MLB Pipeline’s most recent podcast brought up Pittsburgh Pirates pitching prospect and 2019 first-round pick Quinn Priester as a breakout candidate for 2021
In MLB Pipeline’s most recent podcast Jonathan Mayo identified Pittsburgh Pirates 2019 first-round pick Quinn Priester as a breakout prospect to keep an eye on during the 2021 season. Mayo stated that Priester has an “exciting combination stuff and size projectability, better feel for pitching than you may think for a guy from high school and a cold weather state [Illinois]”.
Mayo also brought up that with no minor league season Priester worked out at the Bucs’ alternative training site in the last few weeks of the season, stating that he would have picked the right hander to be the best pitcher at their camp had he started the year out at the site. During instructionals, Mayo said that Priester was absolutley dominant. Even scouts from other teams told Mayo that he’s become stronger, throwing harder and definitley a pitcher to watch. He even goes as far to say that Priester could be the best pitching prospect in baseball and has top of the rotation like stuff with three plus pitches.
The Pittsburgh Pirates picked Priester out of Cary-Grove High School in Illinois. During 2019, Priester was ranked as one of the top high school players in the draft. MLB Pipeline ranked him as the 19th best prospect avaiable and FanGraphs placed him at 17th. Among the pitching prospects avaiable, Pipeline ranked him as the seventh best arm and FanGraphs had him at number three. Among all high school prospects entering the draft, Perfect Game had Priester at number seven and the third best pitcher with Daniel Espino and Brennan Malone ranked ahead of him.
After Priester was drafted the young right hander put up fantastic numbers in 36.2 innings between Rookie-Ball and Low-A. All told, he had a 3.19 ERA, 2.83 FIP and 1.22 WHIP. He posted a solid 8.8% walk rate and a strong 25.8% strikeout rate while allowing just a single home run.
Currently, FanGraphs ranks Priester as the Pirates’ second best pitching prospect, only out-done by Tahnaj Thomas, and their seventh best prospect overall. Meanwhile, Pipeline has Priester as the best pitching prospect the Pittsburgh Pirates have and their fourth best prospect throughout the system.
FanGraphs sees all three of Priester’s pitches as above average with his fastball sitting with a future 60 grade and his curveball and change up with future 55 grades. He works in the mid-90s, averaging out in the 91-95 MPH range but can reach 97 MPH. He also has a two-seam fastball which he gets plenty of ground balls with. He also puts a good amount of spin on his curveball averaging 2500 RPM. His change up is seen as the worst of all of his pitches, but mainly because he hasn’t used it very often. However, he does have a good feel for it. Priester also has plus command with a future 55 grade.
It’s easy to see why Priester is such a highly touted prospect by many evaluators. He has three pitches that are above average and a fourth pitch he has a good feel for. His 6’3″, 195 pound frame is another reason to look forward to him as, like Mayo said, he’s very projectable. Priester showed great improvement at the alternative site which bodes well for his future. If he pitches as well as he did to batters at the alternate site, then he should easily appear as a top 50 prospect, if not higher, across the board by the end of 2021.