Pittsburgh Pirates: Stocking Left-Handed Pitching Prospects

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Pirates
Alcyon Park in Pitman on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. Bishop Eustace defeated Williamstown, 8-1.High School Baseball Diamond Classic Final 4 /

The first left-handed pitcher that Ben Cherington brought in was Omar Cruz.  Cruz was one of three prospects the San Diego Padres sent the Bucs in exchange for Joe Musgrove.  Cruz came over with David Bednar, Hudson Head, and pitcher Joey Lucchesi.  Lucchesi then was flipped to the Mets for Endy Rodriguez to complete the three-team deal.

Cruz immediately became the Pittsburgh Pirates top left-handed pitching prospect.  Cruz had a solid 2021 pitching to a 3.44 ERA across 21 starts.  However, things have not gone as well for Cruz this year.  So far his ERA is over 5 and he has since been moved into the bullpen.  He currently is ranked as the Buc’s 52nd best prospect according to FanGraphs.

Cruz was not the only left-handed pitcher Cherington acquired in 2021. The team selected prep left-hander Anthony Solometo with the 37th pick in the 2021 Draft.  Solometo was actually ranked by MLB Pipeline as the 17th best prospect in the 2021 Draft Class, so the Bucs got a great talent 20 picks later.

According to Fangraphs, Solometo is already the Buc’s 13th best prospect.  This is very promising for a young, left-handed pitcher.  However, his numbers have also been very impressive since joining the Organization. He has thrown 25.1 innings and owns a 3.55 ERA.

Two stats jump out to me. First, he is striking out over 25% of the batters he faces (27 total).  What might be even more impressive is that he is walking just under 10% of the batters he is facing.  So far so good for Solmeto, who should be moving up the rankings in 2023.