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
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) /

Eddy Yean

Seen as the headliner of the Josh Bell swap, Eddy Yean has a high ceiling and was buried under the number of pitching prospects that were added to the farm system after his acquisition. Yean had an extremely rough start to the 2021 season, which buried him even further down the list. But his surface numbers don’t tell the full story.

Yean pitched 66.2 innings at Bradenton, posting a 5.27 ERA, FIP, and 1.43 WHIP. While the right-hander had a 13.2% walk rate, he posted a solid 23.3% strikeout rate and 1.08 HR/9. Yean induced ground balls at a phenomenal 52.6% rate. But of his 39 earned runs he surrendered, 10 came in just one whole inning between May 5th and August 8th. Outside of these two extremely poor outings, he has a solid 3.97 ERA. His walk rate goes from above 12% to 11.3%, but his strikeout rate rose to 24% and HR/9 to 0.96.

Yean was clocked around 91-94 MPH before the trade, but he was in the mid-to-upper-90’s this season. He already had above-average spin, so he likely added more based on the velo increase. His fastball projects as a 60-grade offering. His slider is also considered a pitch with plus potential. He throws a hard slider, averaging around 88-91 MPH. FanGraphs sees it as a 55-projected pitch. Finally, there’s his changeup, which is a third pitch that FanGraphs sees as above average.

While Yean needs to improve his command, he’s still fairly young. 2022 will only be his age-21 season. The former National prospect has the stuff to be a quality pitcher. He’s a raw talent, but if the Pittsburgh Pirates can refine that talent, there’s a pretty decent pitcher within Yean.