Pittsburgh Pirates Top 50 Prospects (2023)

Pittsburgh Pirates Top 50 graphic design by Michael Packard, @CollectingPack on Twitter

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm system is loaded! There are potential future All-Stars throughout the first few tiers, and several other players in Tiers 4 and 5 with plenty of tools who could turn into solid MLB contributors. 2023 should see the MLB debuts for many of these top tier prospects.

We’re proud to present this team effort. Six Prospects1500 writers submitted their own Pirates Top 50s, and this column is an average consensus of those rankings. Staff who contributed include Tony Bps Spina (@tonybps1), Scott Greene (@Scotty_Ballgame), Shaun Kernahan (@ShaunKernahan), Nick Leonardo (@Leobaseball3), Jeremy Mahy (@JMahyfam) and Ben Wilson (@TBDubbs11), and the writer’s last name follows each player write-up or paragraph.

This is our new Pittsburgh Pirates Top 50 prospects heading into the 2023 season.

Prospects1500 Tiers:
Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above-average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have a high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players of interest, worth keeping an eye on, who have an outside chance of making their team’s 40-man roster

Levels listed for each player are the highest levels player reached in 2022

Tier 1

1. Termarr Johnson, 2B/SS, 18, Single-A
Johnson brought a much lauded prep hit tool to the 2022 draft class, warranting a selection from Pittsburgh with the 4th overall pick. Listed at 5’7”, Termarr pairs preternatural bat to ball skills with solid power that should play as he climbs the latter. The 18 year old did nothing to diminish his pedigree in his full season debut last summer, slashing .275/.396/.450 in 53 plate appearances for Single-A Bradenton. All eyes will be on the young middle infielder in 2023 as he continues what is expected to be a relatively quick ascent to the big leagues. (Leonardo)

2. Endy Rodriguez, C, 22, Triple-A
Across three levels last year, Rodriguez hit .320/.407/.590 with 25 HR and 95 RBI while only striking out at a 19% rate. The last three months of the year you could not find a hotter hitter in all of the minors. He is a switch hitter, with an advanced approach, and shows no signs of a platoon split risk. He is impressive defensively behind the plate, but also has enough athleticism to play other positions in order to get his bat into the major league lineup faster. He has all the makings of dynasty gold and is someone I would be trying to acquire while you still can. Let’s get Endy to Pittsburgh! (Mahy)

Tier 2

3. Henry Davis, C, 23, Double-A/AFL
The first overall selection of the 2021 draft, Henry Davis brings high expectations as an offensive contributor. As Davis has ascended to the high minors, he has shown contact ability with good swing decisions. Davis can do most everything well in the box at this stage, even chipping in some stolen base potential. Davis may not have a sky high ceiling of other number 1 picks, but he has the makings of a consistent piece of a contending lineup who can bring some thunder while playing multiple positions in the field. (Wilson)

4. Nick Gonzales, 2B, 23, Double-A/AFL
2022 did not go quite as planned for the offense-first second baseman. Lauded for his hit tool, Gonzales had trouble on the road (.194/.346/.299) and against right handed pitching (.244/.369/.388) for much of the season. There is still plenty of hope for Gonzales, who raised his batting average and slugging percentages steadily each month, capped off by a steady AFL performance. Gonzales is well worth a dynasty league check-in right now after a relatively down season to see if he makes the adjustments needed in 2023 to unlock the potential impact of his table setting bat. (Wilson)

5. Quinn Priester, RHP, 22, Triple-A/AFL
Now on the doorstep of the big leagues, Priester performed well in the high minors for the first time this year. His stint in the AFL pushed his innings total beyond 100 for the first time, and the developmental innings were more significant than the statistical output there. Priester’s strongest pitch is the curveball, which pairs with his changeup to get hitters from both sides out. Priester is consistently around the strike zone with all of his offerings. He has the makings of at least a mid rotation starter, which could tick up even further with the step forward of another plus pitch with his excellent ability to command. (Wilson)

