First baseman/designated hitter Malcolm Nuñez
At this past summer’s trade deadline the Pittsburgh Pirates traded starting pitcher José Quintana to the St. Louis Cardinals. In the rare inner-division trade, the Bucs acquired two prospects. Pitcher Johan Oviedo, who has already made an impact for the Pirates, and power hitting first baseman/designated hitter Malcolm Nuñez.
Nuñez is likely viewed by Pirate brass as a big piece of their long-term future. He could be the team’s first baseman of the future or their designated hitter of the future. Either way, the power-hitting righty likely has a big future ahead in Pittsburgh.
Between the Double-A affiliates of the Pirates and Cardinals, as well as Triple-A Indianapolis, Nuñez had 493 PAs this past season. He hit for a .262/.367/.466 slash line to go with a very strong 14.0% walk rate, 23 home runs, 16 doubles, and a 117 wRC+.
As we mentioned with Gorksi, power hitters like Nuñez can intrigue teams in the Rule 5 Draft. After all, every team is always looking for more power. This will lead ot Nuñez being added to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. Additionally, if the Pittsburgh Pirates did not intend to add Nuñez to the 40-man roster they likely would not have traded for him.