Wednesday night a pair of highly touted Pittsburgh Pirates prospects turned heads with impressive debuts at the Triple-A level
The Pittsburgh Pirates have one of the most talented and deepest farm systems in all of baseball. MLB Pipeline ranks the Pirate farm system as the 4th best in all of baseball while FanGraphs ranks the Pirate farm system as the 3rd best in baseball.
Sunday evening the Pittsburgh Pirates promoted eight prospects from Double-A Altoona to Triple-A Indianapolis. This included six of the organization’s top 30 prospects. Two of these prospects were starting pitcher Roansy Contreras and shortstop Oneil Cruz.
Wednesday night both Contreras and Cruz made their Triple-A debuts. Both Contreras and Cruz were impressive in their debuts with the Indians. We will start with Contreras who could be helping to anchor the Pirate starting rotation sooner rather than later.
Making his first start with the Indians Contreras pitched 3.2 innings. Contreras allowed just 1 run on 4 hits, a walk and 6 strikeouts in his 3.2 innings pitched. He threw 42 of his 65 pitches (65%) for strikes.
Prior to being promoted to Indianapolis Contreras owned a 2.65 ERA, 2.74 FIP, 0.83 HR/9, 5.5% walk rate and a 34.9% strikeout rate in 54.1 innings pitched across 12 starts at Double-A. Had it not been for a forearm issue that cost Contreras a big chunk of the summer, odds are, he would have been at Triple-A a month or two ago.
Contreras has quickly become a top 100 prospect and one of the most highly touted pitching prospects in the Pirate farm system. If all goes according to plan Contreras will be a rotation anchor for the Pittsburgh Pirates before the end of the 2022 season.
In addition to Contreras, Cruz also made his Triple-A debut on Wednesday night. There are few prospects in all of baseball, let alone in the Pirate farm system, with the pure power potential that Cruz possesses.
Still playing shortstop, Cruz made an error in the loss. This will undoubtedly only further fuel the fires for those who would like to see Cruz move to right field, or, perhaps, see Cruz as the designated hitter for the Pittsburgh Pirates, assuming the National League adopts the DH this offseason.
Despite the error, Cruz made a positive impact in the 4-3 Indy victory. Cruz was 1-for-3 with a walk at the plate on Wednesday night. The lone hit? Well that was his first Triple-A home run.
This came after Cruz hit 12 home runs at Double-A this season. Cruz put together arguably the best offensive season of his professional career with Altoona this season. Hopefully, Thursday night’s home run is a sign of Cruz being on his way to finishing the 2021 season strong with Indianapolis.
Both Contreras and Cruz are players the Pirates will be looking to for a big impact in 2022. Due to this they will be worth watching at Triple-A down the stretch. If all goes according to plan they will finish the season strong with Indy.