The Pittsburgh Pirates have been releasing some minor league players before the start of the season. They recently released a former top pick.
Entering the season, the Pittsburgh Pirates and teams around the Major Leagues have to start cutting players. While veterans who get cut make the headlines, teams release even more minor league players and many of the prospects are lower level players who have never been able to get it going in the minors.
However, every once in a while a notable prospect gets released by teams. The Pittsburgh Pirates have let go of a prospect this week that was somewhat recognizable in the team’s situation. According to MILB.com, the team has released a former third-round pick by the name of Casey Hughston. The Bucs gave Hughston an over-slot deal to join the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.
The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Hughston in the third round of the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft. Hughston was an outfielder out of the University of Alabama and was one of the youngest college players available in the draft. He is 6’2” and weighs around 200 pounds, and coming out of Alabama he was noted for his left-handed swing and raw power. The thought was that he one day he could represent a solid middle of the lineup type bat, especially in the left-handed friendly PNC Park. Here was the scouting report from MLB.com on the day he was drafted:
"A physical specimen at 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, Hughston has plus raw power to all fields and the speed to match. He has improved his plate discipline significantly in the last year, though he still can get too aggressive and pull-happy at times."
Instead, Hughston never really had a chance to show off his raw power. Just in general, Hughston struggled from the outset of being in the Pittsburgh Pirates system and never really rebounded. His final slash line over the last 3.5 years in the organization was a very poor .215/.277/.338 with 130 strikeouts in 105 total games. Hughston not only struggled on the field, but he also struggled to stay healthy. He only averaged 30 games over his 3.5 years in the system.
Hughston was a high draft pick. The team selected him in the third round and paid him an over-slot bonus in hopes that they would get a projectable power outfield bat. Instead, the team got a player who struggled to hit and stay healthy, ultimately leading to his release this week.