Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Most Surprising Performer at Each Level

These Pittsburgh Pirates prospects have been the most surprising this season
Second baseman Alika Williams (7) throws to first for an out during the Montgomery Biscuits vs
Second baseman Alika Williams (7) throws to first for an out during the Montgomery Biscuits vs / Gregg Pachkowski / gregg@pnj.com / USA
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Double-A Altoona - Jackson Glenn

I was high on Jackson Glenn when the Pirates drafted him in the 5th round of the 2021 draft. Glenn had some outstanding college numbers, including nearly as many walks as strikeouts, 30 homers/40 doubles, and an OPS above .950. But overall, Glenn was mostly there as a way for the Pirates to save money. The first four rounds of the draft saw the Pirates take four over-slot players, and Glenn signed for less than $15,000.

Glenn’s first extended look against pro pitchers didn’t go so well. 2022 saw him turn in a mediocre .216/.297/.328 triple-slash, .292 wOBA, and 74 wRC+. While he had a 9% walk rate, he also struck out over a quarter of the time with a 26.6% strikeout rate. Also, it didn’t help that Glenn hit for almost no power. He had just four home runs in 323 plate appearances, leading to a .111 isolated slugging percentage.

The Pirates opted to let Glenn stay at Greensboro to start the 2023 season and got off to a phenomenal start. Glenn hit .299/.380/.474 with a .387 wOBA, and 134 wRC+. The infielder hit for a significant amount of more power with a .175 isolated slugging percentage while cutting his strikeout rate down significantly to just 15.8%. Plus, he upped his walk rate slightly to 10.8%. This earned Glenn a promotion to Altoona.

You’d understandably be hesitant to believe in Glenn’s numbers at Greensboro. It’s a hitter-friendly environment to start with. Not to mention that it was his second go-around at High-A, and he is in his age-25 campaign. But so far, Glenn has looked great at Double-A. He’s only appeared in five games with 25 PAs but has seven hits, three walks, and only five strikeouts. Glenn has yet to hit a home run but has three doubles.

The jump from High-A to Double-A is a big one. It’s typically where you see the separation from minor leaguers and prospects. Glenn has so far conquered Altoona in his first few games. He is older, and it’s nice to see him do well. While I doubt the Pirates are going to be making room with all their top middle infield prospects so they can get Glenn a regular major-league role, he definitely could become a solid utility infielder in the future.