Not one, but two top prospects will be debuting for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday at PNC Park.
Pittsburgh is reeling from a sweep at the hands of the San Francisco Giants coming out of the All-Star break, and will open a three-game series with the Cleveland Guardians with top pitching prospect Quinn Priester debuting on the mound and Endy Rodriguez debuting behind the plate… hopefully.
The Pirates are 41-52 and in fourth place in the NL Central. The Guardians also were swept this past weekend and sit in second in the AL Central, 45-48. Cleveland will send Xzavion Curry to the mound as an opener for a bullpen day.
Even with top prospects all over the field, the Pirates are home underdogs in this one.
Guardians vs. Pirates odds, run line and total
Guardians vs. Pirates prediction and pick
Priester is No. 53 on the MLB.com Top 100 prospects list and is the No. 4 prospect in the Pirates system. Priester has made 18 starts at Triple-A Indianapolis this season and has worked to a 7-3 record and 4.31 ERA.
The No. 3 prospect in the Pirates system is Rodriguez, a 23-year-old switch hitting catcher who can also play a corner outfield spot and first and second base.
Hopefully, it will be Rodriguez behind the dish tonight instead of Austin Hedges, but the Pirates currently have four catchers on their roster and haven’t allowed their other top catching prospect, Henry Davis, to start a game behind the plate yet. Pittsburgh will need all the offense it can get against Cleveland’s bullpen today.
The Guardians are second in bullpen ERA this season, so a bullpen day can be something of a death sentence for their opponent.
Especially when that opponent is debuting a 22-year-old starting pitcher with an ERA north of four at Triple-A this year. The Pirates will need to lean on their bullpen today too, and their 4.27 ERA is nearly a full run higher than Cleveland’s 3.40.
It’s always exciting when a top prospect debuts, but it gets even better if two players do on the same day. The Pirates could get some energy, but honestly they are 30th in team OPS in July and it’s been a long time since they were a capable offensive team.
The Guardians aren’t a whole lot better, 21st in OPS this month and 25th for the season. I’ll take the under with Clevland’s great bullpen and two lackluster lineups.
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