Tier 3

6. Liover Peguero, SS, 22, MLB
The youngster Peguero skipped Triple-A en route to a one game big league debut. Peguero put up nearly identical counting stats between Double-A in 2022 and High-A in 2021, though over 30 more games. Peguero’s greatest tools are on the defensive side, where he can stick up the middle. His on-base and slugging figures took a step backwards in the high minors, so it remains to be seen how much he will impact the ball and put it in the air as he progresses. (Wilson)

7. Bubba Chandler, RHP, 20, Single-A
Chandler showed big stuff on the mound with Single-A Bradenton last season, punching out 33 batters in 26 innings, but struggled with command. The 20 year old also logged 88 trips to the plate, rocking a near 40% K-rate. There is no denying Chandler’s raw talent but he remains just that in both aspects of his game. The 2 way talent will likely be a slow burn in the lower levels of the minors. (Leonardo)

8. Mike Burrows, RHP, 23, Triple-A
Burrows has been a positive developmental prospect for the Pirates. He was originally drafted in the 11th round (2018) and represented the Pirates at the Future’s Game in 2022. Burrows fastball and hard curveball are excellent at creating misses and generating weak contact. Burrows has stuff that will play in the big leagues, perhaps as a potential impact reliever, a multi-inning stopper, or starter with the development of the changeup. (Wilson)

9. Anthony Solometo, LHP, 20, Single-A
Selected in the 2nd round of the 2021 draft, Solometo pitched well in mostly 3-4 inning stints for Bradenton last season. He struck out 51 in 47.2 innings to the tune of a 2.64 ERA in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. Listed at 6’5” with long levers, good command, and some funk to his delivery, Solometo is a very intriguing young arm. (Leonardo)

10. Lonnie White Jr., OF, 20, Rookie (FCL)
White was the 64th overall pick in the 2021 draft but has only 38 at bats since being drafted. He was off to a solid start last season but tore his UCL after only 2 games. Prior to being drafted he was recruited by Penn State to play Wide Receiver but chose the baseball path instead. White has good speed and can play a solid centerfield but needs to get some at bats to continue his development. He may be a few years away from the big leagues but, with his talent, is a good gamble to pick up in dynasty leagues. (Bps)

11. Luis Ortiz, RHP, 23, MLB
Ortiz was called up the majors late last season and pitched well in 3 of his 4 starts before imploding against St. Louis, giving up 6 runs in 2/3 of an inning pitched. Overall, he really held his own, striking out 17 in 16 innings. He did walk 10 batters in that time, continuing what has been his biggest opportunity – his command. Ortiz can get his fastball up to the high 90’s and has a great slider and improving change-up. If he can get the walks under control, he could be a fine mid-rotation pitcher as soon as this year. (Bps)

12. Ji Hwan Bae, 2B/OF, 23, MLB
Hwan Bae projects to be an old-school type of player, a leadoff hitter whose game is based on speed and the ability to get the bat on the ball. Bae has hit well and got on base at every stop in his minor league career. Up until last year, he never hit a home run but showed surprising power in 2022, swatting 8 home runs. Power will never be a part of his game but a player who can steal 30 or so bases and hit for a high average has worth in all fantasy leagues. At his age with his positional versatility, he may get a fair chance at breaking into the lineup as early as this season. (Bps)

13. Jared Jones, RHP, 21, High-A
Jones was a two-way talent in high school (La Mirada, CA) but converted to pitching full time when drafted in the 2nd round in 2020. He throws in the mid-90s and gets his strikeouts (11.7 K/9 over 188 IP in his two years). Along with the strikeouts, comes his fair share of walks but Jones has the tools and talent to make the major leagues either as a dominant reliever or an effective starter if he can refine his secondary pitches and the control. (Bps)

