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

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Pittsburgh Pirates
PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 11: General view of the field during a ceremony commemorating the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks before the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Washington Nationals at PNC Park on September 11, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

Altoona Curve – RHP Aaron Shortridge

Altoona’s roster is nothing short of loaded. They have many of the Pittsburgh Pirates highest-end prospects, including Priester, Nick Gonzales, and Liover Peguero. The Curve’s roster also houses Michael Burrows, J.C. Flowers, Luis Ortiz, Jared Triolo, and a handful of others. With that much talent, it’s very easy to overlook Aaron Shortridge.

Shortridge was a 4th round pick by the Bucs back in 2018. After getting his feet wet with a phenomenal 30.1 inning run with Low-A West Virginia, Shortridge was then sent to High-A to continue his progression. His first full season went quite well for the right-hander.

In 135.2 innings of work, Shortridge posted a 3.25 ERA, 3.68 FIP, and 1.14 WHIP. Although his 19.1% strikeout rate wasn’t anything special, he only walked 4.7% of batters faced while only surrendering 13 home runs. Despite his low strikeout numbers, Shortridge still had a solid 3.41 xFIP. Plus, he put up a 29.9% strikeout rate in his first taste of action back in 2018.

Things were trending up for Shortridge until he had to undergo Tommy John surgery in January 2021. That meant we would not see the pitching prospect in 2021. It was a setback for Shortridge, but he’s recovered and looks to put himself on the right track once again.

Shortridge, who’s mostly known for his command, throws in the low-90s with a quality slider and change-up. He has three offerings that he can use regularly and can pound the zone with all three pitches. He also brings some athleticism to the mound, which helps him repeat his delivery.

Hopefully, Shortridge can continue to pitch well. There’s no such thing as too much pitching depth, and a potential long-term starting rotation option is always welcomed. Shortridge has been an effective pitcher so far. Even if he isn’t an overly dominating force, he comes in and gets outs. At 24-years-old, the Pirates might even see him make his debut sometime in 2022.