Pittsburgh Pirates: Checking in on Maikol Escotto


The Pittsburgh Pirates in the midst of their rebuild acquired a high upside player in the lower levels of the minor leagues. How is Maikol Escotto performing?

When the Pittsburgh Pirates hired Ben Cherington as General Manager the goal was clear.  Improve the farm system and improve player development.  After only trading Starling Marte in his first season, this past offseason he moved out Josh Bell, Joe Musgrove, and Jameson Taillon while acquiring prospects that have some upside.

One of those high upside prospects is Maikol Escotto, who was acquired for Taillon.  Before the 2020 season, FanGraphs mentioned that Escotto was a “pick to click” and a player to watch for the 2021 top 100 prospect list.  While the 2020 season cost him that chance, FanGraphs gave him a 40+ and gave him above average raw power and stated he has the chance to stick at shortstop.

Escotto was an under the radar addition that represented the upside the Pirates are targeting.  He had just 45 games in the DSL in 2019 and doesn’t turn 19 until June.  The Pirates, in theory, basically added a player that age of a high school draft pick that is already playing in Low-A.  While in the DSL, the infielder hit .315/.429/.552, indicating a positive return for the Yankees and why the Pirates targeted him.

To start 2021, Escotto was placed in Low-A Bradenton and through three games is hitting .273/.333/.455 with six strikeouts in 11 plate appearances.  The strikeouts are concerning but it’s early and he’s still young.  Defensively, Escotto has played two games at shortstop and a game at second base.  Some public reports have him likely as a second baseman and with both Jase Bowen and Dariel Lopez on the roster, they’ll split reps at the two middle infield positions.

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Escotto is certainly a player to keep a spotlight on this season.  He is a player who had the chance to be top 100 entering 2021 if not for the lost season in 2020 and represents upside within the Pirates organization.  In the first series of the season strikeouts were an issue but expect Escotto to perform well the rest of the way.