Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Best Pitching Tools

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MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – SEPTEMBER 21: A detail view of a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball cap and a Rawlings baseball glove during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on September 21, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – SEPTEMBER 21: A detail view of a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball cap and a Rawlings baseball glove during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on September 21, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

Fastball – Tahnaj Thomas

MLB Pipeline: 60

FanGraphs: 60, future 70

Acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Indians in the Jordan Luplow trade, Tahnaj Thomas has the best fastball in the Pirates minor league system. Although, Thomas usually does not throw it for an overwhelming amount of velocity, with it averaging out in the mid-90s, he can crank it into the high-90s when he needs to. Thomas can give the pitch some movement as well, especially up high.

Thomas’ fastball helped him breakout last season. The top prospect (ranked as the 77th best prospect by FanGraphs) pitched in 48.1 innings in Bristol Rookie Ball. The former Indians prospect struck out 59 batters and walked just 14, resulting in a strong 4.21 K/BB ratio and a 7% walk rate. That walk rate is nearly half of what it was in previous seasons. He also posted strong overall numbers including a 3.17 ERA and a 3.67 FIP. Thomas already possesses a plus curveball as part of his arsenal, and he is working on his change up. However, his change up does not grade nearly as high.

Currently, Thomas is a starter, but could eventually end up in the bullpen if his change up doesn’t develop.

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