By Jason Shetler
It’s been well-documented over the last few years that the Pirates have quality depth among their outfield prospects and pitching prospects. The same however could not be said in regards to the middle infield. In 2013, the Pirates acquired John McDonald, who was a good defender, but provided nothing offensively, even though they had a better internal option all along in Jordy Mercer. Then there was 2014 when the Pirates had a couple of anemic middle infielders on the bench for a short time with Jayson Nix and Michael Martinez.
During the early 70’s, the Pirates had plenty of middle infield depth with the likes of Dave Cash, Rennie Stennett, Willie Randolph and Frank Taveras. A similar situation is about to occur with the Pirates entering 2016. The most notable is of course Alen Hanson, who has been the Bucs top middle infield prospect since 2013. Max Moroff and Adam Frazier both performed extremely well for AA Altoona last season, as Moroff was named the Pirates Minor League Player of the Year while Frazier contended for the batting title in the Eastern League. At the lower levels, there’s first round shortstops Cole Tucker (2014) and Kevin Newman (2015). Newman should have a fast track to the Majors since he was drafted out of college.
From just recently lacking any kind of quality depth up the middle of the infield, the Pirates certainly now have a ton of it on the way soon. Just like with any deep positional depth in the organization, it presents a good problem for the Pirates to have in terms of which prospects to have on the big league roster, and which to trade to acquire a certain need.