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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Honorable Mentions

Josiah Sighter (Bradenton)

Had Josiah Sightler not started the year injured, he could have been one of the Pirates’ most interesting stories so far this year. He still has time to make himself an interesting story, and he’s made progress on said story by coming out of the gates with 22 hits, four home runs, five walks, and seven strikeouts in 62 plate appearances. He is currently at Bradenton, but given he was a senior pick and already 23, he very well could find himself at Altoona before the end of the year.

Braxton Ashcraft (Altoona)

If Braxton Ashcraft wasn’t a former second-rounder, he would have been the name featured over Jackson Glenn. Ashcraft has been nothing short of outstanding, pitching to a 2.50 ERA, 3.14 FIP, and 1.08 WHIP in 39.2 innings. Ashcraft has both a walk rate below 5% (4.4%) and a strikeout rate approaching 30% (29.4). He has the 12th highest K:BB ratio of any pitcher with 30+ IP in the minor leagues at 6.71. Plus, he has a respectable 0.91 HR/9 and 41.3% ground ball rate.

Nick Cimillo (Bradenton)

Both age and playing time is the thing Nick Cimillo is back. He’s a year older than Diamond and has less than 150 plate appearances. Cimillo is hitting .273/.376/.521 through 141 plate appearances. Cimillo has walked 12.1% of the time with a decent 20.6% strikeout rate. Cimilio has hit for a lot of power, too, with five home runs in 141 PAs and a .248 ISO. Look for him to get the bump to Greensboro soon.

Miguel Andújar (Indianapolis)

If we weren’t looking strictly at prospects, I’d say Miguel Andújar’s season has been something else. Andujar is currently batting .361/.421/.574 with a .433 wOBA, and 148 wRC+. Andújar has struck out less than 15% of the time with a 12.9% strikeout rate and a decent 9.4% walk rate. He also has nine home runs and a .213 isolated slugging percentage on the season. These aren’t even numbers Andujar posted when he was a top prospect with the New York Yankees in the late-2010s.

Joshua Loeschorn (Bradenton)

There are only 64 minor league pitchers with a strikeout rate of at least 35% in 30+ innings. Joshua Loeschorn is one of them. Loeschorn was a 20th-round pick last season but has some very strange numbers. On top of that outstanding strikeout rate, he has an 8.6% walk rate and 0.81 HR/9. Both his FIP (3.16) and xFIP (2.68) are in the plus to plus-plus range. But he has a 4.59 ERA. He doesn’t have a strangely high BAbip (only .301), so it’s a strange conundrum. But his other metrics make him an unexpected performer, even if he doesn’t crack the list.

Mason Martin (Altoona)

The last name of the day is Mason Martin. Talk about a guy with no expectations; Martin only showed off raw power in 2022 and nothing else. This year, he’s batting .216/.369/.461 triple-slash, .377 wOBA, and 129 wRC+.

Martin has fully embraced fly balls and three-true outcomes. He has a fly ball rate of 50%, a walk rate of 17.5%, and a strikeout rate of 34.5%. Of his 255 plate appearances on the year, 57.3% have ended in a walk, strikeout, or home run. But this is his second go-around at Altoona, and he was formerly one of the Pirates’ higher-end prospects.

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