7-19-22 By Craig W. Toth (aka @BucsBasement on Twitter)
A quote that I know I have mentioned on more than one occasion-in the blog and on the podcast-comes from one of my favorite baseball movies.
The reason I love this quote so much is because it can be applied to the sport, as well as life itself.
During this past week, my family was told that My Dad would no longer be in our lives. Obviously this realization rocked everyone to their core; and is not something I would wish on my worst enemy. However, I know that at some point I will be able to find peace in each moment I got to spend with him. Just like many baseball players will be able to look on their careers fondly; even if they never made it to The Show.
Clearly I am not talking about any specific prospect-including the ones listed below. It is more of generalization concerning the overall process; and, how baseball often mirrors our own existence.
Week of 7/12-7/17
1) Wilber Dotel-RHP (FCL)
Inked to a deal near the end of the extended 2020 International Signing Period, Bladimir Wilber Dotel started to show up on teams’ radars after seeing a jump in velocity-upwards of 95 mph on his fastball-and increased command of his two off-speed pitches-a 74 to 78 mph curve and a at the Marmolejos Baseball Academy in the Dominican Republic.
Given an advanced assignment of playing in the Florida Complex League at only 18 years old, this 6’3” 178 pound righty pitched fair well during his 11 appearances; five of which were starts. Over 29.2 innings he posted a 3.34 ERA and a 1.281 WHIP with 34 strikeouts.
Believed to have starter potential, Dotel has been stretched out as so for this year’s FCL season; striking out 4, walking 2 and not allowing an earned run in 4 innings of work.
On the season he has .41 ERA and a .727 WHIP with 27 strikeouts. Additionally batters are struggling to the tune of a matching .149 AVG and SLG.
2) Rodolfo Nolasco–OF (Bradenton)
Originally signed by Pittsburgh back in July of 2018 for $235K, Nolasco was a major player in the success of the Dominican Summer League Pirates2 team in 2019; slashing .302/.373/.472 with 5 homers and 21 total extra base hits.
Based on his own achievements, the then 19 year-old Dominican was aggressively promoted to the FCL, where his abilities were once again put on display. In 164 plate appearances he batted .278, posted an extremely strong .409 OBP-thanks in part to a 15.9 BB%-and hit 8 homers. Because of this, he was once again promoted to begin 2022; landing in Bradenton, with the Marauders.
Unfortunately, in the beginning this assignment did not go as well as the others for the Pirates Top 20 prospect according to Fangraphs and #22 on MLB Pipeline. Through the first 59 games of the season, Nolasco was batting only .216 with an excessive 35.5% strike out rate. Luckily he did continue to hit for power, as he crushed 6 homers.
Then the month of July-or more specifically the third game of July-rolled around; beginning what is now a 10 game hit streak. During his current streak, Nolasco has blasted 5 additional home runs, is batting .368, has a 20.4% rate of both walks and strikeouts and was unsurprisingly named the Florida State League Player of The Week.
3) Sergio Umana-RHP (Bradenton)
When he signed with the Pirates on December 3, 2018, Umana was the number one pitching prospect from Nicaragua; although, even back then there were questions about his ability to add velocity. His answer to that has been throwing the off-speed stuff-especially his changeup-almost exclusively, with a sinker mixed in; which has started to produce pretty consistent results.
In his first 12 appearances-two starts-he has posted a .96 ERA and a .82 WHIP with 26 strikeouts and only 5 walks across 28 innings of work; including 4.1 scoreless innings this past week, with 5 strikeouts and zero walks.
Also of note, Umana has yet to give up a homer yet this year.
4) Anthony Solometo–LHP (Bradenton)
The first time Solometo made this list it was more about my own excitement of finally being able to see him pitch in his first professional game(s). This time I feel like he truly earned a spot in the Top 5.
After two rough outings in a row, he bounced back with a hit-less 4 inning relief appearance; during which he fanned 6, and didn’t allow a single free pass.
On the year he has 3.26 ERA and a 1.034 WHIP and 23 strike outs in only 19.1 innings; all while being a full 3 years younger than his average competitors.
5) Quinn Priester-RHP (Altoona)
The main explanation for Priester not making the list up until now is a simple one. He was on the IL for the first two month of the season with a left oblique injury that sprouted up at the end of Spring Training.
