Pittsburgh Pirates Minor League system has Depth at Shortstop
Three Shortstops in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system have earned recent Promotions. Two of them have gone to the upper levels while one returned from the disabled list.
The shortstop position seems to be one of depth in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system. Three shortstops earned promotions to the next level, starting with Double-A Altoona shortstop Kevin Newman. Then to take Newman’s place Cole Tucker was brought up from Bradenton. The run ends as West Virginia Power shortstop Stephen Alemais slides into the position at Bradenton.
Newman was the first shortstop to move up. Newman received his call to Triple A Indianapolis last Wednesday. He started out with vengeance by registering a three hit day in his first game for the Indians. In his first five games with Indy, Newman is hitting .348 with a double and a pair of RBI.
I would say that the Pirates have put Newman on the fast track to Pittsburgh. The Pirates sixth ranked prospect is at Triple A just short of 24 years old. Every year since his drafting in 2015, he has played at two levels.
The hope is that Newman can continue to develop and maybe ready come September to see Pittsburgh. If not Newman should be pushing to be in the majors in 2018. With Jordy Mercer‘s contract up in 2018, this is the most likely scenario.
Tucker replaces Newman at Double A. Tucker ranks ahead of Newman on the Pirates top 30 prospect list and was drafted a year ahead of Newman in 2014. Tucker is younger than Newman just celebrating his 21st birthday. He has been a fairly consistent player in the lower levels of the minors hitting .270 for his career. Playing a level behind Newman should allow the Pirates to be more patient with him. Tucker is struggling to start his stint with the Curve, hitting .133 in four games. Though Tucker is making strides with better numbers this season in almost every offensive category. These numbers earned him a selection to the Florida State League All-star team.
Alemais is the 21st rank Pirates prospect and a third round draft pick in 2016. In limited game action, Alemais has looked average statistically. At the time of the promotion, he was hitting .223 for low A West Virginia. While he may have struggled a bit, so far the adjustment to High A is being made. In four games Alemais is hitting .455 with four RBI. His OBP is at .600 after posting a .266 OBP for the Power. To me, this might be an early promotion. This is Alemais’ first full season in the minors. This shows it’s an aggressive push. Being behind Newman and Tucker should help with development as there isn’t a rush to get him to the majors. Making it not a big deal if he needs more time to develop in Bradenton.
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The future of the Pittsburgh Pirates looks pretty bright at shortstop thanks to this depth. Newman and Tucker look like future everyday players if not potential high-level players. Meanwhile. Alemais will likely be more of a bench player but may be the most gifted defender of them all. It will be interesting to see how these three players shake out in the infield down the road.