Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Rum Bunter’s Preseason Top 10

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 18: Catcher Henry Davis, who was selected first overall in the 2021 MLB draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates takes batting practice on the field after signing a contract with the Pirates at PNC Park on July 18, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 18: Catcher Henry Davis, who was selected first overall in the 2021 MLB draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates takes batting practice on the field after signing a contract with the Pirates at PNC Park on July 18, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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PITTSBURGH, PA – MAY 29: A detailed view of the Nike Cleats and Stance Socks worn by Erik Gonzalez #2 of the Pittsburgh Pirates during Game Two of the doubleheader against the Colorado Rockies at PNC Park on May 29, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

Number 10 – C/OF/1B Endy Rodriguez

Acquired in the Joe Musgrove trade, Endy Rodriguez received Player of the Year honors at the Low-A Southeast level with the Bradenton Marauders. The switch-hitting backstop was one of the best hitters in Pirate farm system in 2021. He’s one of the many notable backstop prospects now littering the Pirate system.

In 434 plate appearances Rodriguez batted .294/.394/.512 with a .410 wOBA and 140 wRC+. Rodriguez continued to show great plate discipline, walking 11.5% of the time while only striking out in 17.7% of his plate appearances. So far, he’s yet to walk less than 10% of the time or strike out at a 20%+ rate in each of his few professional seasons.

He also hit 15 home runs with a .218 isolated slugging percentage. Rodriguez isn’t projected to be a big power hitter, but he does have a career ISO over .200. He only projects to be a 30-game power hitter but has 40-raw power and has consistently posted solid exit velos. He makes up for it with a hit tool well into the elite territory.

Defensively, he projects to be an above-average defender behind the dish. He doesn’t have the strongest arm, but it plays well enough behind the plate. He may end up at first base or the outfield, given the catching situation the Pittsburgh Pirates have. He’s pretty athletic and is a decent runner for a catcher.

There aren’t very many catchers who fit the mold of a leadoff hitter, but Rodriguez fits it to a T, and then some. He hits for average and gets on base because he walks a ton. If he continues to develop his power, he may become more of a three-hole hitter.