Pittsburgh Pirates Prospect Year in Review: Outfielder Rodolfo Nolasco

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Outfielder Rodolfo Nolasco is one of the most underrated prospects in the Pittsburgh Pirates system, and he turned in a solid 2022 campaign.

One of the Pittsburgh Pirates more underrated prospects is outfielder Rodolfo Nolasco. Nolasco put up very promising numbers in 2019 and 2021 and continued to hit in 2022. While a slow start to the season and some injuries slowed the slugger down, he still displayed plenty of promise for the future.

On the season Nolasco batted .239/.330/.425, slugging 11 home runs in 321 plate appearances. Nolasco had a healthy 11% walk rate and .186 isolated slugging percentage. However, he also struggled with the strikeout. He struck out in 34% of his plate appearances for Bradenton. But still, despite the high strikeout rate, Nolasco finished 2022 with a .351 wOBA and 116 wRC+.

But those numbers are bogged down by a poor April-to-mid-May. Nolasco turned in just a .560 OPS, .266 wOBA, and 61 wRC+ from the start of the season through May 15th. However, Nolasco would catch fire from that point forward, having a .866 OPS, .396 wOBA, and 145 wRC+. He was particularly good after June 15th, when he had an OPS well over 1.000 at 1.068, a wOBA of .477, and a wRC+ of nearly 200 at 197.

But Nolasco would miss a good part of the season. He missed nearly all of August and September after landing on the minor league IL in late July. That’s why he was limited to just 321 trips to the plate and 77 games played.

Still, Nolasco showed big power upside. His ISO from June 15th through his last game was .299. He also hit a home run in four straight games from July 7th through July 10th. There is some strikeout concern, but he consistently draws a ton of walks. He’s not terribly fast, but he’s fast enough to play an outfield corner to an average level. He also has a plus arm which also plays well in the corners.

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Next year is Nolasco’s age 21 campaign. He’ll likely be a regular fixture in Greensboro’s outfield and is one of the Pirates top breakout candidates in the minor leagues. Nolasco can potentially be a .270 hitter in the major leagues who can blast upwards of 40 home runs. Pirates fans should be excited to see what he does next season. He could very well be their next big power-hitting prospect.