5 more bold predictions for the 2024 Pittsburgh Pirates

Keep an eye out for these five things going right for the Pirates in 2024

Mar 3, 2024; North Port, Florida, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Henry Davis (32) celebrates
Mar 3, 2024; North Port, Florida, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Henry Davis (32) celebrates / Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Anthony Solometo enters 2025 as the #1 LHP prospect

Let's talk about another pitching prospect, another one not named Paul Skenes or Jared Jones.

The Pirates drafted Anthony Solometo in the second round in 2021. After going under slot on Henry Davis with the first overall pick, the Pirates were able to use their next three selections on expensive high school prospects in Solometo, outfielder Lonnie White Jr., and Bubba Chandler, yet another high-ceiling pitching prospect.

Solometo doesn't have overpowering stuff like many pitching prospects do - his fastball rarely reaches the mid-90s - but his delivery has drawn comparisons to that of Madison Bumgarner, and pitching from that arm slot allows him to get extra movement on his slider and changeup, which are both plus offerings.

The left-hander has adjusted to pro ball quite well. He debuted at Low-A Bradenton in 2022 with great results, a 2.64 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 13 games. He split 2023 between High-A Greensboro and Double-A Altoona and pitched well at both stops. Across both levels, he posted a 3.26 ERA and 1.18 WHIP, striking out 26.2 percent of opposing hitters and walking 8.6 percent.

He'll need to at least replicate, and likely top, those numbers for him to vault to the top of rankings as the best left-handed pitching prospect, and there's reason to believe that he'll be able to do that. While he got hit a little harder after he was promoted to Double-A, his control actually improved and his walk rate dropped significantly (from 10.7 percent to 6.5 percent). As he continues to grow and develop physically (he turned 21 in December and is already six-foot-five), the stuff is sure to get better as well.

MLB Pipeline currently ranks Solometo as the #82 overall prospect and the fifth-best left-handed pitching prospect. The rest of the rankings feature a stud about to lose his prospect status (Kyle Harrison), as well as other pitchers who could debut and graduate in 2024 (Ricky Tiedemann, Carson Whisenhunt, Robert Gasser).

While the prospect list is stacked with talented arms, most (if not all) of whom possess more overpowering stuff than Solometo, improved stuff and positive results at the upper levels (and perhaps a late-season cup of coffee in Pittsburgh) might be enough to land him atop the rankings. It's certainly within the realm of possibility.