One underrated prospect at each level of the Pirates’ minor leagues to watch in 2024

Let's examine one prospect at each level of the Pittsburgh Pirates' minor league system to wtach this year.
May 28, 2021; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; West Virginia pitcher Carlson Reed (17) pitches against
May 28, 2021; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; West Virginia pitcher Carlson Reed (17) pitches against / Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
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Pirates High-A affiliate Greensboro
Jaden Woods

Carlson Reed isn't the only pitching prospect from the 2023 draft to make an appearance on today's list. Three rounds after the Bucs took Reed, they would then take left-handed pitcher Jaden Woods in the 7th round of the same draft. The left-hander did not pitch well at the University of Georgia but is definitely a name to watch this season.

Woods pitched 48.1 innings in his final college season, working to a 5.77 ERA but 1.34 WHIP. He struggled to limit home runs with a 1.68 HR/9 rate, as well as walks with an 11.9% BB%. On the plus side, he still got a ton of batters to strike out with a 29.5% K% and started off his pro career on the right foot last year.

The southpaw got things kicked off at Bradenton in the second half of last season, pitching 14.1 innings out of the bullpen, working to a 3.14 ERA, 1.50 FIP, and 0.91 WHIP. Woods saw his walk rate plummet to 5.6% while his K% rose to 38.9%. He had a 7.00 K:BB ratio, the highest among any Bradenton pitcher with ten or more innings pitched. Plus, he didn't allow a home run in the small sample size. Woods has since pitched 2.1 innings this year, allowing one earned run on a home run, no walks, and two K's for Greensboro.

Woods' sinker sat in the low 90s during his time with Bradenton, but according to Baseball America, he has been able to hit the mid-90s. His slider is an upper-70s pitch, and that pretty much makes up his pitch arsenal. He does have a change-up, but it's a rarely used offering. Woods' arm action is simple with a quick arm. The lefty stands at 6'2", 205-LBS, with some decent athleticism that could help improve his command in the future.

Woods was ranked as the 152nd-best draft prospect by Baseball America and signed for over-slot value. Hopefully, his command issues are trending in the right direction. He's only handed out three free passes in just over 16 innings as a pro pitcher. It's obviously a small sample size, so maybe he's figured it out. Woods could definitely become a left-handed relief prospect on more radars if he continues to develop the way he has thus far.