The Pirates new regime has looked to bolster the Pirates pitching depth and has targeted right handed pitching. However, the old regime left them with a prospect who looks ready to breakout.
The Pittsburgh Pirates old regime saw former top prospects Gerrit Cole and Tyler Glasnow leave and pitch better elsewhere along with Mitch Keller struggle at the Major League level. The new regime has added a lot of right handed pitchers, with the top arm being Brennan Malone, acquired in the Starling Marte trade. The best pitching prospect in the system appears, however, to be a hold over from the Neal Huntington era as Ben Cherington and company will look to tap into his talents a little more.
Quinn Priester was a first round pick out of high school in 2019, the last first round pick of the Neal Huntington era. The 6’3″ right hander was considered one of the top prep arms in the draft. Priester was a really good athlete, playing both wide receiver and defensive back in high school and was committed to Texas Christian University to play baseball. He touched 97 and threw what looked to be a plus curveball and a developing changeup.
After being praised on the MLB Pipeline podcast, Priester was named as a breakout candidate. Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo at MLB Pipeline wrote an article examining the top breakout prospect candidates for each team. For Priester, they wrote:
“The Pirates’ first-round pick in 2019 pitched well enough in the Gulf Coast League during his pro debut to earn a late bump up to the Short Season New York-Penn League. This summer, he was a late attendee to the alternate training site in Altoona, but was one of the most impressive pitchers there once he arrived. He continued that good work at instructs, where he was averaging 97 mph with his fastball while showing his usual good feel for pitching.”
This is good news as the Pirates need to continue to develop their pitching, something they’ve struggled with . Priester looks to be one of their top arms who pitched really well both in Altoona for summer camp and in Florida for instructs. Instead of touching 97, Priester is now throwing 97 and continues to show a potential plus curveball and changeup.
Neal Huntington’s last pick was a right handed pitcher and Ben Cherington has stockpiled arms ever since taking over. Huntington’s last pick in Priester looks to have been a good pick, as Chertington should be able to better help the development. There’s a good chance that Priester breaks out in 2021 and he should be on top 100 lists to start the season.