Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Underrated Prospects Who Could Debut In 2024

The Pirates could see these three underrated prospects reach the bigs in 2024.

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Tres Gonzalez

The 2022 draft saw the Bucs take outfielder Tres Gonzalez in the fourth round. Gonzalez made his debut late into the 2022 season, and while he looked good through his first 95 plate appearances, he would take another step forward in 2023. Now, he should start the 2024 season as part of Altoona's outfield.

Gonzalez received 531 plate appearances, most of which came at High-A Greensboro. He batted .289/.405/.402 with an outstanding 15.1% walk rate and 17.9% strikeout rate. Gonzalez isn't known for his power and only went yard nine times with an isolated slugging percentage of .113. But he used his speed to hustle out 22 doubles and steal 28 bases. All told, Gonzalez had a .381 wOBA and 128 wRC+. Gonzalez was just one of 21 batters in the minor leagues with at least 500 plate appearances and an OBP over .400.

Gonzalez takes a very contact and OBP-focused approach. Think of Adam Frazier but with more walks. There will be concern about how Gonzalez's power will play once he moves to the upper levels of the minor leagues next season. His exit velocity numbers were not good, though as long as he maintains a good walk rate and continues to hit the gaps, the approach could work.

An above-average defensive outfielder, Gonzalez saw time at all three outfield positions last year. He's plenty fast enough to cover ground in center field. That's also where his arm will likely play best at. A corner might expose his below-average arm strength, so putting him up the middle can hide that to a degree.

How Gonzalez plays at Altoona will determine if he could potentially make his debut. But his first extended look against pro pitching was very impressive. Should he continue to do this in Altoona, I wouldn't completely rule out a late-season cameo with the Pirates. At the very least, he has a chance to put himself into conversations for a role for the Major League team in 2025.

2024 outlook cheng. 2024 Prospect Outlook: Tsung-Che Cheng. dark. Next