Reliever Tyler Samaniego
One round later after the Pirates drafted Braylon Bishop, the Pirates picked up left-handed relief pitching prospect Tyler Samaniego. The southpaw is coming out of the University of Southern Alabama. During his final season, Samaniego posted a 4.08 ERA and poor 12.2% walk rate but punched out batters at a 36.4% pace while allowing just 1 home run in 17.2 innings of work.
Samaniego pitched a few innings with the Bradenton Marauders. He tallied 7 innings, allowing just a single earned run, struck out 15 of the 28 batters he faced, allowed just 2 walks, and one home run. Overall, he had a pretty good start to his pro career. He also had a 50% ground ball rate and 0.77 xFIP.
Samaniego works in the mid-to-upper-90’s. He also uses a slider to get outs. He has the typical relief pitcher repertoire, but the Pittsburgh Pirates haven’t had a consistently good lefty relief pitcher for a handful of seasons since another later-round draft pick, Tony Watson. Next year will be his age-23 campaign. Since he did well in his brief stint at Low-A he has a good chance to get things kicked off at High-A Greensboro, possibly even Double-A if the Pittsburgh Pirates feel aggressive.
Samaniego has late-inning arm written all over him. He might have been a late-round pick, but the Pirates could use another lefty reliever from within the system. Currently, their only lefty relievers are Sam Howard and Anthony Banda. Given his age, he’s a potential rookie reliever you could even see late into 2022 if he continues to perform anything as he did in his first taste of professional action.