Pittsburgh Pirates Most Athletic Prospect Per MLB Pipeline

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 03: Oneil Cruz #61 of the Pittsburgh Pirates takes the field for the first inning during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park on October 3, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 03: Oneil Cruz #61 of the Pittsburgh Pirates takes the field for the first inning during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park on October 3, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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MLB Pipeline recently named the most athletic prospect in each farm system. Who took home the honors for the Pittsburgh Pirates?

MLB Pipeline has named who they believe is the most athletic prospect in each farm system. For the Pittsburgh Pirates, they identified one of the best prospects in the entire system. These honors went to shortstop Oneil Cruz.

Cruz has been a highly touted prospect for some time now. Each of the past two years Cruz has found himself littered across top 100 prospect rankings. This offseason has seen Cruz continue to climb up prospect rankings.

FanGraphs recently ranked Cruz as the top prospect in the deep, talented farm system of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Cruz is also given a future value of 60 by FanGraphs. This will make Cruz one of the top prospects in all of baseball.

Cruz is coming off a strong 2021 season. He started with Double-A Altoona, before making an impact with Triple-A Indianapolis. When the 2021 baseball season came to an end Cruz found himself with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Between the three levels Cruz hit 18 home runs. He collected a total of 39 extra base hits. This gave him a healthy extra base hit rate of 12.5%, which is well above the league average at the major league level.

Entering the 2022 season expectations are high for Cruz. Even if he starts the season back at Indianapolis as expected, he should still be able to make a big impact for the Pirates during the 2022 season.

Cruz is a a shortstop by trait, but there are some questions around is long-term home. This is largely due to his 6-foot-7 frame. That said, Cruz is more than athletic enough to stick at shortstop or to become a strong defender in right field.

MLB Pipeline raved about Cruz’s athleticism, stating the following:

"He’s a unicorn, a 6-foot-7 middle infielder that the world has been waiting to get pushed off of shortstop, but who has every chance to begin his big league career in earnest at the premium position. He has ridiculous raw power that he’s still figuring out and can steal a base, all while making plays defensively a guy his size has no business executing."

Cruz continuing to play a strong shortstop is a good sign for the Pirates. With his sky high power potential he has the potential to be a plus hitter against MLB pitching. However, if he can reach his potential as a hitter and do it at the shortstop position, his overall value as a player only rises.

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Very rarely will you find a shortstop with the ability to regularly have 30+ home run power the way Cruz does. As he continues to earn accolades, Cruz has a bright future ahead with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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