the 92-95 mph range, but he could run it up to 98 at his best. Garcia also mixed in a pair of potentially above-average secondary offerings with an upper-80s slider and a cutter in the same velocity range. Garcia has also thrown a curveball and a changeup, though both pitches were used infrequently and will need further refinement to profile as consistently average offerings.

    THE FUTURE: Garcia comes with plenty of risk as a D-III arm who has yet to be tested consistently against high-quality hitters, but given his surprising polish and pitch-mix has plenty of upside as well.

  18. 18. Jose Soriano | RHP
    Jose Soriano
    Born: Oct 20, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 210
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2016.
    Signed By: Domingo Garcia/Alfredo Ulloa (Angels).

    TRACK RECORD: Soriano weighed 170 pounds when he signed with the Angels for $70,000 in 2016. He grew to a muscular 210 pounds by the time of his breakout season at low Class A Burlington in 2019. He entered 2020 looking to build on that momentum but suffered an elbow injury and had season-ending Tommy John surgery just before the start of spring training. The Pirates drafted Soriano with the No. 1 pick in the major league phase of the 2020 Rule 5 draft.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Soriano has an ideal pitcher's body at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds. He is athletic with long, loose limbs and a smooth, rhythmic delivery that is easy to repeat. After previously sitting in the low 90s, Soriano's fastball averaged 96 mph and touched 100 in 2019 as he grew into his newfound strength. He has an advanced feel for a high-spin, low-80s curveball with 11-to-5 shape and solid depth. His upper-80s changeup shows swing-and-miss potential but is too firm at times. Soriano has struggled with walks, but he has improved his control as he's grown into his body and sharpened the timing and mechanics of his delivery.

    THE FUTURE: Soriano is set to return during the 2021 season. If his stuff and control comes back, he has a chance to develop into a hard-throwing starting pitcher. The rebuilding Pirates should have the roster space and patience to carry Soriano all season to satisfy the Rule 5 requirements.

  19. 19. Eddy Yean | RHP
    Eddy Yean
    Born: Jun 25, 2001
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 230
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2017.
    Signed By: Modesto Ulloa. (Nationals)

    Fastball: 60. Slider: 55. Changeup: 50. Control: 50.
    TRACK RECORD: Yean was a projectable 180-pound righthander when he signed with the Nationals for $100,000 in 2017. He’s grown quite a bit since then, bulking up to 230 pounds with a muscular, linebacker-like build. He made his U.S. debut in 2019 and reached short-season Auburn, but he did not get to pitch in 2020 with the cancellation of the minor league season. He picked up where he left off with an impressive turn at instructional league. The Pirates acquired him in December as the top prospect in the trade that sent Josh Bell to Washington.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Yean is a big, powerful pitcher who is aggressive and still growing. He has an explosive fastball that sits in the mid 90s and touches 97 mph with late life. He throws both a four-seam fastball and a two-seamer to keep batters guessing which one they’ll see. Yean’s slider is a little slurvy at this point but gets swings and misses and shows above-average potential, especially if he is able to firm it up. His changeup is improving as well and could be an average pitch in time. Yean has a clean, three-quarters arm slot and a feel for making adjustments.

    THE FUTURE: Yean is still learning the details of pitching rather than throwing, but there are reasons to be bullish on his upside. He should be ready for a full-season assignment at age 19 in 2021.

  20. 20. Wil Crowe | RHP
    Wil Crowe
    Born: Sep 9, 1994
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 240
    Drafted/Signed: South Carolina, 2017 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Paul Faulk. (Nationals)

    Fastball: 50. Slider: 50. Changeup: 55. Curveball: 50. Control: 50
    TRACK RECORD: Crowe had Tommy John surgery as a South Carolina freshman but rebounded to become the Gamecocks’ ace by his junior year. The Nationals drafted him in the second round in 2017 and he won high Class A Carolina League pitcher of the year award in his first full season in 2018, when he went 11-0, 2.69 in 87 innings. Crowe jumped to Triple-A in 2019 and made his major league debut in 2020, although he tested positive for COVID-19 over the summer and got hit hard in his first three major league starts.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Crowe didn’t trust his stuff in his first major league outings, but he has a future as a No. 5 starter or long relief option. Crowe’s fastball sits at 91-93 mph and touches 95. He can spin an average slider and curveball and shows the makings of a changeup with above-average potential. None of Crowe's offerings are plus, but he’s a tough competitor who has better command than he showed in his major league debut. He fell into too many deep counts and nibbled too much in his first taste of major league play, an issue that should be corrected with experience.

