Pittsburgh Pirates: Previewing High-A Greensboro’s Potential Starting Rotation

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Pittsburgh Pirates
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Brennan Malone

Acquired as one of the two players in the Starling Marte trade, Brennan Malone is also a very highly talented arm in the system, and he and Jones both have two of the highest ceilings in the minors. But Malone has yet to pitch much since there was no 2020 minor league season and was injured for most of 2021.

But injuries haven’t limited his potential, at least not yet. Malone was a first-round pick from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2019 draft, and he was considered a top 25 draft prospect going into the draft and the second-best high school arm available. However, he went 31st overall because of his commitment to North Carolina and signed for over slot value, going for $2,202,200.

Malone has a four-pitch mix with all offerings projected to average or better. He can run his four-seamer into the mid-to-upper 90’s and has hit 99 MPH before. Right now, he also has averaged out around 2300 RPM. By the time he reaches the majors, he could be hitting around 95-97 MPH with 2350-2450 RPM, which FanGraphs projects to be 60-grade.

He throws both a slider and curveball, both of which are 55-grade offerings, as well as a change-up. He has a floor of a mid-rotation starting pitcher, but his ceiling is a high-end no. 2 starter. He was a first-round pick for a reason.

Malone is still young as this will be his age-21 season, and that’s a very reasonable age to start the year at High-A Greensboro. He could see some time at Low-A Bradenton, but starting him at Greensboro is very possible given his talent and age.