Pittsburgh Pirates: Triple-A Indianapolis Preview

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates minor league affiliates are getting underway this Thursday.  Here is a look at the Triple-A team for the start of this season.

The Pittsburgh Pirates Triple-A affiliate is the Indianapolis Indians.  This Thursday they kick off their 2019 campaign against the Columbus Clippers of the Cleveland Indians organization.  The team plays at Victory Field and very well could be the team’s best minor league affiliate this season.

The Triple-A Indianapolis team is truly loaded, having some of the Pittsburgh Pirates top prospects.  On our top prospect list here at Rum Bunter, six of the top 12 prospects are set to open the season at Triple-A.  This includes the organization’s top hitting and pitching prospect Ke’Bryan Hayes and Mitch Keller.  Joining those two will be Cole Tucker, Kevin Kramer, Bryan Reynolds, and Jason Martin.  Here are some predictions for the teams:

Team MVP: Ke’Bryan Hayes

Yes, Hayes is the team’s top hitting prospect, but that is also why he is an obvious choice for Triple-A Indy’s Most Valuable Player.  He has always been a stud defensively but he has also really improved offensively.  Hayes showed off his talents this Spring when he outperformed most of the Pittsburgh Pirates starters.

Hayes hit .351/.361/.794 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in 21 games.  This was after having his best season offensively in Double-A last year, batting .293/.375/.444 with the Curve.  Hayes very well could be MLB ready by this summer, however with Colin Moran and Jung Ho Kang at third base already, there is no immediate clear path to the majors.  This could allow Hayes to play most of the season at Triple-A, therefore making a big impact across the minor league season.

Team Pitcher of the Year: JT Brubaker

Mitch Keller is the team’s defined ace, being the top pitching prospect in the system and one of the top pitching prospects in baseball.  However, because of this, he may be called up as soon as possible by the Pittsburgh Pirates.  This will leave JT Brubaker as Indy’s top pitcher and who could be one of the biggest breakout candidates this year.

Brubaker really came onto the scene two years ago when he put up really strong stats in the Arizona Fall League.  The AFL is a month-long schedule that hosts many of the top prospects in baseball.  Brubaker pitched to a 2.63 ERA and struck out 16 hitters in his 13.2 innings of work.

Brubaker built on that performance last season between Double-A and Triple-A.  At Double-A, the former Akron Zip posted an ERA of 1.80 ERA in his first six starts.  The Bucs bumped him up to Triple-A and while he regressed some, he was still very effective.  He made 22 total starts for Indy and pitched to a 3.10 ERA with 96 strikeouts.

Like Hayes, Brubaker could be Major League ready this year, but will find himself down the depth chart in terms of call up order.  As mentioned earlier, the team will have Mitch Keller to call up at some point.  Also, waiver pickup and Top 30 prospect Rookie Davis will likely get a promotion before Brubaker.  Davis also already has big league experience so that would likely give him the nod ahead of Brubaker as well.

dark. Next. Top 30 Prospects

The Pittsburgh Pirates Triple-A affiliates have a lot of talent on it this year.  It is good news as the big league club will have plenty of players to pull from when needed.  This also should allow the Indianapolis Indians to legitimately contend for the International League title.