8. Brennan Malone
Last offseason, the Pittsburgh Pirates traded longtime outfielder Starling Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Although he wasn’t the centerpiece of the deal heading back to Pittsburgh, right handed pitcher Brennan Malone is still a strong prospect.
Malone was drafted out of IMG Academy in Florida. Going into the draft, FanGraphs ranked the right hander as the 23rd best draft prospect, and MLB Pipeline ranked him at the 20th spot. However, both sources ranked him as the 6th best right handed player available in the draft.
Despite being ranked in the top 20-25 draft prospects and being ranked as one of the best high school arms available, Malone was selected with the 33rd overall pick in the draft due to signing bonus concerns. However, Malone might be one of the most underrated prospects the Pittsburgh Pirates have.
The big right hander, who stands at 6’4, 205 pounds, has a big fastball. Though it sits in the 92-96 MPH range, he’s been clocked at 99 MPH before. With 2300 RPM on it, the pitch is seen as one that could be elite. FanGraphs gives it a future of 60, but MLB Pipeline gives it an even better 65 grade.
His slider is another pitch with elite potential. It also has 2300 RPM, and FanGraphs gives it a 55 future. However both MLB Pipeline and Baseball Prospectus are in agreement that it could be another 60-grade pitch.
His third offering is a curveball. According to Prospectus, it has very good 12-6 movement. FanGraphs gives it a 55 future grade. It sits in the mid-70 MPH range, which makes it a nice change of pace for Malone. As for his fourth pitch, he will occasionally throw a change up, but make no mistake, it’s not a pitch to be slept on. Fangraphs gives it a 50 future grade, as well as Pipeline. What makes it even better is that he can control all of them with a 50 future command grade.
With four average or better pitches that he has relatively good control over, Malone has the stuff to be an ace. Very few pitchers have three average plus pitches, but Malone has four. He can go to any of his options at any time, and with solid speed differentials, he has the ability to get a lot of swings and misses.