The Pittsburgh Pirates saw one of their third base prospects show up on the top third baseman list. What about the shortstop list?
MLB Pipeline has been releasing their Top 10 Prospect lists by position. So far, the Pittsburgh Pirates have seen a few of their prospects show up on the lists. The Bucs saw their top right-handed pitching prospect Mitch Keller as the number four prospect on the right-handed list. Meanwhile, 2014 draft pick Ke’Bryan Hayes was ranked as the number four overall on the third base list. The Bucs did not have any players on the left-handed starter, catcher, or first baseman lists.
Today, MLB Pipeline released their Top 10 Shortstop list. Shortstop is one of the deepest parts of any prospect list because normally the players at the position are very athletic with a ton of upside at a premium position. Unfortunately, the Pittsburgh Pirates do not have any players represented on the list.
This comes surprisingly as Cole Tucker made a late push last year to be considered. Tucker spent all last season in Double-A and did not have the year that many had hoped. He started off the year slow, batting under .245 through the first two months. However, he started to turn things around in June and hit .273 over the last three months of the season.
However, he really picked it up in the Arizona Fall League, and this is why he could have ended up on the Top 10 list. Tucker led his Suprise Saguaros in hitting, batting .370 over 20 games. He actually compiled a higher batting average and OPS than the top prospect in baseball, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
The Arizona Fall League is one of the highest levels of competition for prospects, if not the highest. The fact that Tucker tore it up gives a lot of promise for what he can do this upcoming season. If he bats more like he did in the late summer and fall compared to the beginning of the season, he very well could end up on the list once it’s updated.
There was one positive thing for the Pittsburgh Pirates on this list. Under the category of ” Keep An Eye On”, Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Oneil Cruz was listed as the lone candidate. Cruz, of course, came to the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Dodgers as part of the Tony Watson trade. He also had a huge breakout campaign last season at Low-A. In Low-A Cruz batted .286/.343/.488 with 14 home runs in 107 games before his season was cut short due to injuries. Here is what Jim Callis added on Cruz:
"Cruz is bidding to become the first 6-foot-6 shortstop in big league history. While that may be a stretch, he hit .286/.343/.488 with 14 homers as a teenager in low Class A last season and is a better defender than would be expected for someone of his size."
With all this being said, Cruz very well could end up on the Top 10 list before Tucker does, as it appears Cruz was the first one left off. If he comes out at High-A and continues to show his developing power and improved plate discipline, then the Bucs could very well end up having one of the top shortstops in all of baseball.