With questions of how deep the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system is we take a look at their top three pitching prospects under the age of 20.
It’s no secret the Pittsburgh Pirates don’t have the best starting rotation in the National League, and some would argue it’s a severe issue coming into the 2020 season. When it comes to hope for this organization, one must delve into the farm system, where there are several glimpses of hope for the future of this team. Most notably, the Pirates have some outstanding youngsters at the pitching position here; we will look at three.
Quinn Priester RHP
Quinn Priester is a very young pitcher at the age of 19 with excellent potential. Priester was selected by the Pirates with their 1st round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft.
Last season, Priester put up some encouraging numbers with a 3.03 ERA, 10.19 K/9, 2.96 xFIP, while only walking 2.76 per nine innings. In 78 at-bats against right-handed hitters, he did exceptionally well with a batting average of .167 while striking out 29 and only walking eight.
While Priester is a great prospect, there are things he needs to work on, most notably against left-handed batters. In 58 at-bats, left-handed hitters have a .328 batting average, and out of the ten extra base hits he has given up eight came against the lefties. Priester is ranked 7th overall on the Pirates prospect list and is estimated to get his call up in 2024.
Brennan Malone RHP
Righty Brennan Malone is one of the pieces the Pirates got in return from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for outfielder Starling Marte. When it comes to Malone, there is very little to go on as far as stats for the 19-year-old. While playing rookie ball for the D-Backs, Malone pitched just 7 innings striking out eight while walking five. Some of the stats that jump out for Malone are his opponent’s batting average on balls in play numbers with just a .222 and .000 average right-handed batters have against him.
The first-round pick’s fastball can consistently stay in the 95-97 MPH, and, before the draft, MLB Pipeline hailed it as one of the best in the draft. His curve ball is no slouch either with a 75 MPH pitch that virtually can drop off a table with good dip to it. Malone is ranked 8th in the Pirates organization, and like Priester is estimated to make it to the majors by 2024.
Santiago Florez RHP
The Pirates signed Santiago Florez in 2016 as an international free agent at the age of 16, where he was already throwing a 92 MPH fastball. Last year, while pitching for the Bristol Pirates, the 19-year-old had a strong season. In 41.2 innings pitched Florez had a 7.78 K/9, 4.54 BB/9, and an ERA of 3.46.
His splits against both right-handers and left-handers are relatively even with a slash line of .220/.330/.378 against righties and .233/.333/.315 against lefties. Another promising stat for Florez is his opponents batting average against of .267. He also allowed just 10 extra base hits, so opponents aren’t smashing his pitches either. Florez is currently ranked 18th with the Pirates and is estimated to make the Majors by 2021.