Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Best Under Age-20 Performers

Some young Pirate prospects who are performing well this season
(FCL) Pirates' on deck Shalin Polanco. The Florida Complex League (FCL) Orioles played their first
(FCL) Pirates' on deck Shalin Polanco. The Florida Complex League (FCL) Orioles played their first / THOMAS BENDER/HERALD-TRIBUNE / USA TODAY
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The Pittsburgh Pirates have a handful of prospects who are 20 years old or younger who are putting up strong numbers in the low-levels of the minor leagues.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have prospects spread all throughout their minor league system. While a handful are nearly Major League ready, plenty of others in the lower levels of the minor leagues are also performing well. Typically when you get to Low-A (Bradenton) and lower (like the Florida Complex League and Dominican Summer League), the players are around 20 years old or younger. The Pirates have some standout players from these levels and ages, which I want to highlight today.

The first is Shalin Polanco. Polanco was one of the top international prospects in the 2020-2021 off-season. His first two pro seasons were unimpressive, but he has found his stride at Bradenton this year. Polanco had a poor first month to 2023, but since then, he’s hit .305/.355/.567 with a .415 wOBA and 144 wRC+. Polanco’s 7.1% walk rate and 25.8% strikeout rate need to improve, but he has hit for a fair amount of power with a .267 isolated slugging percentage and nine home runs in his last 157 plate appearances.

Polanco is a well-rounded prospect with no discernable weakness, though none of his tools stand out as outstanding either. He could end up with 50-55 grade tools all the way around by the time he’s fully developed. Many saw Polanco as a breakout prospect heading into the 2023 campaign, and it seems like he’s found what made him such a highly touted international guy not that long ago. Polanco is only 19 and won’t turn 20 until February, so he’s got some ways to go.