Top 5 Pirates Prospects: Greensboro Grasshoppers

3-14-23 By Craig W. Toth (aka @BucsBasement on Twitter)

If I thought charting out the Bradenton Marauders lineup was hard, I definitely wasn’t prepared to take the trip north to Greensboro.

Naturally there are going to be some logical promotions for players who performed well with the Marauders last year, in addition to those that have simply aged out of the Low-A level; more often described simply as organizational players.

Obviously, these guys have a place in the system, and can actively contribute to their ball clubs and/or the development of teammates; still, we have to start being realistic about expectations for prospects.

Every Major Leaguer was a prospect, but not every prospect becomes a Major Leaguer.

But, I digress.

In these blog posts, I try to focus on the former over the later; yet even then I’ve been known to be wrong.

I know, it’s a shocker.

Just like the weatherman that told us that we were supposed to get a snowstorm, so school was canceled. Yet, when we wake up there isn’t even a dusting on the ground.

Predicting success for prospects is hard to do. Still, let’s give it another shot anyway.

1) Anthony Solometo-LHP

Prior to the 2022 Minor League Season, Solometo was a prospect that was piquing my interest ; and why not? Compared to MacKenzie Gore and Madison Bumgarner due to his funky mechanics, the Pirates 2nd Round Pick in 2021-37th overall-had a fairly raw three pitch mix that that missed bats, and found the zone; but, potentially needed some polishing and velocity-especially the later with the fastball.

Given the fairly aggressive assignment of skipping the FCL, in favor of Low-A Bradenton; Solometo baffled hitters pretty regularly, to the tune of a 2.64 ERA, a 1.049 WHIP, 51 strikeouts and 0 homers allowed in 47.2 innings.

And, now rumor has it, that he has unlocked some of that velocity on his fastball; coming in regularly at 94-95 MPH, as opposed to his regular 89-92. For those who know Solometo’s history this is not something completely new based on the scouting reports that he was touching 97 during his high school years.

2) Po-Yu Chen-RHP

I feel like I write about Chen pretty often; which is probably true since I just wrote a full Through The Prospect Porthole about a month ago. So, I’m not sure what else I can say about the now 21 year-old International Signee.

I mean he doesn’t an overpowering arm and none of his pitches are above average at the moment, but he gets the job done.

Could that eventually catch up with him? Not the way the experts see it. Given the coveted Low Risk designation, it’s likely that Chen could move up through the system at a steady pace.

While he might not light the world on fire, his consistency should keep him in the rotation; and, at the very least, in the future rotation conversation.

3) Sammy Siani-OF

Drafted in 2019-18 selections after a pretty notable pitching prospect-at the 37th Overall Pick Comp-Round A out of William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia, Siani has yet to accumulate even 800 plate appearances in his Minor League Career.

Following a quick introduction to Pro-Ball in the Gulf Coast League League-now the Florida Complex League-exactly three weeks after being drafted, the younger brother of Reds Outfielder Michael was made to sit out the 2020 Season; just like almost every other MiLB player.

When baseball returned, he once again found himself in Bradenton; only this time it would be at LECOM Park with the Low-A Marauders, instead of the backfields at Pirate City. Unfortunately, after the first 55 games of the season, Siani once again found himself being forced off the field; only this time it was because of injury.

After almost as many days-Fifty Four-as games played, he returned for the final week or so of the season; which amounted to 31 trips to the plate.

In spite of these unlucky circumstances, the Pirates decided to be aggressive by promoting him to Greensboro to start the 2022 Season; a choice that did go over very well for Siani.

In 82 games, and across 334 plate appearances, the Grasshopper’s Centerfielder slashed .201/.318/.306; all of which were career lows.

At this point you are probably wondering why Siani is on a list like this; as they usually consist of prospects that are top performers: not ones that had a .625 OPS and a 79 wRC+ during the most recent season.

Well in Siani’s case he has age on his side, as he just turned 22 during the off-season. And, he did perform well in the Australian Baseball League at almost four and half years younger than the average player.

