Although Carmen Mlodzinski is coming off a so-so 2022 season, the Pittsburgh Pirates pitching prospect did make some slight improvements.
In 2020, the Pittsburgh Pirates had the 31st overall selection in the draft. This was a competitive balance pick, and used it on University of South Carolina right-handed pitcher Carmen Mlodzinski. After a solid 2021 season, Mlodzinski followed that up with an inconsistent 2022 campaign at Double-A Altoona.
Overall on the season, Mlodzinski pitched a total of 105.1 innings. While Mlodzinski had a poor 4.78 ERA and 4.55 xFIP, he also struck out 24.1% of the batters he faced, dished out free passes 8.7% of the time, and held his own in terms of home runs with a 0.87 HR/9 rate. His solid peripherals led to a 3.77 FIP.
There were some improvements for Mlodzinski. He cut his line drive rate down to just 16.7%, and his walk rate was also about 1% better than last season. He also was hurt by some bad batted ball luck. Opponents managed a .334 batting average on balls in play despite cutting down the batted ball rate that falls for a hit the most often by over 8% from last season.
Although Mlodzinski’s 2022 numbers were not impressive, he still displayed some nice stuff on the mound. The right-hander works in the mid-90s and can hit 99 MPH. He pairs that with an above-average curveball and change-up. Arguably his best breaking ball is his cutter/slider-type offering, which typically sits in the upper-80s and low-90s.
The issue Mlodzinski has faced is inconsistent command. FanGraphs currently places his command as a 35-grade part of his game, while MLB Pipeline pins his control at a 45. Granted, FanGraphs projects him to reach 50-grade command eventually, but it’s currently the weakest part of his game.
Mlodzinski’s season wasn’t great, but he showed some improvements. There wasn’t much luck on the right-hander’s side, so he could still improve. The Pirates didn’t select Mlodzinski in the first round for no reason, and he certainly has talent. He needs to refine his command, but he’s an arm to look out for in 2023.