Pittsburgh Pirates Prospect Report: Casey Hughston


Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates number 21 prospect is outfielder Casey Hughston, who was drafted in 2015 from the University of Alabama.

Having just been drafted as a sophomore in 2015, Hughston still has a long way to go before he reaches Pittsburgh but the crowded outfield in PNC Park should allow him to develop before getting there.

He started all 60 games in his sophomore season for the Crimson Tide and saw his batting average jump 62 points to .332. In addition, he hit 6 home runs with 44 RBI, posted an on-base percentage of .389 and stole 12 bases.

His breakout season got him drafted but Hughston struggled in his first few weeks as a professional. Through 11 games, Hughston had begun his career 1-43 at the plate with 15 strikeouts, good for a.023 batting average. After the rough patch, however, Hughston was able to bat .273 through the last 50 games with 2 home runs and 27 RBI.

More from Pirates Prospects

One thing that stands out is Hughston’s ability to get hot at the plate (and not that he’s streaky, just that he can catch fire at times). During the SEC Tournament, he lead Alabama with a .333 average and 7 doubles. He proved he could do it as a pro as well; over a 9-game hitting streak, he went 17-34 with 3 doubles and 6 RBIs.

His power hasn’t shown up yet, but the Pirates are fine with that as long as he can learn to be a more patient hitter. He struck out at an alarming rate of 29.1% and walked just once for nearly every 5 strikeouts. Once he learns to stop chasing pitches, both of those numbers should move in the right direction.

As far as his defense, Hughston played centerfield for the West Virginia Black Bears after being drafted and had no problems. He has the speed and the arm to play center and should that not work out, he would be an overqualified corner outfielder.

More from Rum Bunter

His versatility in the outfield may help him reach the majors but with Andrew McCutchen currently residing there, it would make sense for Hughston to consider a switch.

In conclusion, Hughston is still a project in the most infantile stages. He has the potential to be a great outfielder – his coach at Alabama called him a five-tool player – but he’ll need to change his approach at the plate. His lack of discipline hurt him this season and if he can’t fix that, the Pirates won’t have use for him. He does have plenty of time to work on this with three solid outfielders in Pittsburgh so I think the Pirates will take it slow, keep him in A-ball and let him develop into a good 4th outfielder at the least. We probably won’t see him until 2019.