The Pittsburgh Pirates recently completed a multiplayer trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three player trade. One of those players coming to the Bucs is a pitcher.
Last year, the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted right-handed prep pitcher Quinn Priester with the 18th overall pick. He ended up being the top high school pitcher taken in the draft even though there was a couple of other prep pitcher rated around the same as him. The Bucs are also getting another highly rated pitcher from the 2019 draft class.
One of the pieces coming back in the Starling Marte trade is right-handed pitching prospect, Brennan Malone. Malone was a potential first-round pick last year as he was rated the 20th best prospect in last year’s draft and the third-best prep pitcher in the class. He slid to pick 33 because teams thought he had a hard commitment to the University of North Carolina. Instead, he signed for his full slot amount of $2.02 million.
It is easy to see why there is excitement about Malone. He is ultra projectable standing at 6’4” and weighing 200 pounds. His fastball is projected to be a 65 grade and already hits as high as 97 miles per hour. He also has a plus slider and a curveball that helps throw off the timing of hitters. His slider looks to be a plus-out pitch that will generate a lot of swings and misses. As with most young pitchers, his changeup is a work in progress. Here is more from MLB Pipeline on Malone:
"“After starting the spring looking like the thrower he was over the summer, he’s made strides toward being a more complete pitcher with improved command. Given his athleticism and easy arm action, it’s easy to see him as a future right-handed power starting pitcher.”"
Malone made his professional début last year in Short-Season ball. He only threw eight innings and posted a 4.50 ERA along with seven strikeouts and five walks. Obviously, this is a pretty small sample size and it is hard to really judge his performance. He did do a good job of limiting base hits, only giving up four hits across his eight innings.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have one of the best farm systems in baseball. Already, Malone ranked ninth on their list and will likely be pushing for a top six or seven spot in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. While he is a few years away, Malone will now be able to join fellow 2019 prep pitch Quinn Priester to make an impressive up and coming one-two punch.