Right-Handed Pitcher: Bubba Chandler
The Pittsburgh Pirates got a huge steal by drafting Bubba Chandler in the third round of the 2021 draft. He’s the third player that has shown up from this draft on my under-20 prospect team and isn’t the last. Chandler was arguably a top 20 pick, but the Pirates got him at #72, but for a huge overslot signing bonus. He’s probably the best prospect we’ll talk about today.
So why was Chandler projected to go so early, but fell so far? Well, he was a two-way star coming out of high school but committed to play football at Clemson. Had it not been for such a commitment, he would have gone where he was projected to go. Chandler was one of the top high school shortstops and top pitching prospects available, making him a high-end draft prospect.
Chandler currently throws in the 92-95 MPH range and has topped out at 97 MPH. Both FanGraphs and Pipeline see it as a 60-grade offering. His primary breaking ball is a high-70’s curveball, another pitch that both prospect ranking sources see as an above average, 55-grade pitch. But he’ll also throw a slider that comes in the mid-80’s, and change-up. They’re both projected as average offerings. Not only are all of his offerings projected to be average, at the very least, but all have distinctive speeds. It also helps he has been praised for solid command.
As a position player, he’s a highly athletic infielder with some power. He’s a plus fielder at shortstop with a strong arm (a strong arm for a two-way player shouldn’t be a massive surprise). He also has plus speed and a 50-grade hit tool. The only knock on him is that his hit tool is on the fringy side. However even if he becomes a league-average batter who can provide 15-18 home runs a season, All-Star level pitching, and plus defender in the infield, he’d be more than worth the money they gave him.