In 156 plate appearances, he had more homers-eight-than he had in the 334 with Greensboro. He also slashed .291/.353/.546 with another 11 extra base hits for the Sydney Blue Sox.

Does this mean that his success will transition over to a likely repeat of High-A? Absolutely not!

Do I think we should at least try to be a little bit optimistic about the former Top 10 Pirates Prospect? Absolutely!

4) Logan Hoffman-RHP

Hofman made this list for me in a very similar way to Sammy Siani. Meaning, that I’m not ready to write this kid off just yet.

Maybe I’m letting my own personal feelings get in the way of my overall assessment of him as a prospect; however, sometimes you just have to go with your gut.

Prior to arriving in Greensboro this past season, Hofmann had posted a 3.59 ERA with a 1.113 WHIP and 103 strikeouts across 82.2 innings as a swing-man on the Bradenton Marauders pitching staff the previous season,

Then without any real explanation, the man from Muenster, Saskatchewan (population 430), lost his command and control at unpredictable levels. His WHIP skyrocketed to 2.103, he started walking batters at a clip of 9.1 batters per 9 innings, and only struck out 25 batters in 35.2 innings pitched-solely out of the pen.

Naturally Hofmann also saw his ERA rise to 6.81, as he was knocked around on any pitch that did find the zone.

And, if you were this wasn’t some sort of home-split situation that is often talked about for the Grasshopper’s players.

On the road Hofmann had a .878 OPS against, a 2.059 WHIP and a 7.94 ERA versus a .916 OPS, a 2.143 WHIP and a 5.79 ERA in the not so friendly confines of First National Bank Field; which basically means that the normal regulating move to Altoona isn’t something to even consider at this point.

Simply put…he needs to get back to his 2021 form. And believe me, it is definitely something I am hoping for!

5) Tsung Che-Cheng-SS/2B/3B

Cheng is a prospect that has been on my radar for quite some time now; especially following an FCL Season where he had 19.1% walk rate, while only striking out 8.9% of the time, Of course this was on top of slashing .312/.449/.492 with a 154 wRC+.

And now thanks to his play thus far in the World Baseball Classic, he should be on everyone’s radar.

Which I still thought he should have been earlier after a Caribbean Series Championship, and a .270/.376/.418 slash line with 38 total extra base hits and a 13.8% BB-rate in Low-A Bradenton in 2022.

During a recent episode of my podcast-where Anthony Murphy from Pirates Prospects and myself broke down the potential Greensboro roster-both of us lit up when discussing Cheng; and, not only for his work with bat, or his 33 stolen bases. Watching Cheng play defense, it possible that he is one of the best, if not the best defensive middle infielders in the system.

If you can’t tell I am a little bit excited about hopefully getting to see Cheng this year.

[You hear that Greensboro! It’s 2023, and you have the capability; so please, for the love of everything that is holy, just stream your home games!]


Over the past two seasons Greensboro has been absolutely stacked with the Pirates Top Prospects; especially when it comes to the pitching staff. And, although this may not necessarily be the case at the moment, the situation can clearly change as players emerge/breakout, are promoted up from Bradenton or in some rare cases arrive on the scene straight from the MLB Draft.

Any way you look at it, the Grasshopper’s Roster should look very different by the end of the 2023 MiLB Season.

Published by Craig W. Toth

Former Contributing Author at, Co-Host of the Bucs in the Basement Podcast and life-long/diehard Pittsburgh Pirates Fan!

2 thoughts on “Top 5 Pirates Prospects: Greensboro Grasshoppers

  1. Chandler will be in Greensboro now that the report has come out that he is just concentrating on pitching.

    I couldn’t convincible see him moving up as a two-way player with him being dominated by low A pitching in the batters box. But now, he should be in Greensboro.

    There has also been multiple reports that him and Solometo have a healthy competition relationship and Pirates probably don’t want to split them up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He definitely could be. I tried to find out for sure when I was down at Pirate City this past weekend, but everyone was pretty tight lipped about assignments. But I did get to see a Sim game where Solometo faced off against Chandler as starters. Both looked good.


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