Pittsburgh Pirates: Ranking Each Minor League Affiliate

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 18: Catcher Henry Davis (R), who was selected first overall in the 2021 MLB draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, poses with General Manager Ben Cherington after signing a contract with the Pirates during a press conference at PNC Park on July 18, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 18: Catcher Henry Davis (R), who was selected first overall in the 2021 MLB draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, poses with General Manager Ben Cherington after signing a contract with the Pirates during a press conference at PNC Park on July 18, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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PITTSBURGH, PA – JUNE 07: Travis Swaggerty #50 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the Detroit Tigers at PNC Park on June 7, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – JUNE 07: Travis Swaggerty #50 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the Detroit Tigers at PNC Park on June 7, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

Indianapolis Indians

The Indianapolis Indians do have a good lineup. Both Ji-Hwan Bae and Travis Swaggerty have a wRC+ of 110 or greater, and Jack Suwinski has been crushing it since getting sent back down. He has a 126 wRC+ in his small sample size. Cal Mitchell’s recent demotion means they’ll get another hitter with a wRC+ above 110, coming in at 129.

A lineup of Bae, Swaggerty, Suwinski, and Mitchell is a lineup that consists of four batters with a wRC+ of 110 or better. That’s an outstanding offense, so why do the Indians come in at just no. 3? Well, their pitching has been pretty lackluster.

Among their starters, Cody Bolton has been the team’s best. His 2.75 ERA is pretty, and his 3.60 FIP is solid. But he’s given up walks at a 13.6% rate with a strikeout rate of 24.4%. Bolton has only given up a single home run all year, but with a fly ball rate over 40%, his HR/FB ratio comes in at 1.9%. Good chance that Bolton isn’t that good at limiting home runs, as the surface numbers show.

They did get a big name when the Pittsburgh Pirates sent Mike Burrows to Triple-A. He has a 5.34 ERA in his first 30.1 innings, albeit with a better-looking 3.70 FIP. Burrows has run into some bad luck to start his Indianapolis tenure.

But Burrows, Bolton, and Miguel Yajure are about all the Indians have in terms of pitching talent. Many of the other arms at Triple-A are depth guys the Pirates have stashed away in the event of an emergency. Plus, none of those guys are blowing away scouts and batters alike.

The Pirate Triple-A affiliate definitely has one of the better lineups among their four minor league teams. However, pitching hasn’t been their strong suit. On the plus side, more prospects are coming up from Double-A that could help their situation out next season.

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