Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects Who Will Benefit From a Full 2022 Season

U-32 senior Owen Kellington fires a pitch vs. Lamoille in East Montpelier on Tuesday, May 18, 2021.Bur Owen Kellington U32 Baseball 6
U-32 senior Owen Kellington fires a pitch vs. Lamoille in East Montpelier on Tuesday, May 18, 2021.Bur Owen Kellington U32 Baseball 6 /
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Pittsburgh Pirates
BRADENTON, FLORIDA – MARCH 22: A detail of the 2021 MLB Grapefruit league logo during a spring training game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Baltimore Orioles on March 22, 2021 at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

Outfielder Rodolfo Nolasco

I recently ranked Rodolfo Nolasco as the best international prospect the Pirates themselves signed (aka, not traded for or had previously signed with another team). While Nolasco is still considered a very talented player, a full season of play could dramatically increase his prospect stock.

This past season Nolasco hit .284/.402/.552 with 8 home runs in just 164 plate appearances. That’s a pace of 29 over the course of a 600-PA season. His power output was reflected in his strong .269 isolated slugging percentage. While his strikeout rate sat at 26.2%, he had a phenomenal 15.9% walk rate. Overall, Nolasco had a .436 wOBA and 150 wRC+. This is also the second season in a row Nolasco has put up a wRC+ above 130 (133 mark in 2019).

All around, Nolasco the only area of the game Nolasco lacks in is speed. He only projects to be a 40-grade runner. But he has an average projected hit tool, above-average projected game and raw power, and a solid glove with a good arm out in right field. Though once he fills out and matures more, a move to left field is likely in the cards for Nolasco.

But overall, between his two professional seasons, the outfielder only has 96 games played and 389 trips to the plate. Next year will be his age-20 season, so he’ll likely start the year out at A-Ball. While he might spend the entirety of the season at Low-A he has the talent to be one of the Pittsburgh Pirates better power-hitting prospects within the next few seasons.