Pittsburgh Pirates: How are the Newer Prospects Doing?

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates have added a good bit of prospect talent over the last year or so. How are they doing so far this season?

Last season, the Pittsburgh Pirates started to rebuild, or maybe more of a retooling of the organization. The first real domino was when they traded Tony Watson. Then, this past offseason they dealt away Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen. In all three trades, the Pittsburgh Pirates added prospects of note. This organization has gone through somewhat of a transition phase over the last two years in both the majors and the minors. So how are these new prospects doing this season?

Tony Watson

Angel German is a relief pitching prospect the team acquired.  The scouting report on German speaks about his ability to hit 100 miles per hour on the radar gun. Of course, the current 21-year-old has a big fastball, but that comes command issues. For instance, this year in one appearance German threw two innings and struck out six batters. However, he also walked three batters. On the yea,  he has accumulated six innings and has walked four, struck out 11, and has a 4.50 ERA.

Oneil Cruz was the bigger name acquired. He ranked as a top 30 prospect for the Dodgers as an 18-year-old. Here at Rum Bunter, we have him ranked at number 15 and MLB Pipeline currently has him at number 14. Of course, the thing that makes Cruz so appealing is his size.  He stands at 6’6” and weighs 175 pounds. He likely has the most raw power in the system due to his frame. The current shortstop for the West Virginia Power is only 19 years of age. This year he has played all nine games at short and has already made six errors there. Due to his size, it is unlikely he will stay there and he could slide over to third as soon as this season. For the season, he is batting .152 with a .282 OBP.  He only has five hits on the season, but three are home runs and one is a double.

Gerrit Cole

The Gerrit Cole trade was headlined by Colin Moran and Joe Musgrove. Moran is technically considered a prospect, even though he is in the major leagues. Moran ranks as MLB Pipelines’ number eight prospect and ranks at number six here. The Pittsburgh Pirates opening day third baseman is already impressing with his performance in the early going. Through his first 11 games he is hitting .316/.395/.447 with two doubles, and a home run. He also has walked five times and only struck out six times.

Jason Martin was the only “true” prospect that was brought in by Gerrit Cole. He started the year at Double-A, but did not play right away due to a minor injury. The left-handed hitting outfield prospect has appeared in four games so far. He is batting .294/.294/.529. His slash line suggests the exact player he has been. He is not a very disciplined hitter, but has good pop and speed, having two triples already this season. The biggest issue is the athletic outfielder will swing and miss a lot, and he has already struck out seven times this season. He does not rank in Rum Bunter’s top 20 prospects, but he does rank at number 22 on MLB Pipeline’s list.

Andrew McCutchen

The key prospect in the Andrew McCutchen trade was outfielder Bryan Reynolds. The former 59th overall pick was the Gaints number four prospect according to MLB Pipeline, and they have him ranked at number six this year for the Bucs. Here at Rum Bunter, we have him ranked at number eight overall. The former Vanderbilt standout started in Double-A and appeared in just four games. He was slashing .231/.267/.538.  However, a hamate bone fracture has sidelined him for the near-term future.

The other prospect was relief pitcher Kyle Crick. Crick is like Moran in the sense that he has big league experience also. He started this year in Triple-A and recently was called up to the majors. The righty appeared in three games at Triple-A Indy, and he left a 2.25 ERA in his four innings of work there. He had five strikeouts with zero walks. So far he has pitched one inning in his two games on the Pittsburgh Pirates roster and gave up a run on an inherited runner, but none that count against him. He punched out one batter in his one inning.

Next: Bryan Reynolds Set for Surgery

These are all the prospects that were acquired in the last year. All have a lot of potential, but are spread across the levels of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. Of course, the most important ones currently are Colin Moran and Kyle Crick, as they are looking to impact the major league team right now.