Pittsburgh Pirates Minors: Under-the-Radar Prospects Off to a Hot Start

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Pittsburgh Pirates
PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 20: A New Era pillbox Pittsburgh Pirates baseball hat is seen in the dugout during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park on July 20, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Aaron Shackelford

Aaron Shackelford is not much of a top prospect. He’s a 24-year-old at High-A Greensboro. But he’s gotten off to a fantastic start to 2021 and, given his age, he could make his way up through the minors quickly.

Shackelford was selected out of The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, California, with the Pirates’ 14th round selection in 2019. His first taste of professional action went very well. Through his first 234 plate appearances, Shackelford batted .274/.339/.491 with a .369 wOBA and 124 wRC+. His walk and strikeout rates weren’t the greatest, with an 8.5% walk rate and 23.1% strikeout rate, but they weren’t awful either. Shackelford saw time at third base and second base at Bristol.

So far this season Shackelford has stepped to the plate 41 times, collecting 11 hits, including 4 home runs and 2 doubles. Not only is Shackelford showing some power, but he’s also showing some patience at the plate. He’s walked 7 times so far while striking out 10 times. So far, he’s only seen time at first base but given his experience at other positions, he could see some time at the hot corner, or left field if need be.

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Shackelford is hitting well enough, a promotion to Double-A could be in his sights by the end of May. The way he is currently hitting, he has the chance to at least get a cup of coffee in the Major Leagues by September.