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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Second Base - Mitch Jebb

The Pirates took Mitch Jebb with their second-round pick. The middle infielder was selected out of Michigan State, where he had some impressive numbers in his last college season. Through 241 plate appearances, Jebb slashed .338/.438/.495. Jebb only hit one home run but hustled out 15 doubles. He also had a higher walk rate (13.3%) than a strikeout rate (11.6%). This kind of approach carried over into Bradenton.

Jebb only stepped to the plate 153 times, but it was a promising sample size, as he batted .297/.382/.398 with a .373 wOBA and 116 wRC+. Jebb continued to walk at a high rate of 11.7% but cut his strikeout rate down to just 7.2%. Take it for what you will, and while it was a small sample size, Jebb was one of just 31 total minor leaguers with a K% below 10% in 150+ plate appearances. While his ISO was just .102, he still had a half-dozen two-baggers and went 11-12 in stolen base attempts.

Jebb's game is about making contact and running hard. He had a strikeout rate a touch under 10% at 9.9% throughout college. Jebb received the all-elusive 80-grade for his speed. MLB Pipeline (65) and Baseball America (60) are a little less bullish on his running, but either way, it's a plus-plus tool in his skillset. If he stays aggressive on the basepaths, he's a threat to swipe 30+ bags a season.

Jebb has more power than you may think. Sure, he may never be a 25+ home run bopper, but his bat speed helps him drive the gaps with some authority. With his double-plus speed, he's going to rack up a ton of doubles, and maybe even a decent amount of triples.

Jebb's feel for contact is better than most minor league batters. I think he could end up being Luis Arraez 2.0 but with speed. For the first four seasons of Arraez's career, he batted .314 while only having an 8.4% strikeout rate, but also had a respectable 8.7% walk rate. Some may also draw the comparison to former Pirate All-Star Adam Frazier. Sure, Frazier never struck out much, similar to Jebb, but he never drew more walks than strikeouts in the minor leagues other than in 2016.

Honorable Mention: Jeral Toledo