Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Minor League Season Predictions
By Noah Wright
Super Sleeper Position Player Prospect
When the Pirates traded Joe Musgrove, arguably the most worthwhile prospect in the return at the time was Hudson Head. The former third-rounder was an over-slot signing by the San Diego Padres in 2019 and fell to the third round because of his high school football career getting in the way of his baseball career. Either way, Head has posted average to above-average numbers since arriving to the Pirates, but in a three-true-outcome manner that comes with a whole lot of risk.
Head only batted .234/.343/.387 with a .339 wOBA, and 104 wRC+. The only positives he brought with the bat was a good OBP fueled by an 11.2% walk rate and 13 stolen bases but in 21 attempts. Head's .153 isolated slugging percentage wasn't terrible but was a 28-point drop from 2021. But the massive red flag was his 33.6% strikeout rate, which is the main cause of his issues with batting.
So what reason should you believe in Head next season? The outfielder ended the season on a very positive note. After the All-Star Break, Head batted .266/.364/.484 with a 13.3% walk rate and .218 isolated slugging percentage. Overall, he had a .380 wOBA and 130 wRC+. But the point I want to focus on the most is his strikeout rate. He still went down on strike three 30.1% of the time, but that was a 5.3% decrease from the start of the year up until the All-Star Break.
His strikeout rate is still a tad worrying, and it was a small sample size of less than 150 plate appearances, but it's still a >5% decrease. Head has the tools to play a decent outfield. He's a great base runner who has flashed an above-average glove. He mostly played in center but has played in both outfield corners.
Head needs to continue cutting his K% down. He's already made a step in the right direction, but not only needs to maintain but improve as well. But I am a believer that he will take that major step forward in 2023, and continue his hot streak from the second half of 2023, and potentially become a future part of the Bucs' outfield.