The Pittsburgh Pirates have a young outfield prospect who has all the tools to turn into a future top prospect. Here is how he has performed in his limited time.
In 2018 the Pittsburgh Pirates saw a big change to their International Scouting. The team had fired long time scout Rene Gayo and replaced him with Junior Vizcaino. Gayo, who was known for signing Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco, had run himself out of Major League Baseball. It was found out that, more or less, Gayo was convincing the Pittsburgh Pirates to sign players for more money than they were worth. In turn, Gayo would get a cut of the action from the player’s manager for helping get his player a higher price.
When this news came out, it was just another answer to what was going wrong under the former Front Office. Obviously, the Pittsburgh Pirates were not getting the talent they thought they were paying for, which has limited their system. Since Vizcaino has taken over that has changed. The Bucs have seemed to be more aggressive and in fact have signed multiple top 100 International prospects since Vizcaino took over.
This includes outfielder Rodolfo Nolasco. The Pittsburgh Pirates signed Nolasco out of the Dominican Republic in 2018 for a modest bonus of $235,000. While this bonus was not as high as some, Nolasco was still noted for having plenty of potential. The right-handed hitter has a very strong and athletic frame, standing at 6’1” and weighing around 175 pounds when the team signed him. According to FanGraphs, he is growing into his frame already:
"Nolasco, who has quickly added mass to his frame (his shoulders are huge, as if he’s got cantaloupe halves perched on either side of his neck) and grown into considerable power. His swing is not presently geared for the kind of in-game power you hope for based on Nolasco’s raw juice, but the barrel feel and ball/strike recognition are fairly advanced for a player this age."
Unfortunately for Nolasco, this was a lost season for him. This would have been a big year for him to really put himself on the prospect map. In 2019, Nolasco played at the Gulf Coast League and hit a strong .302/.373/.472. What was even more impressive was that he only struck out 11 percent of the time, which is rare for such a young hitter.
This year, Nolasco likely would have gotten an aggressive push to the Low-A. Last year he showed that he is an advanced hitter and Ben Cherington spoke about being aggressive with some of their younger prospects. Right now, Nolasco ranks as the Pittsburgh Pirates 18th ranked prospect on FanGraphs’ The Board. Obviously he is already catching attention, once he gets a chance to play, Nolasco very likely will keep rising up boards.