With the MLB Trade Deadline less than a month away and the major league season halfway over, I figured now would be a good time to look at the Pirates depth in the minor league system. Which positions are they dealing from strength and which positions have little depth?
A lot of times, these factors play a role into whether or not a team makes a deal. Do they have proper depth to make up for a player that they might want to trade?
Pirates: Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Ivan Nova, Trevor Williams, Chad Kuhl
AAA Indianapolis: Steven Brault, Tyler Glasnow, Drew Hutchinson, Tyler Eppier, Nick Kingham, Clay Holmes
AA Altoona: Austin Coley, Tanner Anderson, Alex McRae, J.T. Brubaker
A Bradenton: Pedro Vasquez (7-4, 2.48 ERA), Dario Agrazal (5-3, 2.91 ERA), Taylor Hearn (4-6, 4.23 ERA), Mitch Keller (4-2, 2.57 ERA)
OUTLOOK- Glasnow might be the most important player in the Pirates system. If he lives up to expectations, that gives the Pirates at least 3 quality starters with a bunch of 3rd and 4th starters to plug-in. If Glasnow is a flop, the Pirates are in big trouble. Let’s see what Brault does when given a chance later this year. The pitcher in AAA that I think has a chance is Holmes. AA doesn’t seem to have much which is why if one of the “big name” Pirates are dealt, it’s important that they acquire a talented starter. Class A Bradenton has Keller, who’ll be the next elite prospect to watch and the team drafted a bunch of pitching in this year’s draft.
Pirates: Josh Bell (1B), Adam Frazier/Josh Harrison (2B), Jordy Mercer (SS), David Freese/Jung Ho Kang (3B)
AAA Indianapolis: Joey Terdoslavich (1B), Erich Weiss (2B), Chris Bostick (2B), Gift Ngoepe (SS), Eric Wood (3B)
AA Altoona: Edwin Espinal (1B), Kevin Kramer (2B), Kevin Newman (SS), Connor Joe (3B)
A Bradenton: Will Craig (1B), Mitchell Tolman (2B), Cole Tucker (SS), Ke’Bryan Hayes (3B)
OUTLOOK- Unlike with starting pitching, the quality depth with the Pirates minor league infielders is in AA Altoona and A Bradenton. Craig, Tucker, Hayes, Kramer, Newman and Espinal are all players that have a chance. The only downside is that it will be at least two years before we potentially see any of them in the big leagues. Due to the uncertain future of Kang, third base is a position that the team needs to address before the start of next season.
Pirates: Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart,
AAA Indianapolis: Elias Diaz, Jacob Stallings
AA Altoona: Jin-De Jhang, Tomas Morales, Jackson Williams
A Bradenton: Kevin Krause, Christian Kelly
OUTLOOK- The team has Cervelli under contract for a few more seasons but Diaz has done things this season that has the team and fans thinking he might be the better option sooner rather than later. Behind Diaz, the next best prospect appears to be Krause but it’s early.
Pirates: Andrew McCutchen, Gregory Polanco, Starling Marte, Jose Osuna
AAA Indianapolis: Austin Meadows, Jordan Luplow, Danny Ortiz, Barrett Barnes
Altoona: Jerrick Suiter, Elvis Escobar, Logan Hill, Jonathan Schwind, Michael Suchy
A Bradenton: Ty Moore, Jordan George, Logan Hill, Casey Hughston
OUTLOOK- The team appears to be in pretty good shape as far as outfield depth. However, a lot of that depends on if Meadows is the real deal. If he’s as good as advertised, the Pirates have Meadows, Polanco, Marte, McCutchen, Osuna and Luplow, who was recently promoted to AAA. This depth is the reason the front office is willing to deal McCutchen .