Thursday evening the Bradenton Marauders, the Low-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, received a strong start from 20-year-old right-handed pitcher Santiago Florez
This has become sort of a routine lately of me giving you the top Pirate minor league performer of the night. The past two have highlighted Roansy Contreras and Tahnaj Thomas. On Thursday night, another pitching prospect shined for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
This prospect is 6-foot-5, 20-year-old Columbian righty Santiago Florez. Now, flashback to when I first started writing about prospects. I had no idea who he was until former Pirate minor league pitching coach Eric Minshall turned me on to him as being something special. At the time Minshall was Florez’s pitching coach with the Bristol Pirates.
Minshall told me this kid “WILL be a big leaguer. He’s a young, tall RHP with plus velo and movement profiles. He adapts quickly, with great leverage, along with learning to get outs, not just strikeouts. He’s a leader in the clubhouse and the ultimate competitor.” I mean, who wouldn’t be excited after hearing that from his former pitching coach?!
Fast forward to Thursday’s outing, which was his first outing of the year, and he dominated the opposing batters. Florez allowed just 1 hit while striking out 7 batters and issuing zero walks in 4 scoreless innings of work. His fastball sat around 91-92, and it topped out around 94 MPH. There were a few times where Florez challenged up in the zone with a 94 MPH fastball, and hitters didn’t know what to do with it, ending in strikeouts.
No strikeout was more impressive to me than the final out of the 3rd inning. Florez is in a 2-2 count, and instead of challenging with a fastball, he gives the batter a nasty backdoor slider to strike him out looking. He didn’t know whether to cry or run home to his momma. Florez’s slider and curveball are both plus pitches, and he just seemed to outmatch the opposing hitters on Thursday.
Link to the strikeout is here
To have such a young pitcher look so in control regardless of what level he is at is nothing short of promising. It gives this young Pittsburgh Pirates fan hope of what he will do not just in his next start but also in the future.
Other Notable Performances
Braxton Ashcraft – 3.0 IP, 1 Hit, 0 ERs, 1 BB, 3 Ks
Nick Garcia – 3.0 IP, 1 Hit, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks
Steven Jennings – 2.0 IP, 0 Hits, 0 ER’s, 2 BBs, and 4 Ks
Liover Peguero – 2-4 with 2 stolen bases
Lolo Sanchez – 1-4 with a walk-off 2-run homer
Matt Gorski – 2-4 with an RBI
Jared Triolo – 1-3 with 2 RBIs
Mason Martin – 2-4 with an RBI
Cannan Smith-Njigba – 2-4 with an RBI