Rodríguez, Marcano start hot in Minors for Pirates

April 9th, 2023

There’s a greater-than-zero chance that come next season, the Pirates could have a farm system that ranks outside MLB Pipeline’s Top 10 for the first time in half a decade. That would be a good thing.

Pittsburgh’s farm system features no shortage of players on the cusp of graduating prospectdom. Catcher/infielder Endy Rodríguez, the No. 2 prospect in the system and reigning Minor League Player of the Year, feels like a lock to earn a callup from Triple-A Indianapolis.

Right-handers Quinn Priester (No. 4) and Mike Burrows (No. 9), both of whom are also in Indianapolis, could join Rodríguez. Henry Davis (No. 3) began the season with Double-A Altoona so he and Rodríguez can both catch full time, but a Major League debut for Davis is not outside the realm of possibility.

There’s also the possibility that players such as Malcom Nuñez (No. 16) and Jared Triolo (No. 18) could get their first taste of the Majors. Time will tell.

Here’s the first Minor League roundup of the young season:
(All stats as of Saturday)

Triple-A Indianapolis
Record (4-3)
Player of the Week:
Marcano is riding some kind of a hot streak at the moment, totaling 12 hits in 24 at-bats, with six doubles, a triple and a homer. With those numbers, it should come as no surprise that Marcano was leading the International League with a 1.458 OPS.

Double-A Altoona
Record (0-3)
Player of the Week:
Fresh off a 20-20 year with Altoona, Alvarez has begun this season on a solid note, reaching base in five of 10 plate appearances, with two hits and three walks.

High-A Greensboro 
Record: (1-1) 
Player of the Week:   
Solometo, the Pirates’ No. 10 prospect per MLB Pipeline, picked up where he left off last season, pitching four innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts and one walk in his season debut.

Single-A Bradenton 
Record: (1-1) 
Player of the Week:  
If Harrington was feeling any nerves prior to his first professional start, the 21-year-old did a good job of concealing it. Harrington, the 36th overall selection in the 2022 MLB Draft, dominated to begin his pro career, pitching five scoreless innings with seven strikeouts.

Top 5 Prospects

No. 1: INF Termarr Johnson
Level: Single-A Bradenton
Stats: N/A
Johnson is still recovering from a right hamstring injury incurred during the first few days of Spring Training.

No. 2: C/INF/OF Endy Rodríguez
Level: Triple-A Indianapolis
Stats: .217 AVG, .321 OBP, .348 SLG, 1 HR, 5 RBI
Rodríguez began the season with a bang, homering on the first pitch he saw of the season. Aside from that homer, the 22-year-old is off to a bit of a slow start, posting a .669 OPS through six games.

No. 3: C Henry Davis
Level: Double-A Altoona
Stats: 3 G, 14 PA, .200 AVG, .429 OBP, .400 SLG, 2 RBI
As mentioned above, Davis will begin the season at Double-A so both he and Rodríguez can catch full time. That said, Altoona manager Callix Crabbe said during the Curve’s media day that Davis will play in the outfield once per week to begin the season.

No. 4: RHP Quinn Priester
Level: Triple-A Indianapolis
Stats: 3 2/3 IP, 6 ER (14.73 ERA), 2 BB, 4 K’s, 1 HR
Priester was roughed up by Louisville in his first start of the season, allowing six earned runs across 3 2/3 innings. The right-hander began his outing with two scoreless frames, but allowed four runs in the third inning, then two more in the fourth inning.

No. 5: INF Nick Gonzales
Level: Triple-A Indianapolis
Stats: .222 AVG, .382 OBP, .481 SLG, 2 HR, 2 RBI
Gonzales had a bit of an odd 2022, starting the season slow, hitting the injured list for two months, then mashing upon returning to action.

Injury report

RHP Mike Burrows
Burrows left Saturday’s outing against Triple-A Louisville after 1 2/3 innings due to a right forearm injury. The Pirates have yet to determine the severity. General manager Ben Cherington said on 93.7 (FM) The Fan that Burrows felt something in the forearm, but his right elbow is stable.

The Pirates placed Triolo, their No. 18 prospect per MLB Pipeline, on the seven-day injured list on March 31. The club has not specified the nature of the injury.