Each offseason, MiLB.com goes position by position across each organization and honors the players -- regardless of age or prospect status -- who had the best seasons in each farm system. Next up in our 2023 Organization All-Stars series are the Pittsburgh Pirates.
2023 organization summary:
Triple-A Indianapolis: 70-78
Double-A Altoona: 67-68
High-A Greensboro: 68-61
Single-A Bradenton: 76-54
FCL Pirates Black: 32-23
DSL Pirates Gold: 41-12
DSL Pirates Black: 17-34
Overall record: 371-330 (6th among MLB organizations)
Midseason Farm System Rankings: 2
Pirates 2023 Organization All-Stars
C: Endy Rodríguez
AAA: .268/.356/.415, 67 G, 6 HR, 38 RBI, 54 R, 36 BB, 4 SB
Rodríguez took over the primary backstop duties in Pittsburgh after debuting in July, effectively turning Henry Davis into a full-time outfielder. While he didn’t replicate his breakout 2022 campaign in the Minors, the 23-year-old earned the chance to be the club’s long-term solution at catcher. He was riding a hot streak in his final Triple-A action, batting .373, with more extra-base hits (eight) than strikeouts (seven) over 14 games before being promoted.
1B: Miguel Andujar
AAA: .338/.404/.536, 103 G, 16 HR, 86 RBI, 63 R, 47 BB, 5 SB
Simply put, the 28-year-old stuck it out in Triple-A, where he last played 100 games in 2017, and bought himself more time with a truly productive season. He led all qualified Pirates Minor Leaguers in batting and slugging and had the most total hits (140) and doubles (30) in the system. On Monday, Andujar was claimed off waivers by the A’s, where he might have a better shot at more big league at-bats.
2B: Termarr Johnson (PIT No. 2, MLB No. 22)
A/A+: .244/.422/.438, 105 G, 18 HR, 59 RBI, 83 R, 101 BB, 10 SB
Johnson displayed elite patience, posting the highest walk rate among the Minors’ full-season qualifiers (21.9 percent). Pirates director of player development John Baker was impressed by the 19-year-old’s mature approach, noting that his strikeout rate improved after his promotion to High-A. Johnson also showed more power than expected, finishing fifth in the system in homers. Defensively, the No. 4 overall pick in last year’s Draft began his transition to second base, where he played 87 games.
3B: Nick Gonzales
AAA: .281/.379/.507, 99 G, 14 HR, 49 RBI, 75 R, 53 BB, 4 SB
The 24-year-old stayed healthy and earned his first big league promotion in June. Baker lauded Gonzales’ ability to swing at good pitches, which was on display during his time at Indianapolis, particularly toward the end of the year. In his final 42 Triple-A games before he was called up again in September, Gonzales batted .315 with a .977 OPS, 24 extra-base hits and 22 RBIs. The highlight of that stretch was his first career cycle on Sept. 20.
SS: Jack Brannigan (PIT No. 21)
A/A+: .275/.390/.524, 87 G, 19 HR, 54 RBI, 64 R, 53 BB, 24 SB
The 22-year-old was named the Pirates’ Hitting Prospect of the Year while learning three different infield positions in his first full season. Brannigan led the organization’s full-season qualifiers with a 146 wRC+ and was one of only three Pittsburgh prospects with at least 19 homers and 20 steals. Brannigan posted better numbers after his promotion in July, finishing with a .299 average, .987 OPS, 12 homers and 37 RBIs in 28 games at High-A.
OF: Jase Bowen (PIT No. 27)
A+/AA: .255/.327/.467, 118 G, 23 HR, 95 RBI, 86 R, 36 BB, 26 SB
The 23-year-old flashed 20-20 potential in each of the past two seasons before crossing that threshold this year. Bowen led the system in homers and RBIs while finishing second in total runs scored. The 2019 11th-rounder made a brief cameo at Double-A at the end of the regular season and is in the midst of a terrific Arizona Fall League campaign, where he is batting .304 with 11 extra-base hits and 17 RBIs for Salt River.
OF: Tres Gonzalez
A/A+: .289/.405/.402, 113 G, 9 HR, 58 RBI, 88 R, 80 BB, 28 SB
The 2022 fifth-rounder started strong after the Draft last year and followed with a remarkably consistent first full season in 2023. He was quickly promoted in May and finished with a .289 average, 400 OBP and 22 stolen bases over the rest of the season in the South Atlantic League. Gonzalez was one of nine Minor Leaguers with at least 85 runs, 80 walks, 25 steals and an OBP north of .399.
OF: Juan Machado
ROK: .291/.483/.441, 47 G, 2 HR, 24 RBI, 41 R, 47 BB, 29 SB
The 20-year-old displayed rather impressive strike zone discipline during his third season in the Dominican Summer League. Machado had the fourth-highest walk rate (26.4 percent) among all Minor Leaguers with at least 170 plate appearances. He was also fourth in the DSL in steals and was one of only three Minor Leaguers to steal more than 25 bases and receive fewer than 170 at-bats. Machado led all qualified Pirates prospects in OBP and wRC+ (156).
RHP: Jared Jones (PIT No. 3, MLB No. 69)
AA/AAA: 5-9, 3.85 ERA, 126 ⅓ IP, 146 K, 50 BB, .227 BAA, 1.23 WHIP
The 22-year-old used his wicked fastball-slider combo to lead the system in total strikeouts and had the highest K/9 (10.40) among all Pirates’ qualifiers while eclipsing 120 innings for the second consecutive season. Baker made note of Jones’ developing curveball and changeup and said that the 2020 second-rounder remained steady in Indianapolis, where he posted a 4.72 ERA, even as the ABS strike zone created a difficult environment for pitchers at Triple-A.
LHP: Anthony Solometo (PIT No. 4, MLB No. 84)
A+/AA: 4-7, 3.26 ERA, 110 ⅓ IP, 118 K, 39 BB, .227 BAA, 1.19 WHIP
Solometo attacks hitters with a lot of funk and deception from his lanky, 6-foot-5 frame. Among Pittsburgh prospects to complete at least 100 innings, the 20-year-old posted the best ERA, WHIP and BAA. Solometo made 12 starts for Altoona, posting a 4.35 ERA and .247 BAA. He was one of only 22 pitchers across the Minors to allow fewer than nine homers while completing more than 110 innings this season.
RP: Ryan Harbin
A/A+: 1-4, 4 SV, 3.15 ERA, 54 1/3 IP, 68 K, 29 BB, .221 BAA, 1.34 WHIP
Harbin got off to a tremendous start with Bradenton, posting a 0.83 ERA with 44 punchouts in 32 ⅔ innings before being promoted in July. His final output in Greensboro wasn’t pretty – 6.65 ERA and .294 BAA – but he did not allow an earned run in eight of his 14 outings. The 2019 17th-rounder was one of four Pirates pitchers with an ERA lower than 3.20 in at least 50 innings.