The Pittsburgh Pirates season started yesterday, and their minor leaguers will look to get things started here shortly.
The Pittsburgh Pirates won their first game of the 2021 season by a score of 5-3 against the Chicago Cubs. For a team expected to finish in the bottom five of the standings, yesterday was a good start. But for the Pirates, the Major League team is not the main focal point, at least in terms of wins and losses. 2021 is all about player development throughout the organization. This includes players on the Major League team with Mitch Keller needing to step up, Bryan Reynolds and Kevin Newman looking to rebound, Anthony Alford staying healthy, and Ke’Bryan Hayes continuing to perform.
The farm system is where the club will shine. Since Ben Cherington has taken over, the Pittsburgh Pirates have aggressively added talent to the farm system. They appear as a top 10 system on MLB Pipeline, ESPN, and FanGraphs while ranking 13th on Baseball America. After having missed out on a developmental season in 2020, the 2021 season will be huge.
Despite the team has announced the coaching staffs for the Minor League clubs, we still don’t quite know the full rosters yet among the four levels (Indianapolis will be Triple-A, Altoona Double-A, Greensboro High-A and Bradenton A ball). It is assumed right-handed pitchers Max Kranick and Cody Bolton will be in Triple-A Indianapolis to start the season but one could find themselves in Double-A Altoona. Miguel Yajure will be with Indianapolis. Travis Swaggerty, Oneil Cruz, and Rodolfo Castro could all be banging on the door in 2021 and could start anywhere between Double-A and Triple-A. Here at RumBunter we have hoped to see Nick Gonzales be pushed aggressively, but he should start the year in High-A Greensboro.
While the Triple-A season was supposed to start up on April 6th, it has been delayed until early May and will start more inline with the other levels of the minor leagues. Until then, an alternate site type of action will occur, similar to 2020. This is a big season for the Pirates player development staff and we should get some clarity on what levels each prospect will be at here soon.