    THE FUTURE: Crowe should get another shot at the majors as a member of the Pirates rotation in 2021. If he doesn't stick in the rotation, he could serve as a long reliever or spot starter.

  21. 21. Mason Martin | 1B
    Mason Martin
    Born: Jun 2, 1999
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 224
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Kennewick, Wash., 2017 (17th round).
    Signed By: Max Kwan.

    TRACK RECORD: The Pirates drafted Martin in the 17th round in 2017 based on his prodigious power potential and signed him for an over-slot $350,000 bonus, equivalent to fifthround money. Martin delivered on that promise by hitting 35 home runs across the Class A levels in 2019, winning the organization's minor league player of the year award. The Pirates brought him to their alternate training site in 2020.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Martin has plus raw power and can drive the ball out to all fields, including towering home runs to his pull side. The downside to Martin's power is it comes with plenty of strikeouts, raising questions about how much he'll get to it against upper-level pitchers. Martin worked with Triple-A hitting coach Jon Nunnally on developing a better eye at the plate at the alternate site. They focused on setting the top of his zone and recognizing breaking pitches earlier, which will hopefully reduce his strikeouts. Defensively, Martin has improved his fringe-average glove to the point where he's not considered a liability at first base, but his value is mostly derived from his power.

    THE FUTURE: Martin is expected to open the year at Double-A. If he shows a more discerning eye, he could jump on to the fast track to the majors.

  22. 22. Braxton Ashcraft | RHP
    Braxton Ashcraft
    Born: Oct 5, 1999
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'5" Wt.: 204
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Robinson, Texas, 2018 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Phil Huttmann.

    TRACK RECORD: The Pirates made Ashcraft their second-round pick in 2018 and signed him for $1.825 million to forgo his commitment to Baylor. He was a two-sport star in high school, also excelling at wide receiver, and had surgery on his non-throwing shoulder after the 2019 season to clean up an old football injury. He returned to the field for instructional league in 2020 and looked noticeably better, with his fastball ticking up 2-3 mph and much more polish all-around.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Ashcraft has the classic projectable pitcher's frame with room to continue filling out. His improved fastball now ranges from 93-96 mph and sits 94. The pitch generates a high volume of ground balls with its natural sink. Ashcraft has improved his changeup to a pitch that can at least be an average offering. He also improved his slider to get a sharper break on the pitch and it now flashes above-average. Ashcraft has solid control and the Pirates believe his surgery will help iron out some of the command issues he's had so far.

    THE FUTURE: Ashcraft should start at one of the Class A levels in 2021. He projects as a back-of-therotation starter but could be more if he continues to fill out and add velocity.

  23. 23. Omar Cruz | LHP
    Omar Cruz
    Born: Jan 26, 1999
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 200
    Drafted/Signed: Mexico, 2017.
    Signed By: Bill McLaughlin/Chris Kemp. (Padres)

    TRACK RECORD: The Padres purchased Cruz’s rights from the Mexican League’s Mexico City franchise for $100,000 in 2017, the same club they purchased Luis Urias and Andres Muñoz from in previous years. Cruz dominated the short-season levels and jumped for high Class A Fort Wayne in 2019, where he posted a 2.76 ERA in 10 starts. He continued to shine during 2020 instructional league and was acquired by the Pirates after the season as part of the Joe Musgrove trade.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Cruz’s fastball has improved to 89-93 mph with room to keep growing. His fastball plays up with carry through the zone and gets swings and misses despite modest velocity. Cruz’s primary weapon is a big, overhand curveball with a high arc. It can get loopy at times at 73-77 mph, but he shows an impressive feel to spin the ball and should add power to it as he gets stronger. His fading 78-82 mph changeup shows average potential and he attacks the strike zone with average control.

