Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects 2021 Season Recap: Maikol Escotto
By Marty Leap
After being acquired this past offseason infielder Maikol Escotto helped lead the Low-A Bradenton Marauders to a league championship in first season with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization
With the 2021 season now in the rear view mirror we will start to recap the season for many of the highly touted prospects the Pittsburgh Pirates have accumulated. We kick that off by looking on the season of an infielder who FanGraphs ranks as their 15th best prospect.
When the Pittsburgh Pirates traded starting pitcher Jameson Taillon to the New York Yankees this past offseason they received a package of four players in return. One of these four players was infielder Maikol Escotto.
After not playing in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic canceling the minor league season the Pittsburgh Pirates assigned the 19-year-old Escotto to Low-A Bradenton for the 2021 season. While Escotto ran into some struggles in the second half of the season he still helped lead the Marauders to a league championship.
Overall the right-handed hitting Escotto hit for a .234/.354/.347 slash line to go with a wRC+ of 100 in 381 plate appearances across 81 games played at shortstop. While Escotto struggled with the swing-and-miss, striking out in 30.4% of his trips to the plate, he still had a well above average walk rate of 14.2%.
On-base has always been a skill that Escotto has had as he drew walks at a 14.7% clip playing in rookie ball for the Yankees in 2019. During that 2019 season Escotto got on base at a .429 clip, although he struggled with strikeout in 2019 as well striking out at a 26.1% rate.
After a strong start to the season Escotto did somewhat limp to the finish line. In his final 35 games of the season Escotto hit for just a .178/.274/.256 slash line to go with an alarming 34.2% strikeout rate and a wRC+ of just 53 in his final 129 at-bats of the season.
While Escotto struggled down the stretch just getting at-bats and game reps is what mattered most following 2020. Escotto also capped his season off with a strong showing in the postseason. Escotto was 5-for-11 with a a walk, a home run, 3 RBI and a pair of stolen bases in the postseason.
Following the Taillon trade most of the attention went to pitchers Miguel Yajure and Roansy Contreras, and for good reason. After all, as well saw this past season, Yajure was already MLB ready and Contreras has frontline of the rotation potential.
That said, there were some scouts who viewed Escotto as the players with the highest ceiling of anyone acquired by the Pirates in the trade. Escotto flashed this at times in 2021 and will look to build upon in 2022 when he will likely start the season back at Low-A again, but, barring struggles, should find himself with High-A Greensboro before the end of the season.