Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Player to Watch at Each Level in 2022

BRADENTON, FLORIDA - MARCH 22: A detail of the 2021 MLB Grapefruit league logo during a spring training game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Baltimore Orioles on March 22, 2021 at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
BRADENTON, FLORIDA - MARCH 22: A detail of the 2021 MLB Grapefruit league logo during a spring training game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Baltimore Orioles on March 22, 2021 at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Pirates
PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 15: Yoshi Tsutsugo #32 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws a ball into the stands in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds during the game at PNC Park on September 15, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Puerto Rican MLB players and staff are being given the option of wearing #21 in honor of Roberto Clemente Day. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

High-A: Pitcher Drake Fellows

When the Pittsburgh Pirates traded Joe Musgrove to the San Diego Padres they received five prospects in return. The forgotten man of the trade was Drake Fellows. After all, with Rodriguez winning Low-A Player of the Year, David Bednar having a phenomenal rookie campaign and even receiving some NL Rookie of the Year votes, Hudson Head still being one of their top outfield prospects, and Omar Cruz being considered a near-MLB ready commodity, it’s easy to overlook Fellows.

Fellows was injured for most of last season. He pitched just 11.2 innings between Rookie-Ball and Low-A. Fellows has the talent to be a solid major league pitcher. The right-hander attended Vanderbilt, where he pitched 275.2 innings. Overall, he was a solid arm with a 3.85 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. He had solid peripherals as well. He struck out 26.1% of batters faced, 8.4% walk rate, and .82 HR/9. While he didn’t overperform in one area, there was nothing he struggled with either.

The right-hander throws a sinking fastball in the low-90’s but struggles with command with the offering. His slider is his best pitch with plus-plus potential. But his changeup is just average at best.

That puts his future as a starting pitcher into question. If he can improve his command, the chances he can remain as a starter increase. Still, he’ll get an opportunity to start regularly at High-A Greensboro. He’s one of the pitchers in the Pirate system who will get a chance to play regularly after being injured most of last year.

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