    THE FUTURE: Cruz shows the makings of the back-of-the-rotation starter if he can continue adding velocity. He’s a strong competitor who has a chance to move quickly in 2021.

  24. 24. 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.

    TRACK RECORD: The Pirates took Burrows in the 11th round in 2018 and gave him an above-slot $500,000 bonus--fourth-round money--to forgo a commitment to Connecticut. He quickly showed more polish than a typical high school pitcher and spent his first full season as a starter in the college-heavy New York-Penn League. The Pirates brought him to instructional league in 2020 after the coronavirus pandemic canceled the minor league season.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Burrows' mid-90s fastball touches as high as 96 mph with good sinking movement. His curveball has some late break, grading as above-average with the chance to be an out pitch in the future. Burrows' solid frame suggests he's capable of compiling innings in the rotation. His fringe-average changeup will need improvement and he walked 4.1 batters per nine innings in 2019, but his control has average upside. He has rapidly shown improvements in his velocity and breaking stuff and has room to make further gains.

    THE FUTURE: Burrows has the potential to be a back-of-the-rotation starter or a multi-inning reliever working off his fastball/curveball combination. He is set to begin 2021 at one of the Class A levels.

  25. 25. Cal Mitchell | OF
    Cal Mitchell
    Born: Mar 8, 1999
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 216
    Drafted/Signed: HS--San Diego, 2017 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Brian Tracy.

    TRACK RECORD: Mitchell has shown tantalizing offensive upside since the Pirates took him in the second round in 2017. He's shown a smooth stroke and an increased ability to hit for power, capped by 15 homers in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League in 2019, but also far too many swings and misses. He spent 2020 at instructional league working to fix that.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Known mainly as a contact hitter when he was drafted, Mitchell's profile has changed as he's matured. His driving tool is now the plus raw power in his lefthanded bat. He's shown an ability to hit to all fields and also displays a patient approach at the plate. At the same time, Mitchell chases the power far too often and gets into trouble when he tries to pull the ball. He is going to have to make more contact because he doesn't offer much defensively. Mitchell is slated for left field as a belowaverage runner and fringe-average defender with an arm that grades as average at best.

    THE FUTURE: Mitchell should start 2021 in Double-A. If he can figure things out at the plate, the Pirates don't have many prospects blocking his path to PNC Park.

  26. 26. Jared Oliva | OF
    Jared Oliva
    Born: Nov 27, 1995
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 195
    Drafted/Signed: Arizona, 2017 (7th round).
    Signed By: Derrick Van Dusen.

    TRACK RECORD: Oliva has exceeded expectations at every stop since he walked on at Arizona and quickly became a starter. The Pirates made him a seventh-round pick in 2017 and he moved quickly through the system. Oliva made his major league debut in 2020, appearing in six games.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Oliva is a streaky hitter, but he makes enough contact to hit for average. He mostly deploys a line-drive approach and has just fringe-average power potential. Oliva's greatest strength is his plus-plus speed, which makes him both a basestealing threat and an above-average defender in center field with plenty of range. He has average arm strength and can play the corners as needed.

    THE FUTURE: Oliva is ready now to be a reserve outfielder in the majors with his speed and defensive acumen. He'll need to continue making gains with the bat to become more.

  27. 27. 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)

    TRACK RECORD: Smith showed well in his first taste of pro ball after the Yankees drafted him in the fourth round in 2017, then scuffled in 2018 in the college-heavy New York-Penn League. He rebounded in 2019 at low Class A Charleston, where he became one of just 15 players in the minors with 30 or more doubles, 10 or more home runs and 15 or more stolen bases. He did not get a chance to play in 2020, but the Pirates still acquired him as one of four players for Jameson Taillon after the season.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Smith's greatest asset is he simply hits the ball hard. He averaged an 89.4 mph exit velocity in 2019 and has peaked at 110. He shows strong pitch-recognition skills, handles velocity well and posted an excellent swinging-strike rate of just 9.7%. Despite the success, scouts have mild concerns Smith will be exploited by upper-level pitchers who do better jobs changing speeds and throwing offspeed pitches for strikes. Smith shows average athleticism, a fringy arm and below-average defense in left field. He’s an average runner who steals bases on instincts rather than pure speed.

