Pittsburgh Pirates: Five Former Late Round Draft Picks to Watch

Jul 27, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Braylon Bishop who was the Pirates 14th round pick in the 2021 first year player draft looks on before the Pirates play the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 27, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Braylon Bishop who was the Pirates 14th round pick in the 2021 first year player draft looks on before the Pirates play the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park. 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) /

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.

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