Pittsburgh Pirates Triple-A players who could soon get promoted to the Major Leagues

Who are some players currently at Triple-A who could soon get promoted to the Pittsburgh Pirates?
Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds
Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds / Andy Lyons/GettyImages
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Nick Gonzales

While Nick Gonzales was riding a hot streak prior to getting called to the big leagues, both times, he struggled once he got here, batting .209/.281/.348 with a .267 wOBA and 64 wRC+. He struck out 28.1% of the time, but more worrying was his 4.7% walk rate. But Gonzales, who opened the year back at Triple-A, has gotten off to a scorching hot start.s

Through his first 85 plate appearances of the season, the infielder is batting .385/.435/.590 with a .451 wOBA and 165 wRC+. He is only one of 26 batters at Triple-A right now with an OPS above .900, wOBA above .400, and wRC+ above 150. Although he only has one home run, he already has 11 doubles. Gonzales has only drawn five walks, however. This has led to a walk rate of just 5.9%. That’s compared to last year when he had a 12% BB%.

Strikeouts were an issue that Gonzales has faced since making his pro debut. But at the time of writing this, Gonzales has not struck out in three straight games. In total, he’s had nine games without a K. Last year, he only had 27 games without a strikeout at Triple-A in games where he had at least four plate appearances. He has gone down on strike three just 14 times for a K% of 16.5%.

That currently ranks in the top 50 among Triple-A hitters. He’s also hitting much better against breaking and off-speed stuff with a .333/.350/.436 with a .348 wOBA. His 35.7% whiff rate is still a tad high, but a noticeable improvement from 39.1% the year prior, and also not much worse than the league average 33.2% whiff rate on the same pitches across all of Triple-A.

We shall see if he can continue those improvements if or when he makes the big leagues. It’s definitely promising to see he’s not being fooled nearly as often on breaking/off-speed stuff as he has in previous seasons. This new contact-focused approach could work very well for Gonzales. I definitely think he’s the sort of player who would succeed with it.