Pittsburgh Pirates: Top Performing Minor League Hitters Part One

(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Pirates
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Rookie: Gulf Coast League (GCL)

The GCL features a lot of raw players, most recent high school draft picks and first-time stateside players.  There are some players that do stick out for the Pirates, especially a 2018 30th round draft pick in Jack Herman, but he does need to prove himself again this year and against better competition, before he can be viewed as a top 30, or close to, prospect:

Top GCL League Performers Components
Samuel Inoa -1.11 -0.33 0.60 0.05 1.41 1.94 0.89 -1.33
Francisco Acuna 0.32 0.24 -0.23 -0.14 -0.59 -0.84 0.65 -0.14
Joseivin Medina 0.32 -1.37 -1.17 -2.02 -1.26 -0.98 -0.25 -2.45
Ji-Hwan Bae 0.32 0.82 0.35 0.58 0.00 -0.43 1.53 0.12
Jack Herman 0.32 1.26 1.34 1.60 1.26 0.79 1.08 1.46
Jean Eusebio 1.76 -0.12 -0.15 -0.56 0.00 0.18 -0.04 -0.89

Samuel Inoa, a catcher from the Dominican Republic, is interesting, as he showed good power but the walk rate did leave lots to be disappointed.  He is older than the group of players looked at, and 2018 was his first year of pro ball stateside, and he hit .316/.433/.487 in the DSL in 2017.  Fangraphs does note that he might stick as a catcher but do talk about the hit tool.

Ji-Hwan Bae originally signed with the Braves but after their problems in regards to signing international players, Bae signed for $1.25 million with the Pirates.  He didn’t show much with power, being average in slugging and below in ISO, but did make a lot of contact as seen by the strikeout rate z-score.  Bae is most known for his speed, and he went 10/14 in 2018.  His developmental path will be one to watch.

The top performer was Herman, who slashed .340/.435/.489 with a 13.6 percent walk rate and a 14.2 percent strikeout rate.  The outfielder was by far the best of the Pirates performers, and Fangraphs wrote up,

"“He’s just 6-foot tall but has a broad-shouldered frame with some room for more mass and there’s already some pop here. His arm is plus.”"

There is a lot of risk in Herman, and it’s too soon to make any conclusions, but the corner outfielder did have a loud debut and he’ll need to continue to make noise to be put on the prospect radar, and it’ll be interesting to see if he can continue to hit or if he’ll struggle as Mason Martin did in his second year of pro ball.  The top performers by z-score are:

Top GCL Performers 2018
Name Age PA Total_Z
Jack Herman 18 169 7.86
Ji-Hwan Bae 18 152 2.49
Samuel Inoa 19 108 2.44
Jean Eusebio 17 116 0.31
Francisco Acuna 18 130 -0.97
Joseivin Medina 18 68 -7.80