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Pirates Pass in Major League Rule 5 Draft, Add Four in Triple-A Phase

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Seth Beer, Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates had the ninth pick in this year’s Rule 5 draft but declined to make a selection in the major league phase. It’s the first time under general manager Ben Cherington that the Pirates did not make a selection when the draft took place.

Last season, the Pirates selected left-handed pitcher José Hernández from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Hernández went 1-3 with a 4.97 ERA in 50 appearances out of the bullpen. He remains on the Pirates’ 40-man roster.

Though the Pirates didn’t make a selection in the major league portion of the draft, they did add four prospects through the Triple-A phase.

In the first round of the Triple-A phase, the Pirates selected right-handed reliever Fineas Del Bonta-Smith from the Colorado Rockies. The 26-year-old spent the 2023 season with Double-A Hartford.

With Hartford, Del Bonta-Smith went 2-2 with a 5.40 ERA in 45 innings across 35 appearances out of the bullpen. The righty struck out 55 batters and walked 21. For his career, he’s gone 11-11 with a 3.88 ERA with 219 strikeouts in 188 innings. Del-Bonta Smith was originally a 22nd-round selection in the 2019 draft.

Their second selection has big league experience. The Pirates chose first baseman/designated hitter Seth Beer, who was a 2019 first-round draft pick by Houston, from the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was acquired by the Diamondbacks in the 2019 Zack Greinke deal.

In his big league career, Beer has appeared in 43 games. He’s hit .208 with a .586 OPS, two home runs and 12 RBIs in parts of two seasons from 2021-22. This past season between Double-A and Triple-A, Beer slashed .273/.365/.461 with 15 homers and 66 RBIs in in 102 games.

In the third round of the Triple-A phase, the Pirates chose third baseman Marcos Cabrera from the New York Yankees. For his minor league career, Cabrera has slashed .219/.328/.386 with 31 home runs and 119 RBIs in 252 games. He spent the season in High-A in 2023 and posted a .642 OPS in 65 games.

The Pirates’ final selection of the day was outfielder P.J. Hilson from the San Francisco Giants. The 23-year-old had a terrific 2022 season where he slashed .309/.384/.561 with 13 doubles, five triples, 11 home runs, 38 RBIs and 15 steals in 63 games.

A sixth-round pick in 2018, Hilson took a step back this past season, finishing the year with a .704 OPS, 12 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs, 45 RBIs and 12 steals in 80 games.

The Pittsburgh Pirates also lost four prospects to other teams. One of the prospects selected by another team is infielder Dariel Lopez, who is headed to the San Francisco Giants. Lopez was considered the Pirates’ No. 14 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

The Pirates also lost left-hander Omar Cruz (Padres), catcher Rafael Escalante (Twins) and right-hander Roelmy Garcia (Rays).

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