Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Three Surprising Hot & Cold Starts

BRADENTON, FLORIDA - MARCH 16: Mason Martin #73 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a picture during the 2022 Photo Day at LECOM Park on March 16, 2022 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
BRADENTON, FLORIDA - MARCH 16: Mason Martin #73 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a picture during the 2022 Photo Day at LECOM Park on March 16, 2022 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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BRADENTON, FLORIDA – MARCH 16: Matt Fraizer #84 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a picture during the 2022 Photo Day at LECOM Park on March 16, 2022 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
BRADENTON, FLORIDA – MARCH 16: Matt Fraizer #84 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a picture during the 2022 Photo Day at LECOM Park on March 16, 2022 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

Cold Starts

Nick Gonzales

Nick Gonzales was one of the best hitters in the minor leagues last season. During his season with the Greensboro Grasshoppers, the second base prospect had a .950 OPS, .405 wOBA, and 150 wRC+. He struck out a little more than you’d like, but he whittled down his strikeout rate throughout the season. The start of 2022 hasn’t been great for Gonzo, who has just 13 hits and 27 strikeouts through his first 80 plate appearances. At the very least, he has 14 walks and has looked better the past week.

Matt Fraizer

Matt Fraizer had a massive breakout campaign with the Grasshoppers and the Curve. He was up there with Gonzales and Endy Rodriguez as one of the Pirates’ best minor league batters, having a .939 OPS, .402 wOBA, and 149 wRC+. To say the start of the 2022 campaign has been rough for the outfielder would be an understatement. In 77 plate appearances, he has just 12 hits, 26 strikeouts, and three walks. He has just one home run and three doubles. This has all led to a 25 wRC+.

Next. Pirates Option Three Relievers to Triple-A. dark

Oneil Cruz

Oneil Cruz was one of the biggest stories for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2021. After putting up a strong 136 wRC+ and .377 wOBA at Double-A Altoona, Cruz would get promoted to Triple-A, where he had 11 hits, 5 homers, and 8 walks in 29 plate appearances. Cruz made his debut and went 3-for-9 with a home run and one of the hardest-hit balls of the year. Cruz was sent to Triple-A to start 2022 but has just 13 hits in 85 plate appearances. He has just a 57 wRC+.

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