Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Examining How Newcomers Have Performed
The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired a few new prospects this past offseason, but how have they performed so far this season?
The Pittsburgh Pirates didn’t make as many trades this past offseason as they did in the 2020-2021 off-season, but they still added a few decent prospects. Although the rebuild is starting to bear fruit and the light at the end of the tunnel, this past off-season was still a part of the rebuild.
They only added three prospects through trade or other means of acquisition, but they’re all guys who could make an impact sometime in 2023. Also, I’m generally looking at prospects they acquired this off-season who have appeared in professional games and have made their 2022 debut.
A few of their most significant off-season acquisitions were teenage international signings like Yordany De Los Santos and Tony Blanco Jr. Still; they haven’t played a game with an affiliated team yet. We’ll take a look at some prospects who do have some professional experience under their belt but haven’t appeared in a minor league game yet in 2022.
Right-handed pitcher Kyle Nicolas
The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Kyle Nicolas in the deal that sent catcher Jacob Stallings to the Miami Marlins. A second-round draft pick in 2020, Nicolas showed a decent bit of talent last year. This year, he’s shown the ability to start to refine that talent and turn it into results.
Nicolas had a 4.13 ERA, 4.61 FIP, and 1.30 WHIP for the Marlins’ High-A and Double-A affiliates. Nicolas’ biggest strength was his strikeout ability, where he had a 31.9% K-rate. But his command got in the way more than once. He walked batters at an 11.5% rate and had a 1.45 HR/9.
Nicolas 2022 numbers are pretty solid. They include a 3.45 ERA, 3.93 FIP, and 1.08 WHIP through 28.2 innings of work. He’s struck out over 30% of batters faced while having a much improved 8.7% walk rate. The only downside is his 1.25 HR/9 rate.
But Nicolas’ 2022 numbers don’t do him enough justice. Eight of the eleven earned runs and all four home runs Nicolas has given up this year have come in one outing. That one outing was on April 23rd, where he pitched just two innings of work. If you ignore that single game, Nicolas has a 1.01 ERA, 34.3% strikeout rate, and 9.1% walk rate.
Nicolas’ bread-and-butter are his mid-to-upper-90s four-seam fastball and slider. His fastball has touched 100 MPH in the past, and his slider is a devastating breaking ball. The downside is that his curveball is below average, and his change-up is a work in progress, at best. But this is only Nicolas’ second professional season. If he improves his curveball and command slightly, he’ll become a potential starting pitcher.