Best late round draft prospects in the Pirates' system

Let's look at the Pirates' best late round draft prospects in the system.

SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game
SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages
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Khristian Curtis

We now move to the 2023 draft, specifically the 12th round, when the Pirates took right-hander Khristian Curtis out of Arizona State. Curtis was hindered by injuries in his college career, and also performed poorly. However, he was considered an interesting draft prospect because of his physicality and pitch mix.

Curtis pitched 64 innings at Arizona State last year, working to a 7.03 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, and 1.66 K:BB ratio. He was prone to home runs with a 1.69 HR/9 and also had a below-conference average of 11.3 percent walk rate and 18.7 percent strikeout rate. Despite poor results, Baseball America ranked him as the 126th-best prospect in the draft.

Curtis pitched in the recent Spring Breakout game alongside other Pirates prospects. The right-hander averaged 96 MPH with 2366 RPM to his four-seam fastball. That's an uptick from his 2023 college season when he was reportedly sitting 93-95 MPH. Along with a mid-90s fastball, he threw a slider, change-up, curveball, and cutter. His change-up is a hard change-up, sitting in the mid-80s, with his slider averaging out with similar velocity. His cutter sat in the low 90s while his curveball came in the upper 70s.

Curtis looks fully healthy and ready to go for the 2024 season. He doesn't turn 22 until the second week of May, but the 12th-round pick will definitely be interesting to watch this season. He's a hard-throwing righty with decent breaking and off-speed stuff. The right-hander has the potential to be a pretty good relief prospect.