    THE FUTURE: Because the Yankees did not hold instructional league, Smith missed a full season of development. Now that he's with the Pirates, his defense will come under even more scrutiny unless the National League permanently adopts the designated hitter.

  28. 28. Blake Cederlind | RHP
    Blake Cederlind
    Born: Jan 4, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 215
    Drafted/Signed: Merced (Calif.) JC, 2016 (5th round).
    Signed By: Mike Sansoe.

    TRACK RECORD: Cederlind's fastball sat in the mid 90s as a starter when the Pirates drafted him out of junior college in the fifth round in 2016. His velocity ticked up significantly after a move to the bullpen and sent him soaring up the system. The Pirates called him up for his major league debut in 2020, and he made five appearances in relief.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Cederlind made the most of his time in Pittsburgh, flashing a fastball that averaged 98 mph and touched 101. He pairs his explosive heater with a 90 mph cutter that is a plus, swing-andmiss pitch that played well in his major league debut. Cederlind's fringe-average control is still a concern, despite showing marginal improvement after moving to the bullpen. His stuff is so lively that he's able to get swings and misses even when he misses his spot.

    THE FUTURE: Cederlind has a late-inning mentality and the stuff to match. He should be back in the Pirates bullpen for at least part of the 2021 season.

  29. 29. Rodolfo Castro | 2B
    Rodolfo Castro
    Born: May 21, 1999
    Bats: B Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 210
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2015.
    Signed By: Rene Gayo, Juan Mercaso, and Jose Ortiz.

    TRACK RECORD: The shortened 2020 season was something of a breakout for Castro, who originally signed for $150,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2015 and had yet to advance past high Class A. He showed a more mature, refined skill set at the Pirates' alternate training site, impressing the club enough that they added him to their 40-man roster after the season

    SCOUTING REPORT: Castro is very toolsy but has been very raw to this point, with swing-and-miss concerns at the plate and defensive inconsistencies in the infield. He improved his defensive work in 2020, and the Pirates believe he can play second base, shortstop and third base in the majors. He's a switch-hitter with above-average or better raw power from each side. He has above-average speed, giving him plenty of range in the field and allowing him to steal bases. The biggest downside to his game has been his strikeout tendencies and general lack of contact skills.

    THE FUTURE: Castro is unlikely to hit for average but can contribute with his power and defensive versatility. He will likely open 2021 back in the minors.

  30. 30. Max Kranick | RHP
    Max Kranick
    Born: Jul 21, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 214
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Archbald, Pa., 2016 (11th round).
    Signed By: Dan Radcliff.

    TRACK RECORD: Kranick fell to the 11th round in 2016 because of signability concerns stemming from his commitment to Virginia. The Pirates stopped his slide and convinced him to sign for an over-slot $300,000 bonus. Kranick kick-started his development with solid seasons at low Class A in 2018 and high Class A in 2019. The Pirates brought him to the alternate training site in 2020 and added him to the 40-man roster after the season.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Kranick dealt with shoulder fatigue and tightness early in his career, so he turned to former major league reliever Vic Black to help with weighted ball drills to increase strength. He also shortened his arm path and gained velocity throughout the process. Kranick's fastball sat 93-94 mph and touched 98 at the Pirates' alternate training site. He ditched his two-seam fastball entirely, instead focusing on his four-seamer and curveball combination. His four-seamer features more movement up in the zone and he worked with former big league closer Joel Hanrahan on tunneling the curveball to look like the fastball out of the hand. Kranick also has an average slider and below-average changeup. He throws strikes with above-average control.

    THE FUTURE: Kranick should start in Double-A in 2021. His newfound velocity and arm strength give him a good chance to reach the majors.

View Players 11-30

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