Checking in on red-hot Pittsburgh Pirates pitching prospect Bubba Chandler

The heat is on in the Pirates' system.
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In 2024, it has been the year of the pitcher for Pirates prospects, with the emergence of Paul Skenes and Jared Jones on the big-league squad. Both young Bucs have now been paired with Mitch Keller in a fearsome rotation no NL opponent wants to see in a short playoff series.

Perhaps a thrower who hasn't received the same attention is Bubba Chandler, the Pirates' 2021 third-round selection and current No. 2 prospect.

This season marks Chandler's first full season with Double-A Altoona, and like every other prospect adjusting to the leap to Double-A ball, he has experienced ups and downs. Overall, Chandler's ERA sits at 4.17 in 54 innings pitched, but he might well be peaking, based on his recent contributions.

May was a rough month for the 21-year-old, as he went 0-3 and posted an 8.74 ERA in 11.1 innings pitched. Chandler's primary issue during this stretch was his command, as he surrendered more walks (10) than hits (8).

Pirates top prospect Bubba Chandler has shaken off rough May at Double-A Altoona

However, June has been a much better month for Chandler. He has pitched 25.1 innings, going 3-1 while posting a 2.49 ERA. His walks are way down (3) while his strikeouts have skyrocketed (35).

In each of his last two starts, Chandler has recorded 10 or more strikeouts and has pitched deep into games, going seven innings against the Bowie Baysox (Orioles) and 6.2 innings against the Akron RubberDucks (Guardians). Over these two starts, he has amassed 21 strikeouts while issuing only two walks, a dominant two-game stretch.

Chandlers' strikeout ability has been on full display this season, and notching 68 strikeouts in 54 innings represents a massive step in his development. While he needs to get his command under control, sporting 22 walks on the season, his improvement from May to June in that department has been encouraging.

Overall, this has been a great season of development for Chandler in Double-A. He has pitched through growing pains and has seen a lot of success with his strikeout pitches, a big jolt to his confidence. The next challenge could be closer than anyone though after the way he handled May.