Pittsburgh Pirates: Most Underrated Prospect Acquired This Offseason

ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 28: Boston Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington sits in the dugout prior to Game Five of the 2013 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals on October 28, 2013 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 28: Boston Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington sits in the dugout prior to Game Five of the 2013 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals on October 28, 2013 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /
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General manager Ben Cherington and the Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired a boatload of prospects this offseason. Many of the big names like Hudson Head, Miguel Yajure, Endy Rodriguez, and so on have gotten a fair amount of attention as they are talented prospects. However, one prospect he brought in gets glanced over more times than not despite being considered one of the Bucs’ top 10 prospects by MLB Pipeline. That prospect is right-handed pitcher Eddy Yean.

The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Yean as the headliner when they sent Josh Bell to the Washington Nationals. He was packaged along with Wil Crowe going to Pittsburgh. The Bell trade as a whole was overlooked as just five days after the trade, the San Diego Padres made two massive splashes in the trade market acquiring top of the line arms Blake Snell from the Tampa Bay Rays and Yu Darvish from the Chicago Cubs.

Yean was signed out of the Dominican Republic in the 2017-2018 international free agent period. In his debut season, Yean tossed 43.2 innings with the Nationals’ Dominican Summer League affiliate. While Yean struggled with a 5.98 ERA, 4.17 FIP and 1.83 WHIP, he allowed just a single home run while posting a 50.7% ground ball rate.

While Yean’s 2018 season wasn’t the best, he did well when he was moved to Rookie-Ball. He pitched 35.1 innings at the Gulf Coast League while having a solid 3.82 ERA, 3.85 FIP and 1.18 WHIP. Yean saw his strikeout rate go from 15.5% to 24.7% while his walk rate dropped from 11.1% to just 8.2%. Yean made his way to Low-A where he only threw 11 innings, but allowed just three earned runs on just seven hits and no home runs.

Yean has flashed a good amount of potential so far. The right-hander uses three pitches. First is his four-seam fastball. He usually sits in the mid-90 MPH range with this pitch, but has consistently been able to get it into the upper-90s. Both MLB Pipeline and FanGraphs see this as a pitch that has 60-grade potential.

Yean’s primary breaking pitch is a slider. This pitch is another offering that is seen as an above average option for Yean. Like his fastball, both MLB Pipeline and FanGraphs see this as a 55-grade pitch. His third pitch is a change up. This is a third offering that is seen a potential 55-grade pitch by both sources. Overall, he has solid control with a 50-future command grade and 50 control grade.

As was mentioned above, MLB Pipeline ranks Yean as one of the 10 best prospects the Pittsburgh Pirates have. According to FanGraphs, he’s one of three pitchers in the Pirate system who possesses three different pitches that project as at least a 55-grade or better. The other two being Quinn Priester, who is quickly become one of the most highly touted pitching prospects in baseball, and Brennan Malone, another fairly underrated Pirate prospect, who was a first-round pick in 2019.

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Yean may not be getting the most attention, but he’s definitely a pitcher to keep an eye on. He has a lot of talent and 3 plus pitches. Even if he never blossoms into an ace-caliber right-hander, he could still be a valuabe piece of the Pirate staff in a few seasons.

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