Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Rum Bunter’s Top 5 Pitching Prospects

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Pittsburgh Pirates
MINNEAPOLIS, MN- AUGUST 15: A Pittsburgh Pirates hat on the dugout steps against the Minnesota Twins on August 15, 2018 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Pirates 6-4. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** /

Number 5: Brennan Malone

Coming in at our #5 spot is Brennan Malone. Seen as one of the top high school players in the 2019 draft, the Arizona Diamondbacks selected the right-hander with the 33rd overall selection. Though he was picked at #33, he could have gone within the top 20 picks. MLB Pipeline had him as the 20th best prospect available while FanGraphs had him at 23. Part of the reason he fell a few picks was his commitment to North Carolina.

In the 2019-2020 offseason, Malone, alongside top shortstop prospect, Liover Peguero was sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates as part of the Starling Marte deal. Malone has a strong four-pitch mix. His four-seam fastball already can get into the upper-90’s, sitting around 95-97 MPH. He’s shown decent durability and stamina as he can maintain that kind of velocity throughout a game. FanGraphs sees it as a 60-grade offering in the future while MLB Pipeline gives it an even better 65-grade.

His best breaking ball is his slider. MLB Pipeline considers it his put-away pitch. Just look at the movement on the pitch. No wonder MLB Pipeline considers it another offering with 60-grade potential and FanGraphs gives it a 55-grade:

His curveball has 11-5 movement, which while not as good as his slider, is still a pitch with above-average potential. FanGraphs gives it a 55-grade, giving him 3 offerings with plus or better potential by their measurements. He’ll also throw a changeup. However, at the very least, it projects as an average offering. Four average or better offerings make Malone’s ceiling very high. While he isn’t a control-freak kind of pitcher, he does have a good feel for all his offerings and projects to have average command.

Malone hasn’t thrown much yet, but he’s also just 20-years-old. He’ll turn 21 in early September. The prospect already has a strong 6’4″, 205-pound frame. He’s got a few years to go before reaching the major leagues, but he has the tools to be a #2 or even #1 pitcher.