Pittsburgh Pirates: Six Overlooked Pitching Prospects

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Pirates
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – AUGUST 09: A Pittsburgh Pirates hat, glove and bat sit in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 9, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Drake Fellows

The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired the right-handed Drake Fellows in the trade that sent Joe Musgrove to the San Diego Padres. Fellows is the forgotten man in the trade, though that’s understandable given how David Bednar did in his rookie season, Endy Rodriguez and Omar Cruz did throughout the minor leagues, and Hudson Head still being an extremely high-ceiling outfield prospect.

Fellows was a  6th round pick by the Padres in 2019. Coming into the draft, the starter was one of Vanderbilt’s more noteworthy starting pitchers. During his final season at Vandy, Fellows had a 4.09 ERA in 116.2 innings, but he struck out 25.8% of batters faced and allowed home runs at a strong 0.69-per-9 rate. His 9.1% walk rate isn’t great, but it isn’t horrible either.

Fellows throws three different offerings. He isn’t all that hard of a thrower, only averaging around 90-94 MPH with his four-seamer. He throws a slider that comes in around the low-80s, as well as a change-up that he has the feel for, but needs more refinement. According to FanGraphs, all three of his offerings have plus potential. He also has a strong, 6’5″, 216-pound frame. Though they also state that he needs to get his command in check to find success.

The pitching prospect missed a good portion of the 2021 season due to injury. He did pitch 11.2 innings, struggling as he gave up more free passes (10) than batters struck out (9). He may not be the highest ceiling in the organization, but he’s a guy who could be a sold #3 starting pitcher if he can get his stuff under control.