Pittsburgh Pirates Draft: Three College Pitchers to Watch

Florida State Seminoles pitcher Bryce Hubbart (43) warms up at the top of the first inning. The Florida State Seminoles hosted the Illinois State Redbirds, Wednesday, March 11, 2020.Fsu V Illinois State Baseball027
Florida State Seminoles pitcher Bryce Hubbart (43) warms up at the top of the first inning. The Florida State Seminoles hosted the Illinois State Redbirds, Wednesday, March 11, 2020.Fsu V Illinois State Baseball027 /
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RHP Gabriel Hughes

Gabriel Hughes is a product of Gonzaga. The right-hander has a large, 6’4, 220-pound build and projects to go later in the second round. However, a good 2022 season from the right-hander could boost his value up to an early second-round selection.

Hughes has three quality offerings. His four-seam fastball regularly sits in the mid-to-upper-90’s. However, it’s also an easy 94-97. It’s a low-effort, fast arm-speed movement that is similar to LA Dodgers’ ace Walker Buehler. Some experts see him hitting 100 MPH in the future. His slider comes in the upper-90’s with wipeout action and he’s flashed a plus change-up as well.

The right-hander had solid numbers at Gonzaga in 2021. He pitched 61.1 innings, posting a quality 3.23 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, .59 HR/9, and 25.5% strikeout rate. The big downside was an 11.4% walk rate. Hughes’s walk rate doesn’t accurately reflect his ability to command his offerings as he’s been praised for the ability to fill the zone and locate his slider.

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Given Hughes’ ability, he might even rise above the early second round and into the early first round. However given that he currently sits as a late 2nd rounder, it’s still very possible he is an arm the Pirates target if he’s still available.

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