Pittsburgh Pirates: Brennan Malone is an Underrated Prospect
By Noah Wright
Though he does not rank as a top 100 prospect right now, Brennan Malone could be a very talented MLB pitcher in a few years for the Pittsburgh Pirates
What does Mackenzie Gore, Nate Pearson, two of the best prospects in all of baseball, Michael Kopech, Sam Howard, two more highly ranked prospects, have in common with Pittsburgh Pirates right handed pitching prospect, Brennan Malone? All of them have four pitches that project as average or better. But despite not ranking in the top 100 prospects, Malone is very talented, and could eventually find himself in the top 100 very soon.
Malone was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 1st round of the 2019 draft. Malone was seen as one of the best pitching prospects during the draft. He ranked as the 7th best pitching prospect, but the second best high school draft prospect. The top ranked high school pitcher per FanGraphs was Quinn Priester.
Malone was selected with the 33rd pick. He didn’t get very much professional playing time, pitching just 8 pro innings between Rookie-Ball and Low-A. He faced 33 batters, struck out eight of them, and walked five. During the 2019-2020 off season, he was sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates along with shortstop prospect Liover Peguero for Starling Marte.
But at 18-years-old, Malone’s fastball already sits in the mid-90s, and tops out at 99 MPH. Malone’s fastball also has 2300 RPM on it as well on average, which is around the MLB average as well. Malone has two breaking pitches. The first is his slider. It also has about 2300 RPM. His other pitch is his curveball.
The most impressive part is that his fastball is already considered an above average pitch with a current 55 grade. But it only has room for improvement with a future grade of 60. Both his breaking balls have a current of 50, but a future of 55. Though his change up has a current 40 grade, it has a future of 50.
At just 20-years-old, Malone has three current average or better pitches, but four total pitches that project to be average or better. But Malone can throw all of them where he wants to. Fangraphs pins his command as a 50 in the future.
Malone is still very young, but he is a very talented pitcher. In FanGraphs rankings, he is the Pirates’ 8th best prospect. But he has room to grow into an outstanding pitcher. Malone stands at a towering 6’5, 210 already, which projects him as a very powerful arm. Though Tahnaj Thomas, Mitch Keller and Priester get most of the attention as the Pirates’ best pitching prospects, Brennan Malone is a highly underrated pitcher who could develop into a fantastic #2 starter, or even better, by the time the Pirates are back in contention in 2023 or 2024.