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Pirates Prospect Watch: Recapping Top Performers of the Spring



Canaan Smith-Njigba, Pirates prospects

There were plenty of Pittsburgh Pirates’ prospects who impressed throughout the team’s 2023 spring training slate.

The Pirates concluded their spring training schedule with a 7-5 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday and are now headed north for Opening Day against the Reds in Cincinnati on Thursday.

Now that spring training is in the rearview mirror and the regular season is just ahead, Pirates’ prospects know their fate, whether it be with the big league club or some more seasoning in the minor leagues.

Still, it’s worth mentioning who stood out with their performances.

OF Canaan Smith-Njigba

  • Spring Stats: .333/.407/.583, three doubles, three home runs, 14 RBIs, two steals, 20 games

Smith-Njigba was rewarded for his strong spring with a spot on the Pirates’ Opening Day roster. It’s hard to argue the decision as Smith-Njigba was one of the top overall players this spring, not just in terms of Pirates’ prospects.

OF Travis Swaggerty

  • Spring Stats: .379/.471/.690, three home runs, 10 RBIs, one steal, 19 games

Like Smith-Njigba, Swaggerty had a very impressive spring. Unlike Smith-Njigba, Swaggerty will start the season with Triple-A Indianapolis. If the 2018 first-rounder is able to carry over his spring performance to the start of the regular season, it may not be long before he gets back to Pittsburgh.

2B Nick Gonzales

  • Spring Stats: .391/.440/.522, one home run, two RBIs, one steal, 17 games

Gonzales, another former first-round draft pick of the Pirates, was another prospect who looked great during spring. He still needs some time in the minor leagues, but he could get the call at some point this season.

C/INF/OF Endy Rodriguez

  • Spring Stats: .412/.412/.588, three doubles, one RBI, 10 games

Some argued Rodriguez should start the season with the Pirates, but he will begin the year with Triple-A Indianapolis. Rodriguez has hit everywhere he has been and that continued this spring.

C Carter Bins

  • Spring Stats: .462/.563/.615, two doubles, three RBIs, 11 games

Bins didn’t receive as much playing time as the others listed, but the Pirates’ prospect sure made the most of the opportunities he was given.

RHP Carmen Mlodzinski

  • Spring Stats: 1-0, 2.84 ERA, 6.1 innings, six hits, two earned runs, four walks, six strikeouts, six appearances

Mlodzinski flashed some brilliance at times during the spring. Despite some control issues, the right-hander was able to be effective when called upon.

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