Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Three Surprising Hot & Cold Starts

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Pittsburgh Pirates
Altoona’s Cal Mitchell (5) reacts to a call as the Binghamton Rumble Ponies lost to the Altoona Curve, 5-0, at the Ponies home opener on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. /

Hot Starts

Mason Martin

Mason Martin had a lot of questions to answer after his so-so 2021 campaign. While he did have a solid .805 OPS, .344 wOBA, and 114 wRC+, it was extremely worrying that he had put up career worsts in K-rate at 34.3% and walk rate at 7.8%. Martin has 23 hits to start this year, including eight doubles, four triples, and four home runs. The only downside is his strikeout and walk rates have gotten worse, and he only has four walks and 25 K’s.

Connor Scott

Connor Scott was one of the main pieces heading back the Pirate way in the Jacob Stallings deal. Although many could have predicted that Scott would get off to a hot start, given he had a 144 wRC+ in the second half of 2021, he’s been even better than expected. Scott has 19 hits through just 61 plate appearances. Although he only has one home run, triple, and four doubles, Scott also has seven walks.

Cal Mitchell

Cal Mitchell’s 2021 season was solid but unspectacular. He only had a .751 OPS, .329 wOBA, and 104 wRC+. On the plus side, he had a phenomenal 17% strikeout rate. Although that was slightly above average production, it wasn’t the best season among Pirate minor leaguers.

Not only was his performance so-so, but was just the second time he put up an OPS above .715. Mitchell has gotten things kicked off at Triple-A Indianapolis, where he ended the 2021 campaign and has 18 hits through 69 trips to the plate. Five of those hits were doubles, and three more were home runs. Mitchell also has the same amount of walks to strikeouts with six each. The hot start has led to a 144 wRC+, 11.6% walk, and strikeout rate.