Friday afternoon, MLB Pipeline wrote a piece discussing each teams fastest prospect. Here is what they came up with for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Speed, speed, speed that is going to be the theme for today’s piece. The Pittsburgh Pirates have quite a few names that fit the theme, but one particular player has found himself in the national spotlight, which is why I’m here talking to you. As you know, MLB Pipeline is always cranking out lists, and Friday they cranked out a list discussing each MLB team’s fastest prospect.
The dynamic trio of Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo, and Sam Dykstra teamed up with a piece called “Born to run: The fastest prospects in baseball.” So that left me thinking who were they going to pick for the Pirates, and after racking my brain, it came to me rather quickly. They chose Ji-Hwan Bae, and that is an excellent choice in my opinion.
Bae was the subject of another MLB Pipeline article where he was named number nine in the top ten second baseman prospect in the Minors. Bae, as the article suggests, is born to run plain and simple. In 2019 he swiped 31 bags which put him in the top five for the league speed kills, and I think Bae offers that in abundance.
Bae’s other speed stats are pretty impressive, too, with a 1.7 wSB, wRAA of 19.8, and a Speed Score of 8.2. All of these numbers indicate this kid can fly and when he’s on base, opposing pitchers have a handful to deal with. I know I wouldn’t want to look over my shoulder every second, wondering if he was going to take off or not.
The way Bae gets on base is through pure contact. With a future value of 70 in the hit tool department, it’s clear as day he can hit the ball. In 2019 Bae had a slash line of .323/.403/.430 along with a wOBA of .384. 30 of Bae’s 106 were XBH, and five of those were triples which was also top 5 in the league.
Last year Bae got the opportunity to be on the Taxi Squad and was able to continue to hone his craft with all of the coaches and players there as well. Spring training will loom large for a guy like Bae to determine where he will be sent to this summer in terms of minor league affiliates. I personally think he’s ready to jump to Altoona, and if he does, I’m curious to see how he deals with an upgrade in competition.
Finally, I will leave you with what MLB Pipeline had to say about Bae and his deadly speed.
” Bae, No. 9 on our Top 10 second base prospects list this year, is all about making contact, drawing walks and getting on base. He spent last summer at the Pirates’ alternate site, but he’s yet to play above the South Atlantic League. At that Low-A level in 2019, he swiped 31 bases in just 86 games, tying him for fourth in the league, while he also topped the circuit in batting average and finished third in OBP.”