Five Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects Set To Play In The Arizona Fall League
By Marty Leap
Five Pittsburgh Pirates prospects are set to play in the Arizona Fall League this offseason
Wednesday afternoon, Major League Baseball announced the rosters for the Arizona Fall League this offseason. Five Pittsburgh Pirates prospects are set to participate in the AFL when play begins late next month.
Oneil Cruz, Jared Oliva, Blake Cederlind, Cody Ponce, and Nick Mears will all play in the AFL this offseason. These five players will all be members of the Peoria Javelinas.
The headliner of this group is Cruz. The top-100 prospect reached the Double-A level for the first time this season. Entering play on Wednesday Cruz was slashing .253/.309/.414 with a 106 wRC+ and a 11.1% extra base hit rate for the Curve. In recent years Cruz has emerged as one of the top power hitting prospects in all of baseball. It should be fun to see what he can do in the AFL against the highest quality pitching he has ever faced.
Oliva, an outfielder, is another intriguing prospect worth watching. The 23-year-old entered Wednesday with a .286/.360/.412 with 35 stolen bases at Double-A. Oliva’s 129 wRC+ this season is the best of his professional career, and, odds are, he will start 2020 with Triple-A Indianapolis.
Cederlind, Ponce, and Mears are all pitching prospects.
Cederlind was recently promoted to the Triple-A level. Through his first 3 2/3 innings pitched at Triple-A he has allowed 4 runs on seven hits, a home run, a walk, and four strikeouts. This came after he posted a 1.77 ERA, 3.06 FIP, and a 20.0% strikeout rate at Double-A this season. Cederlind can throw 100+ MPH and is one of the team’s top relief pitching prospects.
Ponce was acquired from the Brewers in exchange for Jordan Lyles. After starting his Pirate career at the Double-A level, he was promoted to Triple-A. In three games, all of which are starts, with the Indianapolis Indians Ponce has allowed 13 hits, 6 run, four home runs, three walks, and 17 strikeouts in 13 innings of work.
Finally, there is Mears. Currently, Mears pitches for Double-A Altoona which is his third different level of the season. In two outings with the Curve, Mears has allowed 1 run and struck out a pair in 3 innings of work. In 30 innings with High-A he owned a 3.60 ERA, 2.85 FIP, and a 35% strikeout rate. At Low-A, he owned a 3.09 ERA, 4.26 FIP, and a 41.3% strikeout rate.