Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Stories for the 2017 Season

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Pirates Meadows
Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports /

Prospects to Come Up

The last story will be when some of the top prospects make their debuts in the major leagues.  The biggest name to watch will be Austin Meadows.  As mentioned in the last slide, Meadows is considered the top prospect in the system, and he will eventually replace Andrew McCutchen.  That could happen as soon as this season.  Barring a serious injury or a trade of McCutchen, Meadows will likely stay in Triple-A so that he continues to develop and receive consistent at-bats.

The second prospect of note will be Nick Kingham.  Kingham was once a top 100 prospect in baseball but had a set back when he received Tommy John in 2015.  Kingham threw about 50 innings last season, and also made a few appearances this Spring.  He still is working on getting his command back, which was always considered a plus tool for him.  However, his velocity is back to normal sitting 92-94, and his curveball looks just as sharp as it did prior to surgery.  He is the next top pitching prospect who will reach the MLB, as he will be Triple-A this season.  One note is that he is starting the year on the disabled list with an ankle injury.

The other notable prospects that could help this year are not as big named, but they still have upside.  Two relievers like Dovydas Neverauskas and Edgar Santana are two top 30 prospects who will be relied on as bullpen depth.  Meanwhile, Steven Brault and Clay Holmes could be relied upon as starting pitching depth when injuries occurred. The other depth options will be Spring Training star Jose Osuna, Max Moroff, and Elias Diaz.  The other prospect of note who could push to the major league roster is shortstop Kevin Newman.  Newman played half the season in Double-A last year and is starting there this year.  If he has immediate success, he will likely get called up to Triple-A quickly and could set himself up to get called up late in the season if an injury occurs.