I wake up every day ready to be surprised by the Pittsburgh Pirates

I go to sleep every night surprised enough to be disappointed.

They find new ways to steal my sleep and shiver me timbers every seventeen hours or so.

No offense to Tucupita Marcano or Jack Suwinski or Jack Sparrow, who’s down bad but seems to be bouncing back if you’re tracking the Youtube trial. Anyway, talented players, all, but even from a team-control perspective, I can’t understand why anyone would promote these guys and bench Diego Castillo

Before we even consider the Oneil Cruz angle, taken from the most extreme tank-forever lens, how does it make sense? Maybe Castillo is hurt but not injured and just needs a day and this is just me spinning my wheels, which is really what being a baseball fan is all about, sometimes. It’s all an intricate but elaborate board game, and we like to play along with the teams, and it’s just impossible to play along with Pittsburgh. No functional POV perspective for this game. Can’t even select the Pirates in Franchise Mode of your favorite video games, probably–so alien is their approach to applying eye liner and operating a baseball team.

But let’s not dwell here where three rivers meet. There’s a whole ocean of baseball islands to explore.

Starting out with an early bird situation for you scuba divers, Detroit 2B/OF Carlos Mendoza is hitting .394/.535/.545 in 33 at bats in Low A with three doubles, one triple, and zero home runs. He’s just 5’7” but has the kind of barrel control that portends production beyond his raw thump. This kind of statline isn’t new for Mendoza either. He slashed .415/.589/.523 in 26 GCL games last year then posted a .422 OBP in 21 games in Low-A and even ended his stateside debut season in AA for a couple games, scoring a couple runs there. He’s 22 years old, so he probably won’t be young for his level at any point in his minor league timeline. I’m going to zero in over the next few weeks as best I can because this could get noisy in a hurry if Mendoza can find even a tiny jolt of power. Plan for now is to fit him in where I can while I can. 

I was high on Tampa 1B Kyle Manzardo heading into FYPD season this winter, but it wasn’t enough. Cut to sad Towlie, “When is being high really being low?” Now, Towlie. I don’t have Manzardo on any teams, so his 30.8% walk rate and 11.5 percent strikeout rate in High-A as a 21-year-old have no meaning to me. He’s also slugging .563, so he’s not just punching Judy, or whatever the hell that saying is. Punch and Judy? Am I making this up? Feels like a fever dream. Anyway, he’s hitting the ball hard, walking a lot, and rarely striking out, but at least I have Robert Suarez, so that turned out great. I suppose I could try to overpay and pry Manzardo away from his teamzardos, but I feel like his horse has flown the coop in my leagues. Maybe you can still get him in yours. 

Washington OF Josh Palacios got lost in the shuffle among Toronto’s stash of quality field players and wound up in the nation’s capital. Well, Rochester for now, ripping through International League pitching with a .360/.500/.600 slash line, 3 HR, 2 SB, and a 21.9%/12.5% BB/K rate. The Nats might be patient during their bumpy ride with Lane Thomas, but they probably want to see if this hot streak from Palacios can carry over to the show. 

It’s a double-dip from the Palacios family this week, as Josh’s younger brother Cleveland SS/OF Richie Palacios was recalled to cover for some Covid-list trips and picked up two hits in his debut on Tuesday. He’s not an awe-inducing prospect at first glance but makes hay with a smart plate approach and plus contact skills. He can also play pretty much anywhere in the field and fits well with Cleveland’s pesky, pitch-spoiling group of youngsters. Probably just a cameo this week while the team’s in need, but every window is also a door, or something. 

The aforementioned Pittsburgh 2B Tucupita Marcano didn’t necessarily graduate AA, slashing .250/.364/.333 with a 29.5 percents strikeout rate, but his name does make me think of a McCaw, which makes me think Parrot, which makes me think Pirate, so he’s got that going for him. Not much to see here for our purposes though. 

Pittsburgh OF Jack Suwinksi on the other hand did play his way out of AA and into the big league lineup Tuesday night by slashing .353/.451/.686 with 3 HR and 1 SB in 13 games. It’s fitting that he and Marcano took the trip together because they also traveled as a pair from San Diego in the Adam Frazier trade. Suwinski features legitimate big league power with just enough plate discipline and hit tool to invite optimism about his chances to actualize if given the runway to do so. I doubt he has that here, but as I say in the intro, I have no idea what’s going on aboard that ship. 

One last Pittsburgh based note this week: SS Liover Peguero has 15 RBI in 13 AA games along with four stolen bases, two home runs and a .327/.351/.564 slash line. The plate patience isn’t where it will be, but I’m glad to see he’s bringing an aggressive approach and doing damage in the early going. Should get the bump to AAA whenever that spot is vacated by the enormous human holding it down for now. 

From one tooled-up NL Central shortstop to another, St. Louis SS Masyn Winn has transcended his plane of existence in High-A, slashing .415/.469/.683 with four stolen bases and one home run. He slashed .209/.240/.304 in 36 games at the level last season, so it’s thrilling to see him make this leap, and it feels fairly sustainable as long as he’s striking out and walking about 13 percent of the time. The skill growth, I mean, feels sustainable enough. I’ll take the under on a .415 batting average and double down on the .683 slugging percentage. Winn was a hot property early last year but ended the season with a fairly quiet line, so he might be available in a league or two for you. 

Worth your time to make a quick sweep across your leagues in search of Colorado SS Adael Amador, who has similarly transcended his level in the early going. A 19-year-old in A ball, Amador has walked more than he’s struck out while slashing .339/.457/.607 with four home runs and three stolen bases in 15 games. He displayed great plate skills in the complex league last year: 13.5% BB, 14.5% K, so that’s starting to feel a little sticky at this point. Gonna be a slow road, but like Pirates, all I’ve got is time, just out here floating in the ocean on an endless treasure hunt. 

