Pittsburgh Pirates: Three More Super Sleeper Prospects to Watch in 2024

Here are three more super sleeper prospects in the Pirates' system to watch in 2024.
The Florida Complex League (FCL) Orioles played their first night game against the (FCL) Pirates at
The Florida Complex League (FCL) Orioles played their first night game against the (FCL) Pirates at / THOMAS BENDER/HERALD-TRIBUNE / USA TODAY
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Braylon Bishop

The Pirates took Braylon Bishop in 2021 as one of their multiple overslot draftees. He was drafted in the 14th round and was signed to an over-slot deal. Bishop was considered a top-100 draft prospect with a ton of potential. So far, that potential hasn’t turned into on-field results, but it would be too early to give up on him at his age.

Bishop has 308 plate appearances as a pro ball player. Let’s first start with the positives. Bishop owns a .341 on-base percentage and has drawn a walk in over 15% of his plate appearances (15.6%, to be exact). He’s used his ability to reach base to its fullest potential as he’s gone 23/26 in stolen base attempts, a success rate of 88.5%.

But that’s where the good ends. He has struggled to make contact consistently and has struck out 27.9% of the time with a batting average of just .206. While he has shown good bat speed, he’s not been able to take advantage of it. He hammers the ball into the ground and has a GB% of 56%. His line drive rate is just 15.7%, and he has a 28.3% fly ball rate. Bishop has a career wRC+ of just 82 and clocked in at just 80 last season.

For what it’s worth, Bishop did end his 2023 season on a high note. In his final ten games, Bishop collected ten hits in 27 plate appearances, including a home run, while only striking out six times and drawing five walks. It’s obviously a microscopic sample size, and anyone can do good in ten games, but at least it was a good way to end his 2023 campaign.

There’s no question about the raw talent. Bishop runs extremely well, has good bat speed, and is a great athlete. But he has always had questions about his hit tool. Obviously, it’s been a problem thus far. The biggest issue for Bishop has been getting the ball in the air. I’d love to see what he could do if he could have even a 35% fly ball rate.

I think it’s a little too early to give up on Bishop. He is only going into his age-21 season next year. If he can show he can hit full-season level pitching, he may turn into one of the Pirates’ better outfield prospects. He needs to adjust to the point he’s not beating the ball into the ground. That’s easier said than done, but that’s where he needs to start.