Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Three Young Pitchers to Watch in 2022

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Pittsburgh Pirates
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Andy Maldonado

Andy Maldonado signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2018, alongside Carlos Jimenez. Maldonado signed for $170,000. The right-hander has the strongest frame among the names we’re going to talk about today. Standing at 6’4, 195, Maldonado has a strong frame that could help him develop more power.

Maldonado’s performance in 2021 was solid, albeit with some red flags. Last year, he had a 2.45 ERA, 4.04 FIP, and 1.47 WHIP. Batters had a hard time hitting the right-hander. He struck out 32.8% of batters faced and allowed just a single home run. But Maldonado couldn’t locate the strike zone. He walked 22 batters for a 16.4% walk rate.

Maldonado is already topping out at 95 MPH. He usually sits around 90-93 MPH, but he also brings a fair amount of spin. He comes in with about 2300 RPM. By the time he’s fully developed, he might have a mid-90’s fastball with 2400+ RPM. Maldonado’s curveball is another weapon he could rely on in the future, and it has also gotten some decent reviews. He also has a change-up that FanGraphs sees as becoming an above-average pitch.

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Maldonado is currently the highest-ranking prospect we’ve talked about today as he is the only arm to appear on either FanGraphs or MLB Pipeline. Maldonado has plenty of time to figure things out. He needs to refine his command and improve his other offerings. But by the time he’s 22-24 years old, he might find himself among one of the Pirates’ regulars in the pitching staff.