The Pirates Leave Several Top Prospects Unprotected in Finalized 40-Man Roster

The deadline for MLB clubs to finalize their 40-man roster in preparation for the December 8th Rule 5 draft was at 6 PM ET today.  In order for clubs to make a selection in the Rule 5 draft, they must have less than 40 players on the active roster. Having this ability to choose a player from a different club is usually a priority for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

However, this year the Pirates needed their spots to protect their future assets.  They had 10 of their 30 prospects Rule 5 eligible, and those eligible could only be protected if they were added to the 40-man roster by today.  In order to make room for these highly touted prospects, the Pirates made just one move today in addition to the three releases they made on Tuesday.

The only move made today was releasing backup catcher Michael Perez.  Perez batted just .143 with a .221 on-base percentage in 2021.  There was very little doubt he would be released.  However, aside from this move, a lot of those expected to be released were not.

These moves made room for these previously unprotected top prospects:

No 5 prospect - Infielder Liover Peguero, 

No. 16 prospect - outfielder Travis Swaggerty

No. 27 prospect - outfielder Canaan Smith-Njigba

No. 29 prospect - outfielder Jack Suwinski

Unfortunately, this means that the Pirates have left several top prospects unprotected, including 22-year old pitcher Tahnaj Thomas, ranked No. 13, 22-year old first baseman Mason Martin, ranked No. 17, and 22-year old outfielder Cal Mitchell ranked No. 18, among others.  However, several believe Martin was not protected because first baseman are typically not selected in the Rule 5 draft.  

Also, since the roster is full with the 40 player maximum, this means, as of now, the Pirates will not make a selection in the Rule 5 draft.