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.

 

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sport
sport
3 months ago

Hey Itch! I was reviewing your Starting Pitcher rankings earlier. If we take out Baz, Grayson, H.Greene, Lodolo, J.Ryan, Detmers, and Ashby do to injury and graduation that leaves the top 10 as Eury, Kirby, Espino, Contreras, Max, Leiter, Cavali, Ed Cabrera, Jobe, and Battenfield.

Would you leave the top 10 like that or make any major shake ups? Anyone jump into that list that wasn’t there at the beginning of the season?

The Talent Show
The Talent Show
3 months ago

Hey Itch, thx for all your content. My favorite spot for prospect/dyno news. I’m in a 12 tm h2h 5×5 category lge where u keep 25 out of 36 players. Keep forever lge. Roster moves can be tight w prospects and players available in free agency. I lost Mondeso and Patino this year and wondering how tightly I should be holding onto them in your opinion? Roster:
C Murphy
1B Tellez
2B Mateo
3B Machado
SS Wander
MI Bichette
CI Mondesi
OF Arozarena
OF Ward
OF Franmil
OF Happ
U Correa
Bench: C Carroll, Pratto, L Matos, R Greene, K Watson, Brujan, Jay Allen

P Luzardo
P Mclanahan
P Buehler
P Musgrove
P Gore
P F Peralta
P Woodruff
P Taylor Rogers
Bench: Baz, Grayson, Patino, Brash, Megill, Lauer, Pearson, Munoz, L Castillo

The Talent Show
The Talent Show
Reply to  The Talent Show
3 months ago

I guess my question is, would u drop them? Looks like I almost have to drop Mondesi unless I want to drop one of my prospects or pitching

Primetime
Primetime
3 months ago

Itch, great article. Bigger future CJ Abrams of Volpe Yankees? Which player has the bigger impact? Volpe has better minor league numbers for power and steals.

junior56
junior56
3 months ago

Thanks Itch!

Who do you like better Sabato or Manzardo?

Jimmy
Jimmy
3 months ago

Hey itch…. You rock!!! Who do you like better for this year? Gabriel Moreno or MJ Melendez? 13 team dynasty 5×5…

bigbear
bigbear
3 months ago

Got some tickets to the Aberdeen Ironbirds this Saturday! Hoping to see Rutchman and DL Hall. Mayo (2 HR last night and another tonight), Norby, Cowser, and Prieto (380ish flyout last night too) will be there regardless. DL Hall vs. Mick Abel is the match-up I’m hoping for!

Add Prieto to your watch list. 6 HR and some loud outs so far. Not sure about home/away splits, but Aberdeen is a pitcher’s park. SSS/A+ ball/etc., but he looks confident coming in from Cuba. Other players were talking him up a bit in spring too. Feels like a higher floor AVG guy, but his fantasy upside is based on the power developing.

bigbear
bigbear
Reply to  bigbear
3 months ago

Not going to see Hall. He’s starting tomorrow’s game.

Lower the Jolly Roger
Lower the Jolly Roger
3 months ago

Imagine being a Pirates fan and watching almost every game…. It’s a task lol… anyways Grissom dropped last night.. acted fast and dropped Hedbert for him .. Do ok?? Thank you as always !

Lower the Jolly Roger
Lower the Jolly Roger
Reply to  The Itch
3 months ago

They had 2 guys playing last night that couldn’t start for a local Pony League team hahaha… what a life

Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
3 months ago

Hey Itch! In my 12 team keep 8 forever league (only 7 bench, no minors slots) I was offered my $6 Sale for his $0 Miranda. Feels way too rich for Miranda given that he’s been so cold….that said, Miranda was really interesting preseason, so I wanted to get your thoughts…do you also think that’s no where close, or would you start considering it? Thanks!

Screwballs
Screwballs
3 months ago

Thanks for keeping us updated on the prospects. I need some advice.

We can carry 3 NA’s in a 20 team H2H league. I have been holding Gabriel Arias, Triston Casas and Matt Liberatore. I had drafted and was playing Bryson Stott who has now been sent down. I figured the drop was Liberatore, but it looks like he is doing well. It’s hard to carry an inactive player on the bench.

What do you think the best move is?

Screwballs
Screwballs
Reply to  The Itch
3 months ago

You are correct, starting pitching is very valuable.

Anthony
Anthony
3 months ago

Itch – I know this question isn’t prospect related but need some help. Would you move Michael lorenzen, Pinder and Owen miller for Jesse winker? I have the depth to and guys to fill in since I am giving up 3. I feel like I am getting the best guy in trade but part of me thinks 1 of the 3 guys I am giving up could actually prove to be good players.

toolshed
toolshed
3 months ago

I wanted to ask about Gorman. He still has a k issue (~35% k rate this year) and defensive problems that need addressed. I’ve seen a lot of buzz about him as a potential call up. What do you think? That kind of profile to me looks like it won’t go well in the big leagues. Stl also has been a very good defensive team. I’m not saying he can’t work out for dynasty, but are you pumping the brakes on him in redraft as a 2022 impact call up? Thanks

thehombre
thehombre
3 months ago

In the off-season, I took over a bottom feeder team in a 30 teamer. You have single handedly given me a shot to compete next year and every year after (no chance this season). And yes, Manzardo was a guy off everyone’s radar and I scooped him up after our draft along with 20 or so guys you have ranked and no one else does. Thank you.

Aaron Bracho was dropped in this league. Seems to be a guy you did like, what happened?

DanthePoorMetFan
DanthePoorMetFan
3 months ago

Itch, I love your articles, I don’t think there is better prospect content on the planet then yours, keep it coming.