Pittsburgh Pirates Well Represented in Baseball America's 'Best Tools' Survey
Baseball America released their 'best tools' article yesterday, where they surveyed the managers at each minor league level to determined the best players at any given set of tools.
Not surprising the Pittsburgh Pirates were fairly well represented, although there were some surprises at some of the players listed, and then who wasn't.
Here's a breakdown of each Pirate that was mentioned.
Matt Fraizer - High-A East 'Best Batting Prospect'
Really not a surprise here, as Fraizer was one of the true breakout players in the minors this year, and not just in the Pirates' system. While in High-A playing for the Greensboro Grasshoppers, the 23-year old Fraizer slashed .314/.401/.578 with 20 home runs, 37 extra base hits and drove in 50 runs - all in 350 plate appearances.
While he didn't keep the home run pace once he got to Altoona (three in 149 plate appearances) he still hit for extra bases at a higher rate in Double-A than he did with Greensboro.
Oliver Mateo - Low-A Southeast 'Best Fastball' and 'Best Breaking Ball'
The Pirates have a lot of intriguing arms at the Low-A level, and when it comes to the ones that are generally talked about, Mateo isn't usually one of them.
He's definitely left his mark around the league, however, as he is recognized as the pitcher with not only the best fastball, but also the best breaking ball.
Oliver Mateo might be one of the most explosive RP I’ve seen in the minors this year.— Ian Smith (@FlaSmitty) July 31, 2021
High spin two pitch mix with a heavy FB at 97-99 and a hellacious breaking ball that sits 84-88 with late movement. Rough start to the year but last 10 outings are much improved. #Pirates pic.twitter.com/Ie1e1zjzEO
The numbers actually back it up. After a horrible start to the season that saw the righty walk 23 and allow 15 earned runs in 13 innings pitched between May and June, Mateo started to turn things around in July before taking off down the stretch.
Mateo has struck out 29 batters in 13 innings pitched in August and September, while lowering his walks down to eight in that span. Overall, Mateo has struck out a mind boggling 82 batters in 37 2/3 innings this year.
Enmanuel Mejia - Low-A Southeast 'Best Reliever'
Can you imagine having the best fastball and breaking ball in the division but then not being named the best reliever? That's the case with Mateo, as he was beat out for Mejia. For as good as some of Mateo's numbers been, Mejia actually had him beat in the category that mattered the most - runs allowed.
Mejia didn't allow an earned run over 26 1/3 innings while pitching for Bradenton, and has allowed just two all season long. The craziest thing might have been that despite not allowing an earned run, Mejia was still tacked with a loss during his time in Bradenton.
Jared Triolo - High-A East 'Best Defensive 3B'
Depending on how you look at things, Triolo should walk away with some decent hardware this offseason. Only Fraizer, who still qualifies for his time with Greensboro, finished with a better batting average than Triolo this season in High-A East.
Fraizer finished the year in Altoona, making Triolo the player with the highest batting average remaining. Oh year, he's pretty good with the glove as well. Crazy to think how deep the Pirates are at third base when it comes to the glove, huh?
Dariel Lopez - Low-A Southeast 'Best Defensive 3B'
This one was probably one of the biggest eye openers. Lopez committed over 30 errors in the field this season, but yet was named the best defensive third baseman in his league. It takes me back to when Spenser Smith, the Marauders play by play broadcaster, joined us on the podcast a couple weeks back.
He mentioned just how good he was with the glove, especially once you stop looking at just the errors. Looks like everyone else around the league did the same thing.
Oneil Cruz - Double-A Northeast 'Best Infield Arm and Most Exciting Player'
When it comes to 'best tools' it shouldn't really be a surprise that Cruz is listed on here at some point. Talking about him being the most exciting player to watch is interesting, and with all the mammoth moon shots he has hit this year makes it not that much a surprise.
Oneil Cruz delivers a strike to home plate to keep the SeaWolves off the board in the first inning.— Altoona Curve (@AltoonaCurve) June 16, 2021
Spencer Torkleson's single made it 1-0 'Wolves after 1 inning.
WATCH: https://t.co/6GP894jPtF pic.twitter.com/5zBQpKe5GN
I have a different moment though when thinking about the season. It's that throw in Erie he made, throwing out a running trying to score from the outfield after chasing the ball down in the outfield. It was a play he had no business making, but he did, because that's just the kind of things he does.
Of the players not listed here, who do you think was the most deserving? At which superlative? Lets us know in the comment section below, subscribe to the site with the link at the top of the site and follow us on Twitter @__Murphy88 and @SportBlogMurphy.