Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Five Set for MLB Breakout in 2023

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Pittsburgh Pirates
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) /

Quinn Priester

Quinn Priester was the Pittsburgh Pirate first-round selection in the 2019 draft. One of the best high school arms among the 2019 draft class, Priester has made a name for himself, becoming a consensus top 100 prospect. Priester debuted at Triple-A last season and should be on a fast track to the major leagues in 2023.

Priester started the year on the injured list, but after a few rehab starts, Preister was back in action at Double-A Altoona. In the 17 starts and 84.2 innings thrown between Altoona and Indy, the talented right-hander had a quality 2.98 ERA, 3.46 FIP, and 1.20 WHIP. Priester’s 24.1% strikeout rate may not be stand-out, but he had a quality 8.2% walk rate and allowed just five home runs. Priester is a ground ball machine, and he had a ground ball rate over 50% at Altoona.

But those numbers low-ball Priester. In his 19th and 17th starts of the season, Priester allowed seven and four earned runs in each and pitched just eight innings. He also walked seven and allowed two home runs. Of course, two starts do not make-or-break a pitcher, but they do affect their bottom-line numbers. Outside of these two outings, Priester’s ERA between Altoona and Indy was just 2.00, and his WHIP was 1.10.

Priester has some of the best stuff in the Pirates’ system, including a wide array of pitches and an elite curveball. Priester will start the year out for Triple-A Indy but should be one of the Pirates’ biggest promotions of the 2023 season. If he’s healthy and picks up where he left off last year, Priester may be one of the first Pirate call-ups in May.