Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Best Pitching Tools
By Noah Wright
Control and Command – Steve Jennings
MLB Pipeline: 55
FanGraphs (Command): 45, future 60
Right-handed pitcher Steve Jennings was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2nd round of the 2017 MLB Draft. The 21-year-old Jennings is ranked as the team’s 17th best prospect on MLB Pipeline and 23rd best prospect according to FanGraphs.
Jennings has not done anything all that impressive yet in the minors, but 2019 was his best season so far. At Low-A Greensboro, Jennings accumulated 130 innings, and posted a 4.71 ERA, 4.23 FIP and a 1.33 WHIP. Both his FIP and WHIP are career bests so far in his young career.
Jennings has a four pitch mix that includes a fastball, curveball, slider and change up. His best pitch is his slider, grading out as a 50 with a future of 55, but the other three pitches grade as average to below average according to both MLB Pipeline and FanGraphs. While he is not projected to be any sort of ace, he will provide solid results as a durable workhorse kind of pitcher. Akin to something of an Ivan Nova or Mike Leake.
In terms of overall control, he hasn’t really flashed that yet. Last year, he posted a 7.1% walk rate and a 2.7 BB/9. While those are still solid numbers, and career bests, they are not super impressive. Guys like J.T. Brubaker and Pedro Vasquez have posted overall similar control numbers, but with better results.