Pittsburgh Pirates: When Will Malcolm Nuñez Make His Major League Debut?

When will the Pirates call Malcolm Nuñez to the Major leagues?

Feb 22, 2023; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Malcom Nunez (78) poses for photos
Feb 22, 2023; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Malcom Nunez (78) poses for photos / Dave Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
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Now with a gap in their depth chart at first base, how much longer will fans have to wait until the Pittsburgh Pirates promote top first base prospect Malcolm Nuñez?

The Pittsburgh Pirates recently traded veteran first baseman Carlos Santana to the Milwaukee Brewers. The Pirates don’t have any immediate options to fill the gap Santana is leaving behind unless they want to give Miguel Andujar another shot or see if Aaron Shackelford can do something. But they do have a first base prospect who is returning who could be a potential long-term answer, and that’s Malcom Nunez. However, when will Nunez get promoted?

Had it not been for an injury, Nuñez likely would have already made his Major League debut. Nuñez landed on the IL in late May. At the time, he was starting to find his stroke at the plate after a rough April. However, he’s only recently returned to action and is at A-Ball Bradenton rehabbing. 

In the month of May leading up to the injury that kept him on the IL for nearly two months, Nunez was batting .357/.478/.536 with a .456 wOBA, and 162 wRC+. Nuñez was walking at an outstanding 14.5% rate while providing a respectable 21.7% strikeout rate, and .179 isolated slugging percentage. That’s a massive, over 100% increase in production from April, where he owned a .512 OPS, .237 wOBA, and 24 wRC+. The difference between Nuñez in April vs him in May was a 138% difference in wRC+.

Nuñez is looking to pick up where he left off. The corner infield prospect has only appeared in four games since being activated, with all coming at the Pirate Florida Complex League and Low-A affiliate (Bradenton). However, in those four games and 16 plate appearances, he has five hits, including two doubles, and six walks. He also hasn’t struck out since getting activated.

But when will the Pirates get Nuñez to the big leagues?

I really don’t think Nunez is that far out. Like I said earlier, I think Nuñez would have already made his big league debut had it not been missing about two months. The Pirates had the opportunity to promote him (if he wasn’t hurt) when Ji Man Choi hit the IL. Had it not been for him being injured as well, I really think the Pirates would have given him a shot then.

Once Nuñez gets his legs stretched back out at Triple-A, I believe he’ll make the big leagues. I’d say that’s about 2-4 weeks away. Rehab stints don’t last very long, and there’s a chance he’s back at Indy by the end of next week. If he continues to hit anything like he did prior to his injury, and keeps swinging the way he has since getting activated from the injured list, I believe we’ll see him sometime around mid-August.

Termarr Johnson Pushing for a Promotion . dark. Next. Johnson psuhing for High-A