After optioning an outfielder to Triple-A and re-assigning an infield prospect to minor league camp, the Pittsburgh Pirates now have 48 players remaining in MLB camp
As Opening Day continues to quickly approach for the Pittsburgh Pirates, they took two more steps on Sunday toward setting their roster. Neither of these moves came as a surprise, but they are roster moves nonetheless.
Following Sunday afternoon's 8-0 loss against the Baltimore Orioles, the Pittsburgh Pirates optioned outfielder Cal Mitchell to Triple-A. They also re-assigned infield prospect Nick Gonzales back to minor league camp. With these moves the Pirates now have 48 players remaining in MLB camp, but these 48 include Jarlín García who will start the season on the injured list, as well as Robert Stephenson who also appears headed for an IL stint.
Mitchell has one trip to the plate on Sunday, going 0-for-1 with a strikeout. Mitchell hit .219/.242/.250 with 11 strikeouts in Grapefruit League play. He also struggled immensely in the outfield throughout the spring.
In the majors last season, Mitchell hit for just a .226/.286/.349 slash line with a 79 OPS+ and 24.5% strikeout rate. To be honest, if the Pirates need to clear multiple 40-man roster spots ahead of Opening Day it would not be a surprise to see Mitchell get designated for assignment.
Gonzales went 0-for-1 on Sunday. With this, he will finish his time in MLB camp this spring hitting for a healthy .391/.440/.522 slash line. Most importantly, in his 25 Grapefruit League plate appearances Gonzales struck out just five times.
Last season, Gonzales struggled mightily with the swing-and-miss. This played a large role in some prospect sites having Gonzales plummet down their rankings' list. 2023 will be an important season for the former first-round pick. Gonzales will likely start the season at Triple-A, which will be his first taste of action at the Triple-A level, and he will be in need of a big season, especially one that sees a continued positive trend with strikeouts, in order to re-gain his once high top prospect status.