Pittsburgh Pirates: Best Prospect at Each Position

Here is the best Pirates prospect at each position.
2023 - P Paul Skenes, Pirates
2023 - P Paul Skenes, Pirates / Gary Cosby Jr. / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Relief Pitcher - Tyler Samaniego

Tyler Samaniego had a pretty weird season. Even though he improved his game in multiple areas, he seemingly could never get the defense to cooperate and get him outs. Samaniego was the definition of an unlucky pitcher. Despite inducing a ton of strikeouts and ground balls, he seemingly could not get things to go his way.

Through 47.1 innings, Samaniego had a 26% strikeout rate, 11.1% walk rate, and an 0.38 HR/9. His ground ball rate was just a shade under 50% at 49.6%, and had a line drive rate of 19%. His strong peripherals resulted in a 3.25 FIP and 3.93 xFIP. But then there’s his ERA, coming in at 5.51. But why is that? Well, it is probably because of his .392 batting average on balls in play.

Samaniego is a three-pitch lefty. His fastball comfortably sits 94-95 while topping out at 96. He also throws a decent slider. His change-up has average potential, though his four-seamer and slider are considered above average offerings. His command can be inconsistent. Sometimes it looks good, other times he struggles. 

Samaniego has now experienced the two greatest extremes of batting ball luck. In 2022, he had a .142 batting average on balls in play. This year, he was just under .400 at .392. What’s he going to do in 2024 based on batted ball numbers? No one is really sure, but there is the potential of a quality lefty set-up man within Samaniego. The Pirates will have a potential audition between Angel Perdomo and Jose Hernandez for the second lefty bullpen spot to open 2024. Maybe Samaneigo can sneak in there and claim the role for himself.