Pittsburgh Pirates: Bradenton Marauders' Outfield Finding Footing in Sweep of Palm Beach
|Photo Credit: Gene Polluk|
The Bradenton Marauders wrapped up their six game series against the Palm Beach Cardinals with a 13-1 win on Sunday, securing the sweep.
While pitching paved the way for a good portion of the week, the bats were certainly lively and made plenty of contributions. Bradenton scored more than 10 runs three times over the course of the week, scoring 18 this past Wednesday.
There has been no shortage of storylines to watch this season when it comes to Bradenton. They threw their first no-hitter in franchise history, and they are currently home to some of the most intriguing names in the Pittsburgh Pirates' system.
One position group specifically of intrigue has been the outfield. Headlined by Hudson Head, who was acquired in the Joe Musgrove trade, there has been plenty invested in the Marauders' current outfield group.
Head himself was a third round pick by the San Diego Padres, and he wasn't even the highest selected player currently playing in the outfield. That title belongs to Sammy Siani, who was taken 37th overall in the same draft Head was selected.
Sergio Campana was signed out of the Dominican Republic for $500,000 and while Jasiah Dixon was a 23rd round pick, Baseball America ranked him as the top sleeper for the third day of the same 2019 draft Head and Siani was in.
While as a collective group their signature trait may be speed, the Marauders' outfield showed this past week that it isn't the only thing in their tool bag. A look back at how each of their outfielders performed, compared to their season progress.
There is no doubting that the 20-year old Head had the best week in the outfield, playing in all six games against Palm Spring. Head, who is the Pirates' 11th ranked prospect according to Fangraphs, showed patience at the plate in drawing a walk in five of the six games this week.
Overall Head walked 28% of his plate appearances against the Cardinals, while striking out only 12% of the time. Four of his five hits he collected were for extra bases, including two home runs, as Head slugged .813 this past week.
Going into the week, Head was slugging just .226 and was striking out an insane 35.9% of the time. After the two home run effort, Head now sits at three while also swiping two stolen bases. At just 20-years old he is a legitimate candidate to hit double digits in both categories this season.
The 19-year old out of the Dominican Republic posted an .830 OPS this past week, and nearly 60% of his plate appearance ended in either a strikeout (31.8%) or walks (27.27%). He did add two more stolen bases to his total, giving him eight on the season.
His OPS against Palm Beach was nearly 100 points higher than his season total coming into the week, a nice display of the added power potential he still has. He has yet to hit a home run this year, but has five doubles and two triples to his credit while driving in six runs.
Campana is the 37th ranked prospect in the Pirates system according to Fangraphs. They also graded his speed out a perfect 80, both now and in the future.
Pittsburgh lured away Dixon from a college scholarship after drafting him in the 23rd pick and in his first year of full season baseball is starting to show why the Pirates were so excited by him. Dixon has 12 steals on the season, putting on full display his speed both on the base paths and in the field.
Overall it wasn't the best of week offensively for Dixon, batting just .143 on the week and striking out in 41.1% of his plate appearances but he did draw two walks and scored three times on the 26th.
For the season, Dixon has posted a .660 OPS and has maintained an 11.2% walk rate throughout the season.
The 2019 draft class has the potential to be something special for the Pirates. Quinn Priester has emerged as the top pitching prospect in a deep Pirates system, and many believe he can rise to be one of the better young arms in all of minor league baseball by the end of the year.
Pittsburgh also draft Siani that year, and while he has flashed his glove in the outfield at times, and made solid contact - it has mostly been a slow start for the young outfielder.
Siani posted an .487 OPS this past week, but he was able to draw walks in nearly 20% of his plate appearances (16.7%). He also drove in two more runs, giving him 14 RBIs now on the season. His season OPS looks much better, and impressive considering his .182 average (.709). His four doubles, triple, and two home runs have helped pick it up.
Bonus: Jase Bowen
Have to include the player who leads the Marauders in home runs, right? Bowen was drafted as an outfield but made the move to the infield to play second base and to help solve the crowd that was building at the position.
Bowen is yet another member of the 2019 draft class, being selected in the 11th round out of Central Catholic High School in Toledo.
JASE. BOWEN. 🤩 pic.twitter.com/iVYqWxGCXZ— Bradenton Marauders (@The_Marauders) May 29, 2021
The converted outfield launched four home runs this past week against Palm Beach, and collected half of his season total 20 hits as well.
Heading into the week, Bowen had a batting line of .192/.236/.308 with a .544 OPS, 34.5 K% and 3.6 BB%.
Just against Palm Beach he put up video game numbers, .435/.536/1.000 going 10-of-23 with 4 HR and 13 RBIs. One of those four home runs were of the walk-off variety as well.
What outfielder are you most excited about working their way through the system? What are your expectations for them the rest of the season? Let us know in the comment section below! You can also subscribe to the site with the link at the top and follow me on Twitter at both @SportBlogMurphy and @AJ_Murfy.