The Pittsburgh Pirates have been in a rebuild since the end of the 2019 season. Since then the organization has gone from a middling franchise with a dim future to an organization that has an extremely bright future.
Ben Cherington has been one of the biggest catalysts to this as he’s brought in a boatload of talent through trades, drafting, signings, and other means of acquisitions. Overall, he’s arguably been one of baseball’s best general managers the last year or so when you consider the position the team is in and what their outlook is.
We also have to give credit to the Pirate coaching and development. Quinn Priester went from a borderline top 100 prospect to a consensus top 60 prospect in a year. Roansy Contreras looks like a completely different pitcher compared to when he was in the New York Yankee organization. There are a handful of other prospects having career best seasons so far throughout the Pirate farm system.
However, this month of July 2021 will be one of, if not the most pivotal month of the current Pirate rebuild. It could be a turning point for the organization. One of the biggest reasons why is the trade deadline. The Pittsburgh Pirates could deal Adam Frazier and Richard Rodriguez.
If the two are dealt, the Pirates will have traded nearly all of their veteran players that were all on the trading block when Cherington took over. This started in the 2019-2020 offseason when he traded Starling Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks and all the way to this offseason with his most recent big trade of Jameson Taillon to the New York Yankees.
The draft is the other reason this could be a big turning point to the rebuild. The Pittsburgh Pirates will have the #1 overall pick. Right now, Marcelo Mayer looks like the #1 pick. MLB Pipeline and FanGraphs and while he won’t be an impact player within the next two or so years, that doesn’t mean they won’t take a player who could impact this team within the next 1-3 seasons.
The Pirates did select Nick Gonzales last draft, and he could be looking to make a potential impact on this team by at least the end of next season. He’s already at High-A and could get a look at Double-A before the end of this season.
Now, while the Pittsburgh Pirates will likely secure a high draft pick in 2021, the team will likely shift their focus from acquiring talent to developing talent. Of course, developing talent has been a huge focus already, but it should now overtake acquiring more talent. Most of the players in the organization at the end of this July are likely seen as the building blocks for long term success. The players they pick in the 2022 draft will likely be closer to help sustain success rather than build toward it.
July should be a busy month for the Pittsburgh Pirates. They have the draft and the trade deadline. This could be the largest influx of prospects the team has had in a long time. But it could also be a turning point in the rebuild as this is likely the end of them building up to the future to focus on developing the talent they have gotten the past two years.