Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects Who Will Benefit From a Full 2022 Season

U-32 senior Owen Kellington fires a pitch vs. Lamoille in East Montpelier on Tuesday, May 18, 2021.Bur Owen Kellington U32 Baseball 6
U-32 senior Owen Kellington fires a pitch vs. Lamoille in East Montpelier on Tuesday, May 18, 2021.Bur Owen Kellington U32 Baseball 6 /
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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) /

Right-handed pitcher Brennan Malone

When the Pittsburgh Pirates traded Starling Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks, they knew they were getting some very talented prospects back. Obviously, Liover Peguero has become one of the minor league’s best shortstop prospects. But the other piece, right-handed pitcher Brennan Malone, faced injuries and was kept to just 14 innings this season. Even though he’s yet to pitch very much in his professional career, the former first round selection still has the talent to be a top of the line pitcher.

Still, you can’t deny that Malone has talent. Entering into the 2019 draft he was considered one of the best high school arms available, along with Quinn Priester. Malone went in the first round and 33rd overall, but many saw him going around 20-25. A college commitment to North Carolina do a double-take, which led to him falling to the D-Backs at #33.

Malone has a big fastball, one that can reach into the upper-90’s. He’s topped out at 99 MPH. With plus spin (2300 RPM) FanGraphs considers it a 60-grade offering in the future. His slider also has a ton of potential, teetering on a projected 55-grade to 60-grade. He also throws a curveball that FanGraphs sees as another 55-grade offering. Finally, he’ll throw a change-up, but even that is considered a good offering for the young right-hander. FanGraphs projects it at a 50-grade, giving him four offerings that project as average or better. Two that could be considered 60-grade pitches, which reaches into elite territory.

Malone has just 21 professional innings under his belt. He’s still young as 2022 will be his age-21 season, so he has time before the Pirates have to start worrying. But you deny that with talent as good as Malone has, a full, healthy campaign could do wonders for the young right-hander.

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