Now that the busiest month of the Pittsburgh Pirates rebuild is over, what do they do next in their build up to contention?
The Pittsburgh Pirates just had one of the biggest and most important months for their rebuild. They capped off a fantastic draft while trading away pieces that brought in young players who have the potential to be important pieces to their long term team. With the draft and deadline behind us, the Pirates now have arguably the best farm system in all of baseball and at least top 3.
So, what’s next for the rebuild?
The Big Focus
Well now the biggest focus should be prospect development. This isn’t to say that prospect development wasn’t a big focal point before this month, but now it should be at the forefront of their plans. The Pittsburgh Pirates have a top 3, potentially the #1 system, but that doesn’t guarantee anything. Although an extremely deep system that gives the Pirates multiple chances at multiple positions to find quality MLB players, the Pirates need to put their resources now into player development.
Any more young players?
The Pittsburgh Pirates don’t have much left to trade after the trade deadline. They may still form a swap including Chris Stratton. Jacob Stallings may also move, but probably not for anything less than a sizable overpay given the value he brings as a strong defensive catcher and game caller to a young pitching staff. Though this isn’t the end of the Pirates acquiring high-end, young talent.
As things stand right now, the Pirates would end up having the #4 pick in the draft. Assuming they still end the season with a top 5 pick, they’ll have another chance in 2022 to get one of the draft’s best prospects. So far, Ben Cherington has done well with both his drafts. This past draft was outstanding, and that may be an understatement. Though the Pirates may not bring in many more, if any prospects in trade, the 2022 draft will still net the Pirates a few good prospects at the very least. Though the team will probably make more trades like the Clay Holmes, or Austin Davis swaps if the opportunity presents itself.
When Do We Start Seeing The Fruits Of This Rebuild?
This rebuild started on the very last day of the 2019 season when the Pittsburgh Pirates fired Clint Hurdle as their manager. Since then, we’ve seen a huge turnover in terms of the roster, coaches, player development and scouting staffs, and the farm system go from a middle of the pack list to one of, if not the best among all 30 MLB teams with one of the brightest futures in all of baseball. Though the fruits of this rebuild may pay off sooner than many think.
The fruits of this rebuild may start to pay off as soon as 2022. By the end of the season, a large list of Pirates prospects will have a good chance of graduating rookie status. This is the case with Travis Swaggerty, Oneil Cruz, Roansy Contreras, Canaan Smith-Njigba, Miguel Yajure, Mason Martin, Omar Cruz, Tucupita Marcano, Diego Castillo, and Hoy Park. Nick Gonzales, Liover Peguero, Santiago Florez, Tahnaj Thomas, Carmen Mlodzinski, Ji-Hwan Bae, Jackson Glenn, Carter Bins, and Jack Suwinski have a good chance of at least making their debuts and getting their first taste of big league action.
Now expecting every single one of these prospects to hit the ground running is foolish, but expecting every single one of these prospects to completely fail on their first attempt at the major leagues is also just as foolish.
The Pirates have a large volume of young talent who could make an impact on the major league squad by the end of 2022. Combine them with Bryan Reynolds, Ke’Bryan Hayes, JT Brubaker, David Bednar, potentially Mitch Keller, Bryse Wilson, Wil Crowe, Max Kranick, Rodolfo Castro, Jacob Stallings, Colin Moran, and any free agents the team may bring in, and you have a very solid squad of players going out of 2022 and heading into 2023 where you should see another large quantity of young, talented players make their debuts.