Pittsburgh Pirates: Projecting Top 5 Prospects at the End of 2021

(Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
(Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Pirates
SARASOTA, FLORIDA – MARCH 15: Quinn Priester #84 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws a pitch during the fifth inning against the Baltimore Orioles during a spring training game at Ed Smith Stadium on March 15, 2021 in Sarasota, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

Number 1 – Pitcher Quinn Priester

The first three prospects are completely interchangeable in my opinion, but I have Quinn Priester ranking as the team’s top prospect. The Pittsburgh Pirates’ first-round pick in 2019 Priester received seemingly never ending praise this offseason because of his work at instructional ball.

Priester went into 2020 unranked, but now is considered a top 50-60 prospect range by many sits. MLB Pipeline has him at #52 and FanGraphs puts him at #45. Priester saw massive improvements to his curveball which went from an offering with a 55-future grade to an offering with an 80-futue grade, which is the highest possible grade you can get for any tool. He also has a plus fastball that he can run up into the upper-90s, a slider and changeup that are projected to be average pitches at the very least.

Priester hasn’t pitched much professionally. However, in the very few innings he has thrown, he’s been impressive. In 36.2 innings in 2019, the right-hander had a 3.19 ERA, 2.83 FIP and 1.25 WHIP. He allowed just a single home run while having a healthy 25.8% strikeout rate, and 8.8% walk rate.

Priester will get a good long look in 2021. Given his improved ability, he’s easily a guy who could not only be the Pirates’ best prospect, but also be one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball.