The Pittsburgh Pirates have many great prospects, but a handful of them are versatile players who can field many positions.
Most of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ prospects are roughly in the same position. Nick Gonzales will stay on second base. Liover Peguero will land at the base from the shortstop. Travis Swaggerty is a potential long-term outfielder. However, they also have some interesting and versatile perspectives in the field.
The best prospect of the team that can play in multiple positions is Ji-Hwan Bae. Bae was a very solid hitter last season. He hit .278 / .359 / .418 with a wOB of .343 and 114 wRC + at Double-A Altoona. The speedster has mainly played second and third base during his professional career.
However, at the end of the 2021 season and the Arizona Fall League, Bae began to see some playing time in centerfield. Bae will likely play more center next season at Indianapolis Triple-A. The Pirates have a ton of capable prospects in the middle of the infield outside of Bae, so it’s a good idea to familiarize him with another position.
One prospect that could make it into the top 100 is backstop, Endy Rodriguez. Rodriguez, who was acquired in the trade involving Joe Musgrove, won the Southeast Low-A MVP award. The backstop hitting the switch posted an outstanding line of 0.294 / .380 / .512 with a wOBA of .410 and wRC + of 140. Rodriguez posted a walk rate of at least 10% and a pull rate at stick less than 20% each year of his professional career. Last year, he had a walk rate of 11.5% and a strikeout rate of 17.7%.
Rodriguez is a safety net by trade, but he has played a decent first baseline and outfield corner. Considering the number of backstop prospects in the Bucs’ minor leagues, Rodriguez could end up in another job depending on what happens in the next season or two.
Another remarkable prospect that the Pirates have acquired in commerce is Tucupita Marcano. Marcano went from Low-A in 2019 to the San Diego Padres’ opening day squad in 2021. Due to the huge level jump, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Marcano struggled. Marcano started off hot, posting a .273 / .366 / .442, .351 wOBA and 103 wRC + line.
After the exchange, Marcano suffered a cold snap. It only hit .230 / .254 / .279, .285 wOBA and 71 wRC +. That was in just 210 home plate appearances and he warmed up in the final month of the season. In addition, he had a strong walk rate of 12.4% and a strikeout rate of 15.7%. Marcano is praised for his exceptional ability to bat the ball, but he’s an average or better defender at second base, shortstop, third base and outfield.
One of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ top prospects in 2021 was Jared Triolo. Triolo hit .304 / .369 / .480, posting a wOBA of .371 and 128 wRC +. Its production came to High-A Greensboro. Defensively, Triolo is a more third baseman. He won the minor league gold glove for the hot corner. But he’s also played a handful of shortstop games. In college, he also played his fair share of games in left field. He’s a good runner with more skill on the diamond, so he could probably handle the right side of the infield with 3Gs and SS.
The Bucs took on a very versatile player in the 6th round of the draft. Mike Jarvis was a sub-slot pick, but you wouldn’t have known that from his college numbers. He hit .325 / .398 / .495 with a .392 wOBA and 29 sweeps. Jarvis continued to strike extremely well after the Pirates drew him out. He had 19 hits and 4 walks in his first 67 appearances at home as a professional. He was also 100% successful in basic stealing attempts, going 11 for 11. Jarvis pretty much spent his time dividing between center field and shortstop. In college, he played at least one end in every position other than first base, catcher and pitcher.
If you think of him as a versatile player, then Bubba Chandler is the Pirates’ best multi-position prospect. Chandler is a two-way street player. He was the team’s third-round pick but lasted so long in the draft due to his commitment to Clemson. If it hadn’t been for that, Chandler would have reached the top 15, maybe even the top 10. He has all-star potential, both as a pitcher and an infielder. It has four offers which all project as average or best. He’s already on average in the mid-90s with his four seams and hits the 90s with regularity long before he’s even 20 years old.
As a shortstop he’s very athletic with more power, more alignment and (obviously) a strong arm. The Pirates will likely develop him as a launcher first, but will also retain his ability to strike. If he becomes a starting pitcher, he could see time all over the court as he’s quick enough to handle the outfield and since he’s a good shortstop defender he would be able to handle. both the second and the third base.
One final player to mention is Hoy Park. Acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Clay Holmes, Park approached the Pirates with a stick of .327 / .475 / .567 with a wOBA of .452 and 180 wRC + with the Triple-A branch of the New Yankees. York. Park would only go on to beat .136 / .334 / .136 with a wOBA .274 and 63 wRC + with the Bucs subsidiary Triple-A. On a more positive note, Park finished 2021 with a .250 / .404 / .432 line with a 126 wRC + with his last 57 home plate appearances of the major league season.
Park posted more defense at second base, shortstop and third base in the major leagues. He was also rated as a more defenseman in both corners of the outfield. He didn’t play very well in central field, but it should be noted that all defensive measures came in very little time. Nevertheless, the fact that he can play in several positions, both in the infield and in the outfield, makes him a solid utility-type prospect.
Most of the players we talked about have played both inside and outside, with the exception of Bubba Chandler. However, the likes of Maikol Escotto, Rodolfo Castro, Diego Castillo, Luis Tejada and Jackson Glenn can play multiple positions on the pitch. While the versatility of an SS / 2B / 3B-type infielder isn’t as valuable as a guy who can play multiple infield and outfield points, it’s still valuable as it gives the team more flexibility.