Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: 5 Breakout Seasons From 2021

Sep 29, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Roansy Contreras (59) delivers a pitch in his major league debut against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 29, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Roansy Contreras (59) delivers a pitch in his major league debut against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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SAN FRANCISCO, CA – AUGUST 09: A Pittsburgh Pirates hat, glove and bat sit in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 9, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

No. 5 – catcher Abrahan Gutierrez

The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Abrahan Guiterrez at the trade deadline this past season. He isn’t the last prospect acquired from the trade deadline that we’ll talk about, but the first. The Bucs sent left-handed relief prospect Braeden Ogle in return for Gutierrez who was in the middle of a breakout season with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Gutierrez was batting .288/.420/.429 with a .407 wOBA, and 139 wRC+ through his first 219 plate appearances of the season. The backstop had drawn 37 walks while only going down on strike three 34 times. Once traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Gutierrez improved. Gutierrez went on to hit .294/.448/.471 with a .438 wOBA, and 157 wRC+, albeit in a small sample size of 87 plate appearances. Still, he kept walking more than striking out, having a 16/13 BB/K ratio. Plus, his isolated slugging percentage increased from .141 pre-trade to .176 post-trade.

Gutierrez went from unranked to start the 2021 season to being the Pirates’ 54th best prospect. While that doesn’t seem very high ranked, the Pirates do have the second-best farm system in baseball by FanGraphs’ measurements. So while on paper, it may not be very high, he’s arguably a top 35 prospect in an average/below average system.

2022 will be the catcher’s age-22 season. Where he’ll start his season may be a bit up in the air. Endy Rodriguez, another catcher who had a phenomenal 2021, likely has the upper hand at a starting role at High-A. Guiterrez is Rule 5 eligible and the Pittsburgh Pirates may not protect him given his age and inexperience above A-Ball. Still, there’s a solid chance that the team can sneak him through the Rule 5 Draft and keep him around for the future.

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