Pittsburgh Pirates: Projecting the 2022 Mid-Season Rotation

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 14: Miguel Yajure #89 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park on May 14, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 14: Miguel Yajure #89 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park on May 14, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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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) /

Carmen Mlodzinski

The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Carmen Mlodzinski in the 2020 MLB Draft. Mlodzinski was a competitive balance pick and the team selected him #31 overall. The right-hander had a solid season at High-A Greensboro but ended the campaign at Triple-A Indianapolis. The new regime seems to be more willing and more aggressive in promoting their higher-end prospects. So seeing Mlodzinski skip Double-A completely is 100% plausible.

Last season Mlodzinski pitched 50.1 innings at Greensboro, posting a 3.93 ERA, 4.34 FIP, and 1.29 WHIP. Mlodzinski struck out nearly a third of all the batters he faced, posting a 30% strikeout rate on the dot. Plus he had a solid 9.3% walk rate. However, home runs were a bit of an issue for him. His surface numbers look a bit weak, but about 18% of his earned runs all came from one outing. Outside of a 4 ER, 1 inning game, 3.28 ERA. Mlodzinski had a 4.00 xFIP, mainly because of a solid 31.7% fly ball rate and 42.9% ground ball rate.

Mlodzinski has a four-pitch mix. His four-seam fastball has sinking action, but he can run it up into the mid-to-upper 90’s. His breaking ball is a slider that averages out around the low-80’s. Others see it as a cutter. Regardless, his breaking pitch is considered a second above-average offering. Finally, there’s his changeup which he has a good feel for with good sink.

With three above-average pitches, four if you want to count his slider/cutter as two offerings, Mlodzinski has the potential to be a long-term high-end arm for the Pittsburgh Pirates. They didn’t choose him in the first round for nothing. Mlodzinski could be a no. 2 type starter for the Pirates long-term.