The Pittsburgh Pirates have a ton of highly-rated prospects, but these five have become somewhat forgotten.
The Pittsburgh Pirates farm system has plenty of popular names. Henry Davis was the first overall selection in the 2021 draft. Termarr Johnson was considered arguably the best hitter in the 2022 draft. Endy Rodriguez has skyrocketed up prospect boards since the Bucs acquired him, and both Nick Gonzales and Quinn Priester are two more former first-rounders.
But this just scratches the surface of the prospects in the Pirate system. The Pirate farm is very deep, and they are set up for potentially a long-term, bright future. It's easy to forget about some pretty decent prospects when there are so many of them, and today, I want to talk about a few guys that may have slipped fans' minds.
RHP Hung-Leng Chang
Hung-Leng Chang was one of Pittsburgh's higher-paid international signees last offseason. He was overshadowed by the likes of Yordany De Los Santos and Tony Blanco Jr., both of whom were considered top 15 international prospects. The Pirates were the only team to land two top international prospects of De Los Santos' and Blanco Jr.'s caliber, so Chang slipped under the radar.
Despite that, Chang made a nice first impression. In 22.2 innings with the Pirate Florida Complex League affiliate, Chang struck out 27.8% of the batters he faced while only allowing 8.2% to reach via free pass. He had a 48.3% ground ball rate and didn't allow a single home run. Chang had a mediocre 4.76 ERA but was a victim of bad luck as he had a .355 batting average on balls in play.
Chang is a lanky teenager. He has a 6'3", 160-pound frame. But that also means he has some projectability. He only just turned 21 back in October. Chang isn't a very hard thrower, as he only averages out in the low-90s, but given his physical projectability, there's room for some added velocity. He could end up working close to the 92-95 MPH range by the time he approaches major league readiness.
Chang is an advanced arm, and it will be interesting to see how he performs in a full season. As of right now, he's one of, if not the Pirates best-unranked pitching prospect. There's a lot to like about Chang, despite getting less attention than many of his fellow prospects and teammates.