Rum Bunter’s Top Ten Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: End of 2022

Jul 29, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates first round pick Termarr Johnson and fourth overall player drafted in the 2022 MLB Draft takes batting practice before the Pirates host the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 29, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates first round pick Termarr Johnson and fourth overall player drafted in the 2022 MLB Draft takes batting practice before the Pirates host the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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DENVER, CO – JULY 11: Quinn Priester #40 of National League Futures Team pitches against the American League Futures Team at Coors Field on July 11, 2021 in Denver, Colorado.(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

Number Four – RHP Quinn Priester
Pre-season Ranking: #4

Quinn Priester comes in as our best pitching prospect in the Pirates’ organization. Priester was a 2019 first-round pick by the Bucs and has proved to be a good selection. Preister made his way to Triple-A in 2022, so he’ll surely be on the docket for his major league debut sometime next season.

Priester was injured for the first two months of the season. But after he returned, he picked up where he left off last season. After a few rehab starts, the talented right-hander was back in action at Double-A Altoona. He tossed 75.1 innings, working to the tune of a 2.87 ERA, 3.23 FIP, and 1.19 WHIP. Priester’s strong suit has always been preventing the home run, and he continued that this season. He allowed just four home runs while inducing ground balls 51% of the time. He also had a remarkable 7.1% walk rate and a solid 24% strikeout rate.

Priester made two starts at Triple-A. The first was great, striking out six and allowing two free passes and two hits in five innings of work. The second one lasted just 4.1 innings, allowing four earned runs on five walks and a home run. Two of his last three starts were very un-Priester-like. The other start was his final Altoona outing, where he allowed seven earned runs in just 3.2 innings. But those are just two starts among a handful of quality outings.

Priester has a wide array of pitches, including a two-seam fastball, cutter, curveball, change-up, and slider. Priester usually works in the 95-96 MPH range, throwing the pitch with sink. His curveball is arguably one of the best in the minor leagues, and his cutter allows him to get a ton of ground balls. But his change-up is far from a reliable offering. Still, with the amount of solid pitches he has, his change-up not panning out isn’t a massive issue.

Priester has the stuff to be a high-end no. 2 starter/low-end no. 1 starter and rotation anchor for the Pirates in the long run. He’ll only be 22 for nearly all of the 2023 season (he turns 23 on September 15), and if he stays healthy for the first month of 2023, you’ll see him make some starts in May.