Run/Speed – Infielder Ji-Hwan Bae
MLB Pipeline (Run): 70
Fangraphs (Speed): 65, future 65
Ji-Hwan Bae is the best base runner in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. The Korean prospect broke out last season at Low-A Greensboro for the Pirates. In 380 plate appearances, Bae slashed .323/.403/.430 with 31 stolen bases in 42 total attempts. Bae also walked 11.3% of the time, and a .403 OBP with his speed grades are outstanding.
While guys like Travis Swaggerty, and Peguero are considered above average runners, very few players in general reached the 70 mark. That’s on par with the likes of when Byron Buxton and Trea Turner were prospects. The only question will be whether or not Bae can stay out of trouble off the field. He was limited to 83 games last season because of a domestic violence suspension.
MLB Pipeline places the middle infielder as the team’s 11th best prospect. His future position is likely second base as he isn’t a good enough fielder to stick at shortstop long-term. Speaking of the position, he also ranks as the 9th best second base prospect. Bae also ranks as the 11th best prospect in the Bucs’ system according to FanGraphs.
Outfielder Travis Swaggerty comes in at a close second with a 60 grade by MLB.com, but identical FanGraphs run grades with a 65 current/future grade. Last year at Bradenton, Swaggerty stole 23 bags and is ranked as a top 70 prospect according to FanGraphs, coming in at 61. He is also the team’s 3rd best prospect per FanGraphs and 6th best per MLB Pipeline.