Through the first 14 Peoria Javelinas games of the Arizona Fall League the prospects of the Pittsburgh Pirates playing in the AFL are finding success
This fall the Pittsburgh Pirates have three hitting prospects playing in the Arizona Fall League. The hottest of these three hitters thus far has been infielder, quickly turning utility man, Ji-Hwan Bae who is off to a terrific start with the Peoria Javelinas.
Bae is a middle infielder by trait but has also been playing the outfield in the AFL. This is likely due to the Pirates wanting to turn Bae into a utility player long-term. Through his first 55 plate appearances in the AFL the left-handed hitting Bae has hit for a .340/.418/.511 slash line to go with a pair of home runs as well as a pair of doubles. Bae will likely start the 2022 season at the Triple-A level and looks primed to make his MLB debut at some point during the season.
Another prospect who is swinging a hot bat for the Javelinas is arguably the best Pirate hitting prospect – infielder Nick Gonzales. Gonzales is another prospect who could make his MLB debut in 2022.
While his long-term home will likely be at second base, Gonzales has also been getting time at shortstop this fall. Gonzales is currently hitting for a .317/.417/.390 slash line to go with 3 doubles, 6 walks and 5 RBI.
The third Pirate position player prospect playing in the AFL is left-handed hitting outfielder Canaan Smith-Njigba. Acquired in the Jameson Taillon trade, Smith-Njigba spent most the 2022 season at Double-A before being promoted to Triple-A in September.
After a hot start to AFL play Smith-Njigba has hit a bit of a slide. Overall, he is hitting for a .212/.395/.273 slash line in 43 PAs. While he has had his struggles at the plate it is encouraging to see the strong walk numbers from Smith-Njigba as that has always been one of his best tools. He has also hit a pair of doubles and stolen 3 bases.