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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Left Field - Juan Machado

Juan Machado had a very interesting 2023 campaign at the Pirate DSL affiliate. The outfielder is only entering his age-21 season, but won't turn 21 until early June. We may see him get a longer look at A-Ball Bradenton next year, and based on his 2023 numbers, could make a strong impact.

Machado batted .291/.483/.441 with a .464 wOBA, and 156 wRC+ in 178 plate appearances. Machado only hit two home runs with an isolated slugging percentage of .150. But he drew ten more walks than he had hits. His walk rate clocked in at 26.4%, which was the 4th highest among any minor leaguer with 170+ trips to the plate. His OBP was also the third-best among said batters. He also only had a 21.9% strikeout rate.

Machado was ultra-aggressive on the basepaths, attempting 36 stolen bases in 47 games. He was successful about 80.6% of the time, swiping a total of 29 extra bases. Either way, that's about one stolen base every 0.77 games. If he kept up that pace over the course of 150 games played, he would have attempted nearly 115 stolen bases, being successful 93 times.

Originally signed as an OF/2B, Machado mostly saw time in the outfield in 2023. He still saw a few games sprinkled in at second, as well as an inning at first base. Given his speed, he could play up the middle, but his range would probably be best used in the outfield grass.

Machado's strike zone discipline is outstanding. He has spent the last two seasons in the DSL and has the 3rd best walk rate and second best OBP. We shall see how that plays at every level. But if he can continue that pace at a full-season level, he'll get more attention than he's getting right now.