Pittsburgh Pirates: Quinn Priester Could Make a September Debut


Although he has missed a good portion of this season, Pirates pitching prospect Quinn Priester could make his debut sometime this season.

One of the Pittsburgh Pirates top pitching prospects is right-hander Quinn Priester. Their first-round pick in 2019, Priester has become a consensus top 100 prospect since being drafted. Last year, the Pirates gave Roansy Contreras his major league debut, so could Priester receive similar treatment?

Priester started the season on the minor league injured list and made his debut only about a month ago. Although he has a 5.40 ERA since making his season debut, he’s only allowed 7% of batters to reach via free pass and has given up one long ball in 16.2 innings of work. His 22% strikeout rate might not be jaw-dropping, but he has increased it since he returned to Altoona.

Plus, you have to consider he has a batting average on balls in play over .360 despite a ground ball rate over 50%. For reference, the mean BAbip for qualified pitchers in the majors this year with a groundball rate of at least 50% is .277, and the highest is .305, that being Texas Rangers’ right-hander Dane Dunning.

Most of Priester’s innings have come at Double-A. In 11 innings, he’s struck out 12 batters, has only allowed three walks, and has continued to be a ground ball machine. Priester’s ground ball rate sits at 51.7% but has a highly unlucky .404 batting average on balls in play. That has raised his ERA to 4.09, but he has a quality 2.63 FIP and 3.88 xFIP.

Although Priester missed two months of the season, so did Roansy Contreras in 2021. He missed July and August but still made one start in the majors. He, like Priester, was also in his age-21 campaign and one of the Pittsburgh Pirates best prospects. Priester is an easy candidate to get promoted to Triple-A later this season.

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If Priester continues to pitch well, there’s a decent chance we will see him in the majors by the end of this year. He’s a good candidate to get moved to Triple-A sometime in the second half of this season, and if he can prove himself there, he’ll surely get a chance to face major league hitters, even if that’s only for two or three starts at most.