Pittsburgh Pirates: Best Prospect From Each Country
By Noah Wright
Panama – RHP Joaquin Tejada
Panama has produced many players, some being the greatest of all time. Legendary closer Mariano Rivera hails from Panama, as does Minnesota Twins Hall Of Fame second baseman/first baseman Rod Carew. One of the greatest Pirates of all time, Manny Sanguillen, also was born in Panama. Joaquin Tejada is the Pirates’ best Panamanian-born prospect.
The Pirates acquired the right-hander at the 2021 trade deadline. He was sent with backstop Carter Bins from the Seattle Mariners to the Pirates for left-handed pitcher Tyler Anderson. Tejada was a notable international signing by the M’s back in 2019. This year, the right-hander made his pro-debut with the Mariners and Pirates’ Dominican Summer League teams but only pitched 28.2 innings, posting a 4.40 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. On the bright side, he did have a .63 HR/9 and 24.3% strikeout rate. An interesting fact on Tejada is that he played in the Little League World Series in 2016.
Tejada is still a very young right-hander. He’s still only 18-years-old and won’t turn 19 until July. However, he’s already displayed four offerings with plus potential. This includes a fastball, curveball, slider, and splitter. Like Chen, while Tejada is only hitting 90-92 MPH now, he might be closer to 92-94 MPH when he reaches 21-23-years-old.
FanGraphs has praised Tejada for his athleticism on the mound as well as the spin he can put on his breaking ball. He averaged around 2900 RPM on his slider and curve, which helps add some wicked break to his slider. Baseball America also highlighted Tejada as a sleeper prospect.
Again, Tejada is very young. Like many young pitchers, he’s a high-ceiling arm that needs more development. He should get plenty of that under the Pittsburgh Pirates’ new regime. He’ll probably see time at Rookie-Ball next season.