The Pirates’ 2011 offseason has been relatively busy compared to last year. Most of our new faces are supposed to make the MLB roster, and some of them will supposedly contribute. There have been some signings, some trades, and the Rule 5 Draft.
Our first new player is Gustavo Nunez. Nunez was signed by the Detroit Tigers in 2007 from the Dominican Republic at the age of 19. In 2011, he started the season in the Florida State League, a high-A ball league, with the Lakeland Flying Tigers. In his 62 games there, he hit a .305 average with an OBP of .368 and a slugging percentage of .431. To the Tigers, it sounded promising enough for a promotion to the Erie Seawolves. The experiment didn’t work out so well for Nunez, as he hit .215/.252/.289 in AA. Neal Huntington chose him 7th overall in the Rule 5 Draft, meaning that he will have to be with the Pirates for a full season if they want to hold on to him. He’s never really going to be a power hitter, especially at 5’10”, 170 lbs, but he has shown more discipline the last couple of years. His OBP has been high, but not high enough to warrant a Rule 5 pick. The only way I see him making his way through the 2012 season is in a Pedro Ciriaco kind of way, except he won’t be able to be sent down and called up ten thousand times throughout the season. Nunez has a lot of speed, and he is not afraid to use it. He has stolen 110 bases in his minor-league career, and has hit 26 triples. His stats over the past three seasons have been getting better, though, which is a good sign if he wants to have any chance in the MLB.