Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Do Not Forget About Brennan Malone


Pittsburgh Pirates right-handed pitching prospect Brennan Malone is one of the less talked about but more talented arms in the team’s farm system

One of the deepest parts of the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system is their young pitching. You’ve seen plenty of coverage on guys like Quinn Priester, Roansy Contreras, Miguel Yajure, Tahnaj Thomas, and Carmen Mlodzinski. Plus now with their high school picks from the past 2 drafts including Anthony Solometo, Bubba Chandler, Jared Jones, Owen Kellington, as well as their international signings and prospects acquired in trades, they have a ton of noteworthy pitching prospects.

But one that got swept under the rug throughout the 2021 season was Brennan Malone. Malone missed most of the 2021 season, pitching just 14 innings in total, but he’s definitely a name that you should keep in mind when looking at the Pirate farm system.

Malone was originally a first-round pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2019. Ranked as a top 25 pick by FanGraphs and MLB Pipeline, the right-hander was up there with Quinn Priester as the top prep arms available. Malone ended up going #33 overall. This was mainly because of his commitment to North Carolina.

Malone only pitched 8 innings with the D-Backs before being traded in the 2019-2020 offseason to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was the second piece (along with Liover Peguero) going to the Pirates in exchange for outfielder Starling Marte. The name from that trade everyone talks about is Peguero, and rightfully so. He’s been one of baseball’s fastest-rising prospects and is now considered a consensus top 100 prospect, as well as one of the better shortstop prospects in the sport. But Brennan Malone seems to slip many people’s minds as still, a very high-ceiling prospect.

Malone has a fastball that currently averages out in the mid-to-upper-90 MPH range. He’s even topped out at 99 MPH. It’s an offering that has 60-grade potential. His slider is another offering that some see as a 60-grade pitch in the future. At the very worst, it’s still an above-average, 55-projected. His curveball is another above-average breaking ball, coming in with a 55-grade. His change-up, while not his best pitch, is a fourth offering with average potential.

Not every pitcher can say they have four offerings that are considered to be average or better, let alone two that are considered in the 60-elite range. Plus he has command that projects as average. With that arsenal, he doesn’t need perfect control to be effective.

This season Malone pitched 10.2 of his innings at the Complex League where he did allow 6 earned runs but did it while striking out 14 batters and allowing a single home run with a phenomenal 61.1% ground ball rate. Small sample size yes, but a 3.46 xFIP, as well as his strong ability to keep the ball in the yard and get a bunch of swings-and-misses is more reflective of what he is capable of than his ERA.

Two Pirate Prospects Named Florida Complex League All-Stars. dark. Next

Brennan Malone might not be the most popular name in the Pirates’ system, but he has a high ceiling and has been a culprit of some bad injury luck. If Malone can stay healthy during the 2022 season, which would only be his age-21 campaign, he could possibly skyrocket through the rankings, akin to Contreras in 2021.