14. Thomas Harrington, RHP, 21, College
Harrington set a new bar for pitchers at Campbell in his two seasons there, becoming the single season wins leader, strikeouts leader, and was the highest Camel ever selected when he went 36th overall in the July MLB Draft. He isn’t the type of guy who is going to light up radar guns, regularly sitting low-to-mid 90s, but the late life and run on the fastball makes it a borderline plus offering. His change sits in the mid-80s and falls off the table regularly getting hitters to chase and swing through it, easily his bet pitch. He has two breaking balls, the better of which is his slider that has flashed plus but projects more as an average to slightly better offering. With plenty of leg drive and a lower 3/4 arm slot, Harrington holds his stuff deep into outings and everything moves but with solid command and will be a future mid-rotation starter for the Pirates as he has a very high floor. (Kernahan)

15. Matt Gorski, OF, 25, Triple-A
Gorski is a little older for a prospect but has put up improving numbers over years in Pittsburgh’s system. He has 24 home runs to go with 21 stolen bases across 4 levels last season with most of that damage coming in High-A and AA. If he can work on his swing-and-miss, he could be a solid outfielder for Pittsburgh but, more than likely, looks like a 4th outfielder. This year will give us a better idea of which way his career will go. (Bps)

16. Hunter Barco, LHP, 22, College
One of the many college arms that didn’t finish the season due to injury, Barco had Tommy John surgery in May, but still came off the board in the second round. For the most part, he is a two pitch guy with a low-90s fastball and a plus slider, although he does mix in a change at times that has decent shape and come with good arm speed, it just is lightly used. Relying so heavily on two pitches and with a delivery that does come with some effort and limited arm extension, there is some reliever risk in him, but he could be a quality reliever if he goes that direction. If he sticks in the rotation, he will need to improve the change and hit his spots better, but he could easily develop into a number three starter. (Kernahan)

Tier 4

17. Malcom Nunez, 1B/3B, 21, Triple-A
18. Jared Triolo, 3B/SS/OF, 24, Double-A
19. Travis Swaggerty, OF, 25, MLB
20. Kyle Nicolas, RHP, 23, Double-A
21. Hudson Head, OF, 21, High-A
22. Dariel Lopez, 3B/SS/2B, 20, High-A
23. Shalin Polanco, OF, 18, Rookie (FCL)
24. Ryan Vilade, POS, 23, Triple-A (MLB debut in 2021)
25. Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP, 23, Double-A
26. Axiel Plaz, C, 17, Rookie (DSL)
27. Matt Fraizer, OF, 25, Double-A
28. Michael Kennedy, LHP, 18, High School
29. Canaan Smith-Njigba, OF, 23, MLB
30. Tony Blanco Jr., OF, 17, Rookie (DSL)

Nunez was acquired from the Cardinals last year at the deadline, and profiles as a power hitting first baseman. He may not hit for a high average, but did walk at a good clip last year leading to an OBP of .367. Triolo gets on base at a high clip, steals a bunch of bases, and has some sneaky pop. Is there a future lead-off hitter here? Nicolas had a solid campaign at Double-A last year and could see the big league rotation later this year. Head is starting to lose some prospect shine thanks to a >30% strikeout rate. 2023 is going to be a pivotal season for him. Lopez is one to watch in 2023. If he hits as a 20-year-old in Double-A the way he did in High-A last year, his stock is going to take off. Mlodzinski has the arsenal to be a #3 starter in the big leagues, but his command has to improve for him to get there. Plaz looks like he could be a stud and I can’t wait to see his stateside debut in 2023. Kennedy is a raw arm, expected coming from the Northeast, but impresses with a repeatable delivery that should lead to keep solid command and projection in the frame to see the stuff improve too. (Mahy)

Tier 5

31. Tahnaj Thomas, RHP, 23, Double-A/AFL
32. Jack Brannigan, 3B/RHP, 21, Single-A
33. Tsung-Che Cheng, SS/2B, 21, Single-A
34. Rodolfo Nolasco, OF, 21, Single-A
35. Jun-Seok Shim, RHP, 18, International signee
36. Braylon Bishop, OF, 19, Rookie (FCL)
37. Javier Rivas, IF, 20, Rookie (FCL)
38. Mason Martin, 1B, 23, Triple-A
39. Cody Bolton, RHP, 24, Triple-A
40. Yordany De Los Santos, SS/3B, 17, Rookie (DSL)
41. Andres Alvarez, IF/OF, 25, Double-A
42. Sammy Siani, OF, 22, High-A
43. Po-Yu Chen, RHP, 21, Single-A
44. Jacob Gonzalez, 1B, 24, High-A
45. Raymond Mola, OF, 17, International signee
46. Jase Bowen, OF/2B/1B, 22, High-A
47. Abrahan Gutierrez, C/1B, 23, High-A
48. Esmerlyn Valdez, OF/1B, 18, Rookie (FCL)
49. Solomon Maguire, OF, 19, Rookie (FCL)
50. Lolo Sanchez, OF, 23, Double-A

