Pittsburgh Pirates: Three More Change-of-Scenery Trade Targets

ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - APRIL 09: Brendan McKay #49 of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on from the dugout during a game against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field on April 09, 2022 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - APRIL 09: Brendan McKay #49 of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on from the dugout during a game against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field on April 09, 2022 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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May 28, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Tucker Davidson (64) throws against the Miami Marlins in the first inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
May 28, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Tucker Davidson (64) throws against the Miami Marlins in the first inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

Tucker Davidson

Tucker Davidson was formerly ranked as one of the Atlanta Braves’ top 10 prospects as recently as 2020. A 19th-round JUCO pick, Davidson ascended through the Braves’ system, making it to the major leagues in 2020, pitching 1.2 innings. He pitched just 20 innings in 2021 with mixed results. He’s pitched 15.1 more innings with the Braves this year, again with mixed results.

Though Davidson does have some solid numbers at Triple-A. Between 2021 and 2022, Davidson pitched 98.1 innings with the Braves Triple-A affiliate, pitching to the tune of a 3.66 ERA, 3.81 FIP, and 1.18 WHIP. Davidson is striking out nearly 30% of batters faced with a 29.3% strikeout rate but pairs that with a quality 7.1% walk rate. Davidson hasn’t had his best season this year, but that can mainly be tracked to his HR/9, which sits at 1.43. He has a 3.35 xFIP compared to his 4.42 ERA and 4.14 FIP. He still has a great strikeout rate and walk rate.

Davidson’s most used offering is his upper-80s slider, a pitch he throws about 40% of the time. It averages out with 35 inches of vertical movement and is currently a 60-grade offering. His fastball sits in the 92-95 MPH range but can hit 97 MPH. But there are questions about his fastball’s spin angle. Lastly, there’s his upper-70s/low-80s curveball.

The Braves aren’t about to push Spencer Strider, Kyle Wright, or Max Fried out of the rotation for Tucker Davidson. Former Pittsburgh Pirates starter Charlie Morton has been a slightly above league average pitcher since the outset of March, having a 3.81 ERA/3.74 FIP. Although Ian Anderson has run into a sophomore slump, underlying numbers say he’s a better pitcher than his ERA suggests, and the Braves would be more likely to go out and find a proven pitcher than to give a prospect a go right now.

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Although Davidson’s long-term home might be the bullpen, a lefty who can throw in the mid-90s with a quality breaking ball is always welcomed. If the Braves are willing to sell low on Davidson, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the Pittsburgh Pirates to look into.

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