Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Underrated 2022 Draft Picks

Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Pirates
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LHP Cy Nielson

Cy Nielson was one of the handful of left-handed pitchers the Pittsburgh Pirates added through this year’s draft, alongside Hunter Barco, Michael Kennedy, and Julian Bosnic. Nielson finished off a strong season at Brigham Young University and at the Cape Cod League, boosting his value before heading into the 2022 draft.

Nielson’s overall numbers in college weren’t great. He had just a 5.20 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. Sure, he held opponents to a solid 1.02 HR/9 while striking them out at a 26.6% rate, but he also allowed walks to 10.6% of them. Nielson worked as a starter for most of his amateur career but transitioned to the bullpen in his final campaign and saw some improvements. He had just a 3.21 ERA and 1.04 WHIP, along with a 5.2% walk rate and 32.6% strikeout rate. The one area he saw a decline in was his home run rate, with it dipping to 1.07, which is still solid enough.

Nielson worked as a starting pitcher once again in the Cape Cod League. He only tossed 13.2 innings and faced 59 batters but allowed just three earned runs, struck out 17, and allowed a single long ball. Though he also allowed seven free passes, a noticeable uptick from his last year at college.

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Nielson has the athleticism and four-pitch mix that you like to see from left-handers. He also saw a slight uptick in velocity this year. The command is going to be key to his future. He’s consistently been inconsistent when it comes to locating his stuff. Just by going off his walk rate, a move to the bullpen may be the most beneficial thing for him.