Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects Who Could Join FanGraph Rankings

Apr 28, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Ben Cherington observes batting practice from the dugout before the game against the Kansas City Royals at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 28, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Ben Cherington observes batting practice from the dugout before the game against the Kansas City Royals at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Pirates
PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 20: A New Era pillbox Pittsburgh Pirates baseball hat is seen in the dugout during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park on July 20, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Juan Jerez

Back at the July 2018 international signing deadline, the Pirates picked up a very young infielder by the name of Juan Jerez. During 2019, his age-17 campaign, Jerez posted a solid .272/.324/.469 batting line, .371 wOBA, and 114 wRC+ with 7 home runs in 254 plate appearances. This marked a decent start to his pro career.

Jerez followed up his 2019 season with an even better 2021 season. The infielder spent all 181 plate appearances at the Florida Coast League where he batted .296/.394/.500 with a .400 wOBA, and 136 wRC+. Jerez blasted 6 home runs while improving his walk rate from a measly 5.5% to a phenomenal 13.3% mark. Though his strikeout rate did move from 18.9% to just 25.4%. Plus he showed some prowess on the base paths swiping 10 bags in 14 attempts.

Jerez has shown some pop, but the rate at which he showed it last year was a bit strange. He only had a 28.4% flyball rate, leading to an insanely high 24% HR/FB ratio. His ground ball rate remained relatively the same from 2019 (43.4% to 43.2%) while his line drive rate rose from just 14.5% to 28.4%.

Jerez has experience at both middle infield positions and third base. Last year, he was mainly used at the hot corner. The Pirates do have a ton of SS/2B prospects in the system, but his versatility is always nice to have. 2022 will be the infielder’s age-20 campaign. Given his good work at Rookie-Ball and the FCL, he has a fair chance of starting 2022 at Low-A Bradenton.

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