Top 5 Pirates Prospect Performers: Slowly Moving Beyond The Small Sample Size

5-16-23 By Craig W. Toth (aka @BucsBasement on Twitter)

We’ve gotten to the point in the Minor League Season, where things have started to even out a little bit; and, an 0 for 4 night at the plate won’t send players batting average on free fall before they step to the plate during next game.

An example of this is everyone’s favorite prospect to watch-checking the stat lines almost as often as the take a breath-Henry Davis.

Davis began the week with a .292/.446/.611 slash line; slightly under the unofficial stat balancing line of 100 plate appearances-coming in at 92. After a 3 for 4 night-with 2 homers and a double-to open the series versus the Rubber Ducks, he saw his slash line increase to .316/.464/.711.

Now, after not recording a hit or a free pass the very next evening in 4 plate appearances, his line only dipped to .300/.446/.675.

Over the final three contests he would play against Akron he would collect 4 hits-including one double-and walk 3 times in 14 plate appearances; good for a .364 batting average. Yet, his slash line stayed fair constant; ending at .308/.452/.648 after Sunday’s contest.

So, what does this all really mean?

Well, let’s say Davis unfortunately goes through hitless/on base streak of 12 plate appearances, we would see a decent dip in batting average to around .252; which might send Pirates Fans into a tailspin.

It also means that we are still in the land of small sample sizes, so there is really no need to quote stat lines on the daily to prove a player’s worth at this point.

Things can change quickly, as we look at prospects that could potentially be trending in the right direction.

1) JP Massey-RHP (Bradenton)

Massey arrived on the scene at Pirate City as a legitimate project after being drafted in the 7th Round-200th Overall-by Pittsburgh, out of the University of Minnesota.

And to tell you the truth, it didn’t seem like Massey expected to be picked at all-or at the very least as more than a dart throw-because he had already planned on transferring to Missouri, after posting a 6.52 ERA, 1.736 WHIP and 63 strikeouts with the Golden Gophers; struggling due to struggles with control. In his 12 start he walked 39 and hit 6 batters, while tossing 12 wild pitches.

Currently, at 23 years of age, Massey has slowly started to find some consistency. Over his past two outings he has struck out 16, walked 6 and allowed just 3 hits over 10 innings of work; including a 9 strikeout performance this past week.

Will this continue? Who knows.

But, he does have all the talent in the world; and all the raw stuff-a 95+ mph fastball, a wipeout slider, a changeup and a curve-to kind of wait and see what happens.

2) Tres Gonzalez-OF (Greensboro)

Gonzalez has yet to experience the almost expected/natural drop-off that takes place when a player moves up a level.

After batting .299 with an .830 OPS across 82 plate appearances in Low-A Bradenton, Gonzales has slashed .342/.381/.447 with High-A Greensboro.

Obviously many would be quick to point out the First National Bank Field Effect, when looking at his stats; however, Tres isn’t a power hitter, so I am not sure how much this can be utilized in this particular case.

3) Enmanuel Terrero-OF (Bradenton)

Terrero has been one of the most pleasant surprises in the Pirates Minor League System thus far this season.

Through the first month and change of the Marauders’ schedule, he is slashing .308/.419/.467 with a 14.7% BB to 18.6% K-rate, even after a slight down week; which included a couple extra base hits, 3 walks and 5 strikeouts.

Still, he was able to post a wRC+ of 121-a stat that I will gladly take when a player isn’t hitting his best.

4) Owen Kellington-RHP (Bradenton)

Kellington has been slow walked into his professional career by the Pirates; after being selected in the 4th Round of the 2021 MLB Draft; partially due to the level of competition he faced as the Gatorade Player of The Year in Vermont during his senior season.

Across 49 innings of work he posted a .22 ERA and 133 strikeouts; with 91% of his outs coming by way of the K.

During the first season of his professional career he pitched just 10 innings in the FCL.

This year he joined the Low-A Bradenton Marauders pitching staff; making 3 starts in his six appearances, but still not going more than 4 innings.

During his most recent outing Kellington struck out 5, walked one and allowed one earned run on 2 hits.

5) Sean Sullivan-RHP (Altoona)

Since his first time on this list-a couple of weeks ago-Sullivan has allowed his first earned runs of the year; but, he has continued to look solid, while building himself up to a full six innings of work.

During his most recent outing, Sullivan did not issue a single free pass and allowing a decent amount of soft contact; ultimately calling on his fielders to help out along the way.


There you have it! My Top 5 Pirates Prospect Performers the second week of May 2023.

Now remember, let me know if I missed anyone, and who your Top 5 would be. And, be sure check back each and every Tuesday during Minor League Baseball 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!

4 thoughts on “Top 5 Pirates Prospect Performers: Slowly Moving Beyond The Small Sample Size

  1. Good look, thanks.
    Here’s hoping Massey gets that control together sooner rather than later. He’s already a bit old for that level.
    Always a big fan of pleasantly surprising OFs, but I’m biased, haha.
    You are certainly making me doubt my initial (little-researched) thought on his draft day less and less that Kellington could turn out quite nicely, albeit slowly. He’ll be interesting to follow for some time, barring catastrophic injury.
    Not just six innings, but on 70-some pitches! That seems rarer and rarer in the minors nowadays. What’s the knock on him? I don’t see anything about him profile-wise on Fangraphs.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry, I should’ve specified my antecedent was Sean Sullivan for the question. His overall stats from college and the relatively brief minors career look good so far.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No real problem. Just wasn’t one of the big name guys, so kind of got lost in the shuffle.


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