Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Checking in on Relievers in the AFL
By Marty Leap
Three Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitching prospects are pitching in the Arizona Fall League, how have they pitched thus far this fall?
As part of the Arizona Fall League, the Pittsburgh Pirates have eight players playing for the Surprise Saguaros. This includes a trio of relief pitching prospects who are pitching out of the bullpen for the Saguaros.
How are these three relievers pitching thus far?
The most talented and highly touted of the trip is righty Tahnaj Thomas. The former top 100 pitching prospect transitioned to a bullpen role in 2022 and appears to have all the tools needed to be a future high-leverage reliever for the Pirates.
Due to one poor outing the overall results for Thomas do not look very strong. In eight AFL relief outings Thomas has pitched 8.1 innings, posting a 10.80 ERA. He has allowed seven hits, three home runs, walked eight batters, and struck out 10.
Lefty Omar Cruz is also pitching for the Surprise Saguaros. After both starting and pitching in relief for Double-A Altoona in 2022, the 23-year-old Cruz has pitched solely out of the bullpen for the Saguaros.
In nine relief outing appearances with the Saguaros, Cruz has posted a 5.25 ERA in 12.0 innings pitched. Cruz has allowed 13 hits, walked 10 batters and struck out 11. The soft-tossing Cruz posted a 5.17 ERA in the regular season, so his AFL results have been in line with what he did in the regular season.
The best performing Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitching prospect in the AFL thus far has been Colin Selby. The righty had pitched 9.0 innings in nine outings for the Saguaros. Selby has allowed eight hits, four walks, nine strikeouts, and zero home runs. This has led to him posting a 2.00 ERA.
Very quietly, Selby is coming off a strong minor league season. Between Double-A and Triple-A, Selby posted a 2.27 ERA in 35.2 innings pitched. He 29 hits, two home runs, 14 walks, and 43 strikeouts.