Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Best Second Halves Of 2023

These Pirates prospects had outstanding second halves to the 2023 season.
Jul 22, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Nick Gonzales (39) runs
Jul 22, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Nick Gonzales (39) runs / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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Joe Perez

Joe Perez didn't open the second half of the season in the Pirates' farm system. Instead, he was a former Houston Astros infield prospect who was released at the start of August and was signed by the Pirates about a week later. Perez might not be one of the Pirates' best infield prospects, but credit where credit is due. Perez's second half, both with the Pirates and Astros minor league affiliates, was strong.

Perez stepped to the plate 183 times and slashed .280/.404/488 in the second half. He smashed nine home runs while having a respectable .207 isolated slugging percentage. Perez walked in 16.4% of his plate appearances but also struck out just a tad over a quarter of the time with a 25.1% strikeout rate. Perez ended his second half with a .403 wOBA, and 139 wRC+.

These are major improvements from his first half. His .745 OPS and .333 wOBA might not look too bad, but these came in the Pacific Coast League, where the league average OPS is .823 and the league average ERA is nearly 6.00 (5.72). He also walked less often (8.8%) and struck out more frequently (26.8%). After adjusting for the rest of the run environment and park factors, Perez ended his first half with a 79 wRC+. Per wRC+, he improved by 60%.

Perez plays all four corners, both in the infield and the outfield. He's not considered a great defender, though he does provide some versatility. The power is Perez's calling card. But there's always been questions as to how his power will play because he's consistently posted a mediocre strikeout rate. Still, there's a chance he could be a solid power-first bench corner utility man.

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