Minor League Notebook: Miguel Yajure Rehab, Bubba Chandler Debuts

Photo Credit: MLB.com

There was plenty of going on Friday night inside the Pittsburgh Pirates system, which was good because the major league team was rained out. They will make up the game on Saturday as part of a doubleheader. 

Miguel Yajure makes second rehab start

As the Pirates continue to search for arms to finish out the season, one of their more promising major league ready prospects took another step closer to being an option for the rest of the year.

Acquired in the Jameson Taillon trade, Yajure is the fifth ranked prospect in the Pirates system according to Fangraphs. In two starts in the majors this year with Pittsburgh, the 23-year old Yajure has posted a 3.86 ERA in 9 1/3 innings, striking out eight while walking three.

He's been shutdown since May with a forearm injury, but began his rehab assignment this past week in Bradenton with the Marauders. After throwing 31 pitches last week over 1 2/3 innings, Yajure saw his pitch count upped to 45 this past outing.

Of those 45 pitches, 30 were for strikes, but he was hit had at times, allowing a home run, and three earned runs over 2 1/3 innings. 

It is believed that his rehab stint may take him to Indianapolis next to get his pitch count higher before he becomes an option to come up to Pittsburgh. 

Bubba Chandler Makes Debut

Ben Cherington went into the 2021 draft with a specific strategy in mind, one that he executed to near perfection. When it was all said and done he was able to sign four players in Baseball America's Top 32. Essentially he was able to land four first round talents, with Chandler being one of them.

It wasn't easy, as Cherington had to tip toe around the draft pool allotment, with going over would incur a heavy tax on the Pirates along with a loss of draft picks. Chandler was an interesting case, as he was a potential first round talent, both as a position player and pitcher but he also had a commitment to Clemson to not only play baseball but football as well.

To get him to forgo his college commitment, it was going to cost quite a bit and teams were going to have to be ready to allow Chandler to both hit and pitch as a professional. After falling to the third round, the Pirates jumped, and offered him $3 million to sign.

Tuesday not only was he activated and assigned to the Florida Complex League, he made his debut the same day. The 18-year Chandler went 1 for 2 with a base hit as well as a strike out, batting third as the team's designated hitter.

It's a big step for Chandler, and the 2021 draft class, as he is the first of the prep players to make his professional debut. There's no word if he'll make his debut as well, this year or if that'll have to wait.

Either way, Chandler checked into Fangraphs rankings as the Pirates' tenth ranked prospect. Most agree his future is on the mound, but with everything you've read about him, I would never count him out on anything as far as becoming a true two-way player.

Nick Gonzales' hot streak continues

All in all it has been a successful debut season for the Pirates 2020 first round pick but it hasn't come without its struggles. He was forced to miss time with an injury in June, and dealt with a slump upon returning that caused many to believe he wasn't quite 100% healthy.

Well the former New Mexico State product is back to putting up video game numbers for the Greensboro Grasshoppers in High-A. After his four hit performance in their Friday night victory against rivals Winston-Salem, Gonzales has brought his batting average in the month of August to .364. In that same time frame he has also posted an 1.156 OPS, with eight extra base hits in 44 at bats this month.

The difference? Gonzales is striking out a lot less than he did in late June and July. In the immediate span after returning from injury, the rookie second baseball struck out 43 times in 119 at bats (36.13%). 

So far in August, Gonzales has struck out just 22% of his at bats. He has still shown some struggles hitting breaking balls but has been able to lay off just enough to force himself into fastball favored counts and has in turned allowed him to drive the ball the way he has this month.

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