Brannigan was a two-way player for the Fighting Irish. The Pirates are developing him in the field where his plus power and cannon for an arm could make him an asset at the hot corner. Cheng could move quickly through the system thanks to plus speed and a double plus hit tool, just don’t expect much power. Bishop has the tools to stay in center field and could bring a nice blend of power and speed at the plate. Rivas showed a lot of progress in his second year with the organization and looks to build on that success at Single-A Bradenton this year. Bolton was once one of the top pitching prospects in the system, but after missing two years due to the pandemic and a knee injury, he now looks ticketed for a bullpen role. Shim and Mola headlined the deep and talented 2023 international class. The 18-year-old Shim’s fastball already touches triple digits and features some serious backspin. Mola profiles as a corner outfield that is showing a good ability to turn on the ball with power. (Mahy)

Tony Bps Spina is a lifelong baseball fan hailing from the City of Brotherly Love - Philadelphia! Tony has loved baseball since 1980 and has followed the Phillies through good and bad times. Tony is married with 3 kids and works for a financial institution but has enough free time to play in 20 fantasy baseball leagues with 75% of them being Dynasty Leagues. He lives a few blocks away from Citizens Bank Park and attends many Phillies games per year in addition to their minor league teams in Lehigh Valley and Reading. He can be reached on Twitter at @TonyBps1.

President of Prospects1500. Founder of Diamond Duos dynasty fantasy baseball leagues and the MLB Fantasy Playoffs Parlay. Participant and champion in several dynasty/fantasy baseball and football leagues. Sales Manager for Reminder Publishing by day. Huge Bruce Springsteen and pro wrestling fan. Along with his wife and two boys, lives in Longmeadow, MA. Follow on Twitter at @Scotty_Ballgame.

Shaun Kernahan is the MLB Draft correspondent for Prospects1500. When not at a game, chances are the TV and/or tablet has a game on and he has a notepad out taking notes. When not scouting draft prospects, he is the Director of Baseball Operations for the Mile High Collegiate Baseball League, a collegiate wood bat league in Colorado. Shaun can be found on Twitter at @ShaunKernahan.

Nick covers the Florida State League for Prospects1500. Born and raised in the Bay Area he fell in love with the Oakland A’s at an early age. The A’s have never loved him back but that’s never stopped him from obsessing over all things baseball, especially prospects, the minor leagues, and dynasty baseball. Find him on Twitter @Leobaseball3.

Jeremy covers the St Louis organization and contributes on Prospects of the Week for Prospects1500. Born and raised in the Midwest, he is a lifelong fan of the Birds on the Bat. You can follow him on Twitter @JMahyfam for more baseball content.

"Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too." -Yogi Berra

Ben is an Assistant Editor and also covers the Red Sox and Dynasty/Fantasy baseball content for Prospects1500. He also runs the #2EarlyMiLBMock, an annual prospect-only mock draft, for the Prospects1500 website. Ben is an experienced fantasy baseball player and is a deep league dynasty specialist. He has also contributed at FantraxHQ, RotoFanatic, and retired blogs Real McCoy Minors and Notes from the Sally. Follow Ben on Twitter @TBDubbs11.


  1. We had 6 different writers come up with their own Pirates Top 50 ranks, and Silvera didn’t make it onto any of their lists so he doesn’t show up on the consensus rankings here. We’ll definitely look into him, keep an eye on his 2023, and he could potentially make the midseason update list.

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