The Pittsburgh Pirates have saw one of their top pitching prospects, Carmen Mlodzinski, make some noticeable improvements so far in spring training
Carmen Mlodzinski was the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 2020 first-round competitive balance pick. The 31st overall selection had a promising debut season in 2021 at Greensboro. However, he didn’t do great last year for Altoona. It was an inconsistent season, as Mlodzinski worked to a 4.78 ERA but a solid 3.77 FIP. Mlodzinski struck out his fair share of batters with a 24.1% strikeout rate while cutting his walk rate below 9% to 8.7%. He also had an HR/9 of 0.85.
His season had its ups and downs, as Mlodzinski looked good in some months and bad in others. However, the right-hander has come to Spring Training looking much better than he previously did and arguably the best since his 2020 college season. In 5.1 innings, Mlodzinski has five strikeouts, has walked two batters, and has allowed just a single hit and no earned runs.
Now granted, as we have previously said, Spring Training results are not very meaningful. Of course, it’s better to see a guy perform well than to struggle, but the box score isn’t going to tell you much of anything. What I am focusing on is just how much better Mlodzinski has looked this year compared to last year.
In Spring 2022, Mlodzinski was hitting 93-95 MPH and topped out at 96 MPH on the dot. This year, his softest thrown pitch comes in at 94.8 MPH, and his hardest thrown offering clocked in at 97.8 MPH. He’s topped his previous Spring Training best 11 times so far. There are also 27 pitches that there is no data Baseball Savant has on Mlodzinski, so it’s entirely possible that he’s thrown 96+ MPH more than a dozen times so far.
Keep in mind that he’s yet to show what he can do in an extended outing. All of his games so far have been less than two innings. But the fact he’s about averaging out where he was topping out last Spring should at least have fans excited to see what he can do next season. If Mlodzinski can carry this kind of velocity into the regular season and start to maintain it in 5-6-7 innings, his trajectory could change for the better.