Travis Swaggerty hits leadoff homer, as Pirates prospects start minor league season with blasts

·2 min read

May 5—The Pittsburgh Pirates raised eyebrows by having outfielder Travis Swaggerty report to the Indianapolis Indians, skipping a step in the minor leagues to make the jump to Triple-A.

Ranked the Pirates' No. 9 prospect by MLB Pipeline (and No. 14 by Baseball America), the 2018 first-round pick rewarded their confidence by hitting a leadoff home run on his way to a three-hit, two-RBI game in a 3-0 win over the Iowa Cubs on Tuesday night in Des Moines.

Swaggerty was one of a handful of Pirates prospects to make smashing debuts on the first Opening Night in the minor leagues since 2019, after the season was canceled last year due to the covid-19 pandemic.

—Roansy Contreras had a career-best 11 strikeouts in five scoreless innings, including a whiff of Baltimore Orioles top prospect Adley Rutschman, allowing five hits and no walks for the Double-A Altoona Curve in a 2-1 loss to the Bowie Baysox at Peoples Natural Gas Field.

The right-hander, ranked No. 13 by Baseball America and 20th by MLB Pipeline, was one of four players acquired from the New York Yankees in the Jameson Taillon trade in January.

—Second baseman Nick Gonzales doubled in his first at-bat, and Liover Peguero hit a three-run home run in the second inning, but righty Quinn Priester allowed six runs (three earned) on four hits, two walks and had a pair of wild pitches in the High-A Greensboro Grasshoppers' 7-5 loss to the Hickory Crawdads.

Gonzales was the Pirates' top pick (No. 7 overall) in the 2020 MLB Draft, and is ranked No. 2 by MLB Pipeline and No. 3 by Baseball America. Peguero was acquired from Arizona in the Starling Marte trade in January 2020, and is ranked the No. 5 prospect by both outlets. Priester, the Pirates' first-round pick in 2019, is ranked No. 3 by MLB Pipeline and No. 4 by Baseball America.

—Third baseman Alexander Mojica, an 18-year-old Dominican ranked No. 30 by MLB Pipeline, hit a two-run home run for the Low-A Bradenton Marauders in their 6-3 loss to the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels.

Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin by email at kgorman@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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