Infielder Malcolm Nuñez
As part of this past summer’s José Quintana trade the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Malcolm Nuñez from the St. Louis Cardinals. When Nuñez was acquired he was a top 10 prospect in the Cardinal farm system.
Nuñez has played first base, third base, and served as a designed hitter in the minor leagues. Although, his long-term future appears to be at first base or as a DH. When Nuñez was acquired it appeared the Pirates could have him in their long-term plans at first base.
Nuñez being left unprotected from the Rule 5 Draft did come as a bit of surprise. When he was acquired it appeared to be a safe bet that he would be protected because, if nothing else, it seemed unlikely the Pirates would acquire him that close to being Rule 5 Draft eligible without having plans of protecting him.
During the minor league season in 2022 Nuñez hit for a .262/.367/.466 slash line with a 117 wRC+ in 493 PAs across the Double-A and Triple-A levels. He drew walks at 14.0%, struck out in 20.9% of his trips to the plate, and he hit 23 home runs. Typically, a young power hitting prospect that has already reached the Triple-A level will not be left exposed in the Rule 5 Draft.
History would indicate that Nuñez is unlikely to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft. Very rarely are first baseman selected in the draft. That said, with the universal DH now being place that could add to Nuñez’s value and interest from National League clubs. Additionally, a prospect that is already as close to the majors as Nuñez is with the power potential he has is likely to interest clubs.