Then it was off to Bradenton for a rehab assignment; where he was the first leg of a combined no-hitter. Followed by a somewhat disappointing 2.2 inning performance-6 H/5ER/1BB/3K/1HR-with the Grasshoppers. And finally, his return to his original assignment with the Altoona Curve; eventually being built back up to starter he is envisioned to be.
Over his past two starts, Priester has tossed 10.1 scoreless, while striking 9 and walking only two.
Week of 7/22-7/24
1) Quinn Priester-RHP (Altoona)
For the second straight week Priester was one of the best pitchers in the entire organization; striking out 8, walking 1 and allowing just 1 run on 3 hits across 6 full innings of work.
Almost immediately I saw calls for him to be promoted to Triple-A and possibly the Big League Club by the end of the season; almost completely ignoring the fairly recent promotion of fellow Top Prospect Michael Burrows.
This is getting ahead of ourselves.
As previously mentioned Priester missed the entire first months of the season with an oblique injury. On top of that there are only 8 series left on Altoona’s season and 10 for the Indians. That’s an additional 50 or so innings at the most, if he stayed around his current production, and was promoted to Indianapolis.
Plus you have Burrows, Roansy, Bolton, etc. a head of him. In all likelihood those 50 innings-I am not ruling out promotion to the Indians-and a few appearances in the Arizona Fall League are in Priester’s future; if I had to predict anything.
2) Endy Rodriguez-C/2B/OF (Greensboro)
Hot doesn’t even begin to describe the tear Rodriguez has been on in Greensboro. In the month of July, the Pirates #7 Prospect on Fangraphs and #6 according to MLB Pipeline is slashing .351/.433/.772 with 6 homers, 6 doubles and an insane 206 wRC+.
A true Swiss Army Knife player, due to incredible athleticism, he can truly excel at multiple positions; while letting his bat guide the way through the Pirates Farm System.
3) Dariel Lopez-3B/SS/2B (Greensboro)
Lopez has hit(s) in 27 of his last 29 games; including his current 8 game hitting streak.
During this most recent series he batted .429 with 2 homers. On the year he is slashing .276/.312/.459 with 14 homers and 26 total extra base hits; however strikeouts-and not walking-have continued to plague his game, as he has struck out 24.1% time and only walked 1.5% of the time during this current hot streak.
4) Enmanuel Terrero-OF/DH (FCL)
There have been, and will be many more exciting prospects that make there way onto the FCL backfields this year because of the recent MLB Draft; causing it to be pretty difficult to keep up with all of them. Due to this, one name you may have missed is Enmanuel Terrero; the 19 year-old outfielder from Boca Chica in the Dominican Republic.
Originally signed for $600K-one of the top bonuses in that International Class for the Pirates-in July of 2019, Terrero did get to make his professional debut until 2021, with the DSL Pirates Black. On the season he batted only .237 with one homer and 8 extra base hits, but did show some discipline at the plate; taking 33 free passes, while striking out 24 times.
Potentially because of this, or maybe due to the lost season, Cherington and Company moved him stateside to begin the 2022 season in the FCL.
On the year his command of the zone has continued, as evidenced by his 17 walks to 10 strike outs. Terrero has also improved on his bat to ball skills, which have resulted in a .357 AVG and .500 SLG.
5) Luis Faringthon-RHP (DSL)
Just like Terrero, Faringthon was signed by the Pirates on July 2, 2019. His bonus was less, but not insignificant; landing at $160K. Also from the Dominican Republic, this slightly small in stature-5’11 187 pound-righty cut his teeth in 2021 with the DSL Pirates Gold; pitching 24.1 innings out of the bullpen. And although his numbers weren’t extremely impressive-5.18 ERA and a 1.68 WHIP-Faringthon was able to whiff 29 batters with a somewhat underrated fastball.
This season he has stuck in the bullpen-and remained in the DSL-to hone his command. In 20 innings of work, Faringthon has struck out 21, walked 7 and has not allowed a single home run; on his way to .45 ERA and .90 WHIP.
There you have it! My Top 5 Pirates Prospect Performers for the last two-15th and 16th-weeks of 2022.
Now remember, let me know I missed, who your Top 5 is and be sure check back each and every Tuesday (or Wednesday Night/Thursday Morning)-hopefully-during the Minor League Baseball Season!
My Dad was always one of my biggest supporters in life. It’s hard to imagine my life and my family’s lives without him. Thank you to everyone that has reached out and offered us comfort during this unfathomably difficulty time.