Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Underrated Pitchers to Watch

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Pirates
PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 20: A New Era pillbox Pittsburgh Pirates baseball hat is seen in the dugout during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park on July 20, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Left-handed pitcher Omar Cruz

The Pittsburgh Pirates a queried Omar Cruz in the Joe Msugrove trade this past offseason. Cruz started the season with High-A Greensboro and has since been promoted to Double-A Altoona. At both levels, Cruz has pitched well this season.

Cruz posted a 3.45 ERA, 4.71 FIP, 11.9% walk rate, 32.2% strikeout rate and a home run rate of 1.26 HR/9 in 28.2 innings pitched across 7 innings at High-A this season. With Double-A Altoona, Cruz posted a 3.41 ERA, 4.27 FIP, 7.4% walk rate, 18.45 strikeout rate and a home run rate of 0.74 HR/9. While Cruz’s strikeouts have dropped at the Double-A level, his walk and home run rates have both improved.

With a strong month o September Cruz could set himself up to start the 2022 season with Triple-A Indianapolis. At worst, he should once again be with Double-A Altoona to start the season with a promotion to Triple-A looming.

This offseason Cruz is Rule 5 Draft eligible. He appears to be a slam dunk to be added to the 40-man roster of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Assuming this happens, with a strong start to the 2022 season Cruz should be set up to make his MLB debut at some point during the season.