Pittsburgh Pirates: Potential Replacements for Oneil Cruz at Triple-A

Mar 20, 2022; Dunedin, Florida, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Tucupita Marcano (30) attempts a double play at second base against the Toronto Blue Jays during spring training at TD Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 20, 2022; Dunedin, Florida, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Tucupita Marcano (30) attempts a double play at second base against the Toronto Blue Jays during spring training at TD Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pirates’ prospect Oneil Cruz will recieve a promotion to the Major Leagues in the following weeks, but who replaces his spot at Triple-A?

Pittsburgh Pirates top prospect Oneil Cruz will be in the major leagues and hopefully demolishing baseballs within the next few weeks. Cruz is currently stationed at Triple-A Indianapolis, where he has mainly served as the team’s shortstop. He does have one game played in left field, but six more logged at shortstop.

Once Cruz makes it to the majors, one of the many prospects at Double-A Altoona will likely get the call to take over for Cruz, receiving an early-season promotion. Among them, who is the most likely to get promoted to Indianapolis?

Now by the end of the year, it absolutely should be Liover Peguero. Peguero has risen to consensus top 100 prospect status over the past year. However, he is still very young at 21-years-old and has just gotten his feet wet at Double-A. He’s done well there, but he and Nick Gonzales are likely late-summer additions to Indy’s roster.

The first option is to play Rodolfo Castro and Ji-Hwan Bae up the middle. Both have experience at shortstop and would easily deserve regular playing time. If the Pittsburgh Pirates were to roll with this option, they’d likely promote Andres Alvarez, who serves as organizational depth. Castro would see most of the time at shortstop since Bae hasn’t played the position since 2019, and the Pirates are trying to get the Korean infielder familiar with the outfield.

Alternatively, if they want Bae to remain in center field and Castro at second base, they could promote Tucupita Marcano or Jared Triolo.

Marcano, acquired in the Adam Frazier trade, already made his MLB debut. Although he struggled to a 45 wRC+ in his first 50 plate appearances, he did skip three levels of the minor leagues. He skipped High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A before making his debut. On the other hand, Triolo is a 24-year-old infield prospect who had a great breakout season at Greensboro. He batted for a .849 OPS, .371 wOBA, and 127 wRC+. While he is known for his defensive prowess at the hot corner, winning a minor league Gold Glove for his glovework there last season, he does have experience up the middle.

Promoting either Triolo or Marcano to Triple-A would also lead to a promotion from Greensboro to Altoona. 2021 fifth-round draft pick Jackson Glenn is in his age-24 season and would likely be the next guy up given his ability and age. He’s talented enough that he could have started the year at Altoona had it not been for the large amount of talented infield-capable prospects there right now.

Next. Mason Martin Pushing for Early Season Promotion. dark

The Pittsburgh Pirates have multiple avenues to take when it comes to replacing Cruz at Indy. I’d rather see them take the route of promoting prospects through the system. Getting good prospects into the upper levels of the minor leagues helps advance the rebuild.

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