We’ve got some new faces in some new places.
On the whole, this year has been a mixed bag for the Pirates’ farm system. On the positive side, there’s been no shortage of standouts. Matt Gorski homered at a torrid pace and played his way up to Double-A Altoona. Endy Rodriguez absolutely tore up Single-A Greensboro, and is continuing to do the same for Double-A Altoona. Mike Burrows shoved from the jump and earned a promotion to Triple-A Indianapolis.
On the flip side, some of Pittsburgh’s blue chippers have had to navigate some road blocks. Quinn Priester and Nick Gonzales have both had stints on the 60-day injured list. Henry Davis is currently on the injured list and has been limited to 41 games. There have also been a slew of players who have struggled at different levels of the Minors.
So, who’s jumped? Who’s dropped? With the Draft and Trade Deadline having passed, here’s the state of the Pirates’ farm system.
Here’s a look at the Pirates top prospects:
1. Henry Davis, C (MLB No. 20)
2. Termarr Johnson, 2B (MLB No. 30)
3. Quinn Priester, RHP (MLB No. 47)
4. Liover Peguero, SS (MLB No. 65)
5. Nick Gonzales, 2B (MLB No. 99)
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the preseason list:
Jump: Matt Gorski, OF (Preseason: Unranked | Midseason: No. 22)
There was no question that Matt Gorski had the tools. In 2021, he hit 17 home runs and stole 18 bases for Single-A Greensboro. Even with the caveat that First National Bank Field is home run friendly, that combination of power and speed will jump off the page. The problem with Gorski, though, was that he was posting a sub-.300 on-base percentage through his first 144 professional games. That’s all changed this season.
Gorski homered like there was no tomorrow with Greensboro to begin the season. Gorski hit 17 home runs in 37 games, matching last season’s body of work in two months. Throw in a reduced strikeout rate, an increased walk rate and an insane slash line -- .294/.377/.754 with a 186 wRC+ -- and Gorski has been one of the best position players in the Pirates’ system. Upon getting called up to Double-A Altoona, Gorski has continued putting up phenomenal numbers, hitting .294 with six home runs and eight steals in 30 games. He’s currently on the 60-day injured list with a quad injury, but this season has firmly put Gorski on the map.
Fall: Matt Fraizer, OF (Preseason: 10 | Midseason: 16)
The Pirates had a couple prospects drop six spots in MLB Pipeline’s midseason update -- RHP Jared Jones, RHP Carmen Mlodzinski and OF Travis Swaggerty all fell as well -- but Fraizer is worth highlighting given how his 2021 season unfolded. Fraizer was the Pirates’ reigning Minor League Player of the Year after slashing .306/.388/.552 with 23 home runs and 15 steals for Single-A Greensboro and Double-A Altoona. Fraizer has struggled offensively with Altoona this season, though, hitting .225/.294/.353 with five home runs.
New to the list
Here are the players added to the Top 30 from outside the organization:
No. 2, Termarr Johnson, 2B (Draft)
No. 10, Thomas Harrington, RHP (Draft)
No. 12, Malcom Nunez, OF (Acquired from Cardinals in Jose Quintana trade)
No. 14, Hunter Barco, LHP (Draft)
No. 15, Michael Kennedy, LHP (Draft)
Pirates: Mike Burrows, RHP (No. 8)
If the Pirates are looking to add young pitching into the mix down the stretch, Mike Burrows should very well be worth a look. Burrows had an outstanding start to the season with Double-A Altoona, posting a 2.94 ERA in 12 starts and earning a promotion to Triple-A Indianapolis. Burrows initially struggled with Indianapolis, but has posted a 2.89 ERA with 19 strikeouts across his last five outings.
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. Players in parentheses have the same grade.
Hit: 70 -- Termarr Johnson
Power: 60 -- Henry Davis (Termarr Johnson)
Run: 70 -- Lonnie White Jr. (Ji-Hwan Bae)
Arm: 70 -- Henry Davis (Bubba Chandler)
Defense: 60 -- Jared Triolo (Lonnie White Jr., Travis Swaggerty)
Fastball: 70 -- Kyle Nicolas
Curveball: 60 -- Michael Burrows (Quinn Priester)
Slider: 60 -- Hunter Barco
Changeup: 60 -- Thomas Harrington
Control: 55 -- Thomas Harrington (Anthony Solometo, Michael Kennedy)