Mid-season prospect rankings are just a few weeks away. So what Pittsburgh Pirates prospects could we see get moved up the rankings, move down the rankings, and which ones are on positive trends?
Believe it or not, but we’re nearing the mid-way point of the 2021 season. The Pittsburgh Pirates have already played 64 games this season. The Pirates will play game 81 on July 2nd if there aren’t any game cancellations or postponements. With the midseason mark quickly approaching, I want to take a look at what the organization’s midseason prospect rankings could look like.
Pushing Top 100
The first player I want to bring up that could be pushing the top 100 is Roansy Contreras. Acquired in the Jameson Taillon trade with the New York Yankees, the right-hander has been lights out with Double-A Altoona. Contreras has a 2.18 ERA, 2.03 FIP and a 0.87 WHIP through 33 innings of work. He’s struck out 36.4% of all the batters he’s faced, has allowed walks at just a 6.2% rate, and has let up a single home run. Plus, he has a ground ball rate over 50% at 52.9%.
Not only has Contreras been mowing down batters, but his stuff has looked ten times better than with the Yanks. Contreras averaged 92-94 MPH in 2019 but is averaging out around 96-98 MPH with his four-seamer. His breaking ball is looking extremely sharp and his change-up was already seen as an above-average offering even before making his way to his new organization. The mid-season rankings could see Contreras in the top 100-80 range with two offerings in the 60-65-grade range (his fastball and breaking ball), and a third 55-grade offering.
Contreras isn’t the only piece of the Taillon trade making a case to reach top 100 status. Infielder Maikol Escotto will also be in consideration to crack the top 100. Escotto is currently hitting .313/.465/.433 with a tremendous .445 wOBA and 158 wRC+ at Low-A Bradenton.
Escotto has a bit of a high ground ball rate, but he’s showing some decent patience at the plate. He is walking at a 19.8% rate, which is a 5.1% increase from 2019. Escotto has simply been raking at his level. Escotto started to show some power in his last few games with a .167 ISO in his 41 trips to the plate compared to a .041 mark in his first 45 plate appearances.
The only thing that is holding Escotto back from making that final push to get to the top 100 is an injury. Escotto hasn’t played a game since June 1st. If he had avoided this injury, he would be making a serious case to be cracking the list.
2020 supplemental first-round pick Carmen Mlodzinski is yet another pitcher who could make the top 100. Mlodzinski has an outstanding 0.55 ERA, 2.79FIP and 0.86 WHIP so far in 16.1 innings at High-A Greensboro. Mlodzinski has only allowed a single home run while striking out nearly 40% of all the batters he has faced with a 39.7% mark. Walks have been a bit of an issue though as he has an 11.1% walk rate. But that is a bit deceiving. 4 of his 7 walks came in just one of his starts. He’s walked just a single batter in 3 of his 4 outings this year.
Mlodzinski was a first-round pick for a good reason. His two-seam fastball averages out in the mid-90s with sinking action. He also has a slider, cutter, and changeup. However, none of his pitches are seen with below-average potential.