One of the most interesting things to me about this random season has been seeing players in situations they might not have been in during a normal season.
We’ve seen that all over the league with prospects skipping the top levels and getting the call to the majors out of necessity.
We’re starting to see top prospects like Ke’Bryan Hayes arrive, although I think we would have seen him at some point this year in a normal season.
Some players are in roles that they might have otherwise not seen, such as Chad Kuhl getting an extended look in the rotation or Erik Gonzalez getting an extended look in the infield.
The Pirates aren’t a good team right now, and they haven’t been all season. That has led to another unexpected situation: Waiver claims who might not have been with the Pirates in a normal year. The most interesting of the group to me is Anthony Alford, who homered last night.
Alford just turned 26, so he’s not exactly young. He hasn’t done much in the majors, although his career in the big leagues spans 80 plate appearances. He was one of the top 100 prospects in the game as recently as 2018, but has failed to make the jump to the majors since then.
I’m not going to make anything about his one home run, and suggest that Alford has a future with the Pirates in any role. But this is a season where we are excited about limited production from Erik Gonzalez (29), Colin Moran (27), Phillip Evans (27), Jacob Stallings (30), and Chad Kuhl (27). We’re also hoping for a future from prospects like Will Craig (25), JT Brubaker (26), Cody Ponce (26), and Geoff Hartlieb (26).
Alford belongs in that latter group, with the hope that he’ll see things click in the coming years to the point where he belongs on a major league roster in a normal season. I don’t think the Pirates are close to being a winning team, but they can get closer by getting marginal returns from guys like Alford.
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