Pittsburgh Pirates: One Breakout Prospect to Watch at Each Position

The Pirates could see these prospects breakout in 2024.
Los Angeles Dodgers v Pittsburgh Pirates
Los Angeles Dodgers v Pittsburgh Pirates / Rick Stewart/GettyImages
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First Base - Tony Blanco Jr.

The Pirates' 2021-2022 international draft haul was impressive. This is our second of three international signings from this off-season, that being first baseman/outfielder Tony Blanco Jr. Blanco Jr. After a mediocre debut in 2022 that was shortened by injury, Blanco Jr. returned in 2023 to hit .235/.325/.397 with a .349 wOBA, and 92 wRC+. While he had a 10.8% walk rate in 157 plate appearances, he also struck out 37.6% of the time.

Blanco Jr. has the most power potential of any prospect in the Pirates' system. He will turn 19 in the second week of May but is already listed at 6'6"/245 pounds. He's able to generate massive power when he makes good contact. But there have been issues with strikeouts thus far in his pro career. That massive size and power potential leads to an infinitely high offensive ceiling but a lot of risk as well.

While the Bucs originally signed Blanco Jr. as an outfielder, he only played first base and designated hitter in 2023. Blanco isn't a horrible runner right now and has displayed a solid arm, but he'll probably stick at first base long-term.

Blanco has so much potential. If he reaches his ceiling, he could be a 40-homer threat. He's the same height and weight as Giancarlo Stanton. I'd love to see Blanco Jr. break out in 2024. He'd be a massive revelation for the Pirate system. He still hasn't played a full season, so take his bottom line with nuance, but a 200-250 plate appearance season from Blanco Jr. in 2024 could be extremely fun to watch.

Honorable mention: Eddy Rodriguez