Pittsburgh Pirates: AFL Enters Final Week of Play

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

The Arizona Fall League is coming to a close, and the Pittsburgh Pirates are seeing many of their prospects getting valuable playing time.

On November 17th, the Arizona Fall League will come to a close.  The Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate, the Surprise Saguaros, are in last place in their division.  With that being said, the team likely will not be making the postseason as a part of the AFL.  However, they have had several prospects performing well thus far.

Cole Tucker has been the best performing prospect for the Saguaros.  The former first-round pick for the Pittsburgh Pirates and is showing why this fall.  So far he has posted a slash line of .370/.435/.452.  He actually leads Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in batting average and on-base percentage.  The shortstop has only struck out nine times in 17 games and has stolen six bags.  Hopefully, he can finish out this week on a strong note.

Another former first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates Will Craig has also put together a solid Arizona Fall League.  Craig has not put up eye-popping numbers like Tucker, but solid ones.  So far, Craig has posted a slash line of .275/.338/.493 with four home runs in 18 games. Also, he has a total of seven extra base hits with three doubles as well.  He has struck out 17 times in 18 games.

Bryan Reynolds, who was acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates in last year’s Andrew McCutchen trade, is performing the worst of the three offensive players.  So far through 14 games, Reynolds is batting below the Mendoza Line, hitting .163/.323/.224.  The interesting thing is that Reynolds has actually made a lot of contact, but might be suffering from some bad luck.  He has only struck out 11 times through those 14 games.

Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Pirates have had numerous pitchers throwing in the Arizona Fall League.  Surprise has used all four of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitching prospects so far, mainly using the relievers.  Geoff Hartlieb has thrown the most innings out of all the Pittsburgh Pirates prospects.  So far through 12.1 innings, Hartlieb owns an earned run average of 7.30.

Blake Weiman follows Hartlieb in innings with 11.2 innings pitched.  The former Kansas Jay Hawk and 2017 draft pick has done very well, owning a 2.31 ERA with 10 strikeouts. The last relief prospect in the Fall League is Matt Eckelman who has not thrown well at all.  He has accumulated eight innings and has given up 11 earned runs (14 total) for an ERA of 12.38.

Next. Burdi Future in the Bullpen?. dark

So far, the best prospects have been Cole Tucker, Will Craig, and Blake Weiman.  Weiman is encouraging because he is a big lefty who looks like he could be a nice lefty specialist out of the bullpen down the road.  Meanwhile, Craig continues to hit for a high slugging as he did in 2018.  Of course, Cole Tucker has arguably been one of the best prospects in the league.  He definitely is raising his stock a lot.  Hopefully, the players have a strong final week.

*Dario Agrazal threw in the league’s first game and has not appeared since.