Pittsburgh Pirates: Four Prospects to Target for José Quintana

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JULY 10: Jose Quintana #62 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws a pitch in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field on July 10, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JULY 10: Jose Quintana #62 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws a pitch in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field on July 10, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /
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CHAPEL HILL, NC – MARCH 08: Niko Kavadas #12 of the University of Notre Dame hits the ball during a game between Notre Dame and North Carolina at Boshamer Stadium on March 08, 2020 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Andy Mead/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
CHAPEL HILL, NC – MARCH 08: Niko Kavadas #12 of the University of Notre Dame hits the ball during a game between Notre Dame and North Carolina at Boshamer Stadium on March 08, 2020 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Andy Mead/ISI Photos/Getty Images) /

Boston Red Sox – First Baseman Niko Kavadas

Niko Kavadas was a guy I highlighted as someone the Pirates should have taken in the 2021 draft. Kavadas is a fun player. Standing at 6’1, 235-pounds, Kavadas is a hulking man who is built like a defensive lineman. He showed off some of the best raw power in last year’s draft and was picked in the 11th round as an over-slot selection by the Boston Red Sox.

Since becoming a professional ballplayer, Kavadas has done nothing but hit. Dating back to 2021, Kavadas has hit for an insane .288/.459/.622 line, a .482 wOBA and 190 wRC+. Although his 26.5% strikeout rate might not be awe-inspiring, but his 22% walk rate is. Kavadas is a power-hitting beast who has 21 home runs in just 355 plate appearances and a .333 isolated slugging percentage. Now Kavadas has a .364 batting average on balls in play. That’s high, but he hits a line drive well over a third of the time with a 35.3% line-drive rate. He has a sub-30% ground ball rate (28.2%) and fly ball rate over 36% (36.5%).

Overall, Kavadas’s numbers are just crazy good. Since the start of the 2021 minor league season, Kavadas leads all minor league hitters in wRC+, wOBA, is second in OPS, walk rate, OBP, and third in slugging percentage. His 35.3% line drive rate is 4.1% better than second place.

The only thing Kavadas does poorly is strike out more than you’d like to see. Even then, 26.5% isn’t close to Mason Martin levels of bad, and it’s just below average. Kavadas is limited to first base and designated hitter, but all he does is hit.

If the Pittsburgh Pirates did acquire him, they’d probably promote him directly to Altoona. Kavadas might not be a headliner in a Quintana trade, but definitely a piece the Pirates could squeeze out from the Red Sox, along with maybe a pitching prospect.

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