8-25-21 By Craig W. Toth (aka @bucsbasement on Twitter
Almost two weeks after he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates out of Houston University for the full slot value-$870,700-associated with him being the 72nd Overall Pick (Competitive Balance Round B), Jared Triolo dug into the box on a sweltering Sunday afternoon at Monongalia County Ballpark in his fifth professional ballgame for the now defunct Class A Short Season Pirates Affiliate, the West Virginia Black Bears. With one on and one out in the bottom of the first Triolo turned on the ball, sending it over the wall in left field for his first career home run, as yours truly looked on from the seats down the third baseline; all while my youngest tried to keep an eye on Cooper.
At the time of his selection, Triolo was seen as a very safe and solid pick due to his perceived low floor, bat to ball skills, possible untapped power potential, quickness/plus speed, defense and strong arm. In his career with the Cougars, he slashed .317/.406/.447 with 14 homers and nearly as many walks (92) as strikeouts (112); along with a strong performance in the Cape-.276/.364/.423 with 4 homers-mixed in.
In his first season of professional ball, beyond the few games I saw him play, he did struggle at times; ending the season with a .239 AVG and only one more homer, but with 24 additional extra hits-5 of them triples. So, all in all a fairly solid entrance into the Pirates Farm System for the fairly safe pick, and one that did earn him New York-Penn League All-Star Honors.
Now, as with all of the other 2019 draft picks-including Blake Sabol, Matthew Fraizer, who I have already written about-Triolo found himself with no 2020 MiLB Season, but like Fraizer did put some work in during the Fall Instructional League; which brought up some similar questions concerning his class/level assignment as he probably would have found himself in Greensboro last year, when they were still Low A.
With the new alignments, Triolo-the former top 30 prospect according to MLB Pipeline and current 46th ranked prospect with a 40 FV on Fangraphs-still found himself in Greensboro to start the year, but this time as a High A ball player. And all he has done this year is hit; slashing .290/.344/.457 with 31 extra base hits-13 of the over the wall. And to top it all off he just had his 20 game hitting streak snapped. For him this is the potential power that scouts saw in his 6’3”, 212 lb frame, with it not just coming to pull side.
Which begs the question; why haven’t we heard more about Jared Triolo? Well, if you look on the Grasshopper’s roster, he is obviously not the highest ranked prospect of the bunch. Also, at times there have been other players that have outshined him; including the aforementioned Matthew Fraizer. However, I feel like one of the simpler explanations is, he plays a position that is not seen as one of need within the organization. Third Base.
You see, there happens to be a guy on the Big League roster who probably has the hot corner locked down for the foreseeable future, and hopefully longer if he can find himself in between the batter he was in 2020 and the one he is now; although he might still be there either way. So, in essence, why worry about who is playing third base in the minors? Even though it’s been mentioned a number of times, people continue to forget that positions on the field don’t always matter as much as we think they do; especially in the lower minors, and sometimes even after a player has found his way up to Double-A, Triple-A or in some instances, the Majors.
So, for now I am going to take my own advice to forget about the position, and think about the possible future that Jared Triolo could have in the Pirates Organization.
In the immediate future it would be hard to see why a promotion for the last month of the season shouldn’t be a possibility, though it doesn’t look like too much movement is going to happen in the levels above him; which would point toward him joining the Curve in the Spring. Of course, I am not opposed to this idea, and I certainly don’t think it would be detrimental to his development in anyway as he will only turn 24 in the off-season on February 8th; leaving plenty of years for him to make his way up to PNC.