Notable Pirate prospects who will make their professional debut in 2024

Two of the Pirates' top prospects will make their pro debut this season.
Aug 28, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, US; West pitcher Zander Mueth (13) during the Perfect Game
Aug 28, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, US; West pitcher Zander Mueth (13) during the Perfect Game / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Two notable Pittsburgh Pirates prospects will be making their professional debut during this upcoming season

The Pittsburgh Pirates saw a handful of their top prospects finally reach the pro level. Overall, eight top Pirates prospects played their first MILB game last season, a list of prospects that I went through thoroughly before here. With the 2024 season just around the corner, the Pirates will likely see many of their recent draft picks and international signings make their pro debut this upcoming minor league season. With that in mind, I want to discuss the top prospects currently in the Pirates’ system that you could expect to see in the minor leagues for the first time ever.

Zander Mueth

Zander Mueth is one of my favorite Pirates prospects and someone I think could become one of their best in a few years. Mueth was taken as the Bucs’ second-round competitive balance pick in the 2023 draft. The Belleville East High School product had a commitment to Mississippi but was offered an over-slot signing bonus of $1,797,500, enough to pry him from heading to college. This also means he was the second highest-paid player of the Pirates’ 2023 draft class behind fellow right-hander Paul Skenes.

Mueth has a three-pitch repertoire right now. His fastball has plus potential. He throws the fastball in the low-mid-90s, averaging out at 92-94, but can reach back for more velocity. He topped out at 97 on the gun. The way the pitch is described, it sounds like an arm-side run two-seamer. It has good sinking movement, according to both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline.

His slider is more of a sweeper with a ton of glove-side movement. It sweeps so much to his left that MLB Pipeline goes so far as to say that the pitch “breaks so much that he sometimes struggles to land it for strikes.” His change-up also has above-average potential, with Baseball America giving it positive reviews. It also has sink to it like his fastball.

There’s a lot to like about Mueth’s game past his offerings. He’s a 6’6”, 205-pound pitcher, so he has some projectability on his tall frame. He’s already topping out at 97 MPH, but given his projectability and age, you may see him sit closer to 93-96 MPH within the next few years. Mueth had just turned 18 about a month prior to the draft, so he’s young as well and will end 2024 at 19. Mueth’s arm slot also adds some deception with some shades of Tanner Houck of the Boston Red Sox as a comparison.

Mueth is my most anticipated prospect debut among the Pirates. He has an extremely high ceiling because of his repertoire, projectability, and deceptive qualities. It would not shock me at all if Mueth was even on the fringes of top 100 lists at this point next season.