The Pittsburgh Pirates farm system needs to continuously develop talent. MLB Pipeline has released their top 10 second base prospects and it features two prospects from the Pirates.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are a small market team and need a farm system to continuously develop talent at the big league level. Ideally they would have middle of the the field players who are athletic enough that they can be moved around the diamond if needed. Well, it appears they have at least two such players with MLB Pipeline ranking two Pirates prospects on their top second base list for 2021.
The first player is Nick Gonzales, the Pirates 2020 first round draft pick from New Mexico State. The former Aggie comes in as the second best prospect, though Nick Madrigal will graduate off the list early on in 2021 indicating that the Gonzales will shortly be the best second base prospect in the game. They list Gonzales as the second base prospect with the most upside, writing
"“The sixth overall pick last June, Gonzales topped NCAA Division I in batting (.432) in 2019 and homers (12 in 16 games) in 2020 while winning MVP honors in the wood-bat Cape Cod League in between. He has uncommon offensive upside for a second baseman and could hit .300 with 20-25 homers per season.”"
That is a good sign for the Pirates, as Ben Cherington’s first pick as Pirates General Manager looks to be a good one. We’ve written extensively here at RumBunter that Gonzales should be moved aggressively through the system, and seeing him ranked so highly reinforces that point.
The other player on the list is Ji-Hwan Bae, an original signing of the Atlanta Braves but was lost because of rule breaking. The Pirates signed Bae and it appears he too is a top prospect in the system. Bae was given 70 grade with the following description,
"“Bae won the low Class A South Atlantic League batting title (.323) and stole 31 bags in 86 contests during his 2019 full-season debut.”"
The Pirates are continuing to build out their farm system – with trades of Josh Bell, Joe Musgrove, and Jameson Taillon – and it appears that they’re trending up. Both Gonzales and Bae are top second base prospects in baseball with a different skill set, but nonetheless good to see two members ranked highly. Both could be contributors as the Pirates look again to compete around 2023-2024.