Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Potential Rule 5 Draft Casualities

Mandatory Credit: MLB Photos via USA Today Sports
Mandatory Credit: MLB Photos via USA Today Sports /
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Pittsburgh Pirates
Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

Pitcher Tahnaj Thomas

Speaking of big arms who throw hard, we have Tahnaj Thomas. It was a surprise to many that the Pirates opted not to include Thomas on the 40-man roster. After all, he’s one of the team’s more notable pitching prospects and the Pirates could have made room for him on the roster.

Thomas struggled at High-A Greensboro. He only tossed 60.2 innings but yielded a poor 5.19 ERA, 6.46 FIP, and 1.58 WHIP. Thomas’ biggest struggle came with walks, which he surrendered at a 12.5% rate. Not only did he give up a lot of free passes, but he gave up a lot of long balls as well. He had a 1.93 HR/9. It also doesn’t help that he had a strikeout rate of just 22.1%.

But a lot of teams are going to look past those struggles and see his blazing fastball. Thomas regularly touches 100 MPH. He also has a strong breaking ball, that being a slider. He’ll occasionally throw a change-up, but it’s not considered a very good pitch. In the end, it’s likely going to be the development of said changeup that will determine his future as a starting pitcher or reliever. Thomas may project with 60-grade command, but currently only has 35-grade command.

I’d be very concerned about losing Thomas. He’s what teams like in Rule 5 picks. Since a team has nothing to lose, why not take a shot on the guy who throws 98-100 MPH? Guys like him go early in Rule 5 Drafts.

The Pittsburgh Pirates better hope the Rule 5 Draft gets postponed until next year or reworked where Thomas isn’t available because if it doesn’t, Thomas is probably going to get picked.