With the 31st overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft the Pittsburgh Pirates selected South Carolina right-handed pitcher Carmen Mlodzinski. Where does he fit in the Pirate farm system?
The Pittsburgh Pirates have now completed the first night of the MLB Draft. After getting a steal of a pick at 7th overall with Nick Gonzales, the team made another strong pick at number 31 overall. With this pick, the team selected University of South Carolina right-handed pitcher Carmen Mlodzinski.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic leading to the shutdown of college baseball, Mlodzinski owned a 2.84 ERA in 25.1 innings of work for South Carolina. He walked 8 batters, struck out 22 and allowed 3 home runs.
Mlodzinski also pitched in the Cape Cod League last season. Like Gonzales, he had a lot of success in the Cape Cod League. In 29.1 innings of work he walked just 4 batters, struck out 40, allowed just 1 home run, and posted a 2.45 ERA.
The 6-foot-2, 231 pound Mlodzinski possesses a fastball that sits in the 94-96 MPH range, and has touched 99 MPH. His fastball also has good natural sink and run to it. His main secondary pitch is a slider that sits in the 89-91 MPH range.
MLB Pipeline gives his fastball a 60 value and his slider a 55. His change up also gets a 55 grade from MLB Pipeline. While his change up remains a work in process, it appears to have the potential to join his fastball and slider as plus pitches.
A big reason Mlodzinski found success in the Cape Cod League was due to his improvement in control. After walking over 4.0 batters per 9 with South Carolina in 2019, those numbers improved immensely in the Code League. A big reason for this was Mlodzinski doing a better job of repeating his delivery and making it smoother.
Those improvements to his delivery was evident this spring before the season was shutdown. This combined with being healthy, he missed most of South Carolina’s 2019 season due to injury, led to the success he found before COVID struck.
The Pittsburgh Pirates farm system is short on pitching. This is part of the reason why Mlodzinski will likely become one of the team’s top pitching prospects. Mlodzinski will likely be the team’s third or fourth best pitching prospect, slotting behind Quinn Priester, and potentially some combination of Brennan Malone, Tahnaj Thomas and Cody Bolton.
In addition to becoming one of the team’s top pitching prospects, Mlodzinski should also have an opportunity to climb the Pirate farm system quickly. He brings a swagger and presence on the mound, and could be knocking on the MLB door in 2-3 years.