Following a strong season at the High-A level in 2021 right-handed pitcher Quinn Priester continues to look like the future ace of the Pittsburgh Pirates
The final first-round draft pick Neal Huntington made as the general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates was right-handed pitcher Quinn Priester. Huntington and the Pirates selected Priester with the 18th overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, a draft in which many viewed Priester as the top prep pitcher.
FanGraphs ranks Priester as the 2nd best prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system and the 35th best prospect in all of baseball. FanGraphs gives Priester a future value of 50, which means they project Priester as a future top of the rotation starting pitcher.
During the 2021 season Priester showed why he is such a highly touted prospect. Priester made 20 starts for the High-A Greensboro Grasshoppers, logging 97.2 innings of work during the 2021 season.
Priester posted a 3.04 ERA and a 4.08 FIP for the Grasshoppers. He allowed just 8 home runs (0.74 HR/9), while striking out 24.1% of batters faced. The lone area Priester even somewhat struggled in 2021 was with his control as he walked 9.6% of batters faced.
Opposing batters hit line drives off of Priester at just a 20.7% rate. Priester induced ground balls at a healthy 54.7% rate, while allowing fly balls at just a 24.9% rate. It goes without saying that limiting fly balls is a great way to limit home runs.
This spring Priester will likely get an invite to MLB camp in Bradenton. While he will not make the Opening Day roster, this will still be a great opportunity for Priester to be able to get work in with the Major League coaching staff.
When Spring Training ends Priester will likely find himself with the Double-A Altoona Curve. Priester will be just 21-years-old when the 2022 season begins, but as the Pittsburgh Pirates saw with Roansy Contreras in 2021 a 21-year-old pitcher can find plenty of success at the Double-A level if they have elite stuff, which Priester most certainly does.
There is a real chance that, barring him dominating, the Pirates could look to keep Priester at the Double-A level throughout the season. If he would dominate, however, they could look to get him to the Triple-A level by the end of the season. Either way, if Priester continues to progress the way he has he should be on track to make his MLB debut at some point during the 2023 season.