After having his 2022 breakout campaign cut short due to injury, 2023 could be a big season for Pirate outfield prospect Matt Gorski
Last season, few Pittsburgh Pirates prospects were putting together a breakout campaign the way Matt Gorski was. Unfortunately, injuries would cost Gorski chunks of time in 2022, while also ending his season early. He will now enter 2023 with the chance to have a big season.
Gorski hit for a .277/.354/.489 slash line to go with a 130 wRC+ in 159 plate appearances with Double-A Altoona last season. Prior to being promoted to Altoona, Gorski hit for a .294/.377/.754 slash line with a 188 wRC+ in 146 plate appearances with High-A Greensboro.
Gorski hit 23 home runs between High-A and Double-A. Gorski hit 22 of these 23 home runs prior to going on the injured list at the end of June. When he landed on the IL, his 22 home runs led all hitters in minor league basbeall.
Late in the season, he was promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis. In his first taste of Triple-A action, the outfielder was 1-for-2. He then suffered another injury, ending his season early. While his injuries are unlikely to cause long-term issues, odds are, they played a role in the Pittsburgh Pirates not protecting him from the Rule 5 Draft. It likely also played a role in him not being selected by another organization in the Rule 5 Draft.
Losing the end of the season at Triple-A was not super detrimental to Gorksi. However, what likely hurt him more, was Gorski not being able to play in the Arizona Fall League, which he was originally slated to do.
Looking ahead to 2023, the 25-year-old Gorski should start the season with Indianapolis. He may also get some work at first base in addition to continuing to play the outfield. The 2023 season could be a big one for Gorski.
If the right-handed hitter can continue to build upon the power he started to flash last season, Gorski could reach the majors this season. While the Pirates have players at those positions power will always play. If Gorski can flash that plus power once again, he'll get a chance in the majors.
That said, he will also need to cut down on strikeouts. Gorski had a 31.2% strikeout rate at High-A in 2021. While it dropped to 28.6% during his 2022 minor league season, that is still a concerning number. Especially when facing minor league pitching.
Additionally, the long-term outlook for first base is a big question mark in the Pirate organization. Malcolm Nuñez could be that guy, but there are plenty of question marks around his game as well. The 2023 season could present Gorski with the opportunity to emerge as a long-term option at first base. That is if he takes to the position defensively.
This could make Gorski's defense as intriguing to watch in 2023 as anything else with his game. If he is getting consistent reps at first base and plays well defensively while doing so, he'll be able to throw his hat in the long-term options at first base ring.