Pittsburgh Pirates: Arizona Fall League Starts this Week

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

While Major League Baseball continues on with their playoffs, the Pittsburgh Pirates will see some of their prospects head out to the Arizona Fall League.

One event that goes on after the season that is always interesting to watch is the Arizona Fall League. The Pittsburgh Pirates and the other 29 teams in baseball partake in the annual league. This entry in the baseball calendar came to be back in 1992 and is currently comprised of six teams.  The players that make up the six teams are some of the top prospects from each team in Major League Baseball.  The majority of the prospects come from the upper minors, normally Triple-A and Double-A players.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have sent many of their top prospects over the last few years. Top prospects like Austin Meadows, Mitch Keller, and Kevin Kramer have partaken in the league. However, it is not always top prospects who make an impact in the Fall League, but lesser known prospects who establish themselves.  Last year, the Pittsburgh Pirates saw former sixth round pick JT Brubaker have a strong Fall League and follow it up with a strong 2018 season.

The Pittsburgh Pirates prospects will be a part of the Surprise Saguaros team which also will have prospects from the Royals, Cardinals, Rangers, and Blue Jays. Also, the Pittsburgh Pirates have a minor league pitching coach in Bryan Hickerson attending the Fall League.  So who from the Pittsburgh Pirates will be participating as this year’s Arizona Fall League gets underway this week?

As far as top pitching prospects go, the Pittsburgh Pirates are not sending any of their highly touted arms.  However, the most well-known pitching prospect for them going is right-handed pitcher Dario Agrazal.  Agrazal pitched mainly at Double-A Altoona in 2018 (had two rehab starts at High-A).  Joining Agrazal on the pitching side of things will be Matt Eckelman, Geoff Hartlieb, and 2017 draft pick Blake Weiman.

On the position and offensive side of things, the Pittsburgh Pirates will have four players heading out to Arizona.  While the pitching lacks any touted prospects, the offensive prospects are much more interesting.  Leading the group will be shortstop and 2014 first round pick Cole Tucker.  Tucker is a native of Arizona so it should be a really good experience for him.  He played his entire 2018 season at Double-A.

Following Tucker will be 2016 first round pick Will Craig.  Craig played with Tucker at Double-A and led the Pittsburgh Pirates minors in RBIs and home runs.  The last prospect is outfielder Bryan Reynolds.  Reynolds was acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Andrew McCutchen trade.  He had a strong season at Double-A, although he missed most of the first month and half of the season.

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The last Pittsburgh Pirates prospect playing for Surprise is catcher Arden Pabst.  Pabst played at three levels in 2018 including High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A, with a majority of the time being at Double-A.  The teams start play this week and it should be interesting to see if any of the lesser known prospects make a name for themselves over the next month or so in Arizona.