Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Five Set for MLB Breakout in 2023
By Noah Wright
The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Malcom Nunez at the 2022 trade deadline when they sent Jose Quintana and Chris Stratton to the St. Louis Cardinals. Nunez was part of a two-player package that also included right-hander Johan Oviedo. Nunez will join Oviedo in the major leagues next season and could be his first baseman.
Nunez did well with the Pirates. The first base prospect only collected 143 plate appearances with the Pirate Double-A and Triple-A affiliates, but he hit .280/.385/.475 with a .378 wOBA and 135 wRC+. Nunez had a solid 22.4% strikeout rate with a phenomenal 14.7% walk rate. The slugger hit six long balls for their two affiliates while having a .195 isolated slugging percentage.
Nunez only collected 17 plate appearances at Triple-A and only had three hits with five strikeouts, but he also walked four times and hit a home run. It was a microscopic sample size, so take it with a grain of salt, but he looked decent at Indy for the few chances he received before the 2022 minor league season came to a close.
Overall, Nunez had a nice run for the Pirates last year, but it’s not as if he did poorly for the Cardinal Double-A affiliate. Overall from June through the end of the year, Nunez had an impressive .913 OPS, .396 wOBA, and 136 wRC+. Nunez will only be in his age-22 campaign next year, and while that is young for a guy to make it to the major leagues, the Pirates don’t have much in the way at first base either.