If last year's draft taught us anything, the Pirates really like two things: college pitchers and college pitchers who pitched in the Cape Cod League. Austin Amaral from Stetson University has done both. Plus, he has pitched well in 2023.
Amaral has pitched 76 innings for Stetson University. In total, he has a solid 3.30 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, and 2.05 K:BB ratio. Amaral has allowed just two home runs all year, leading to an HR/9 of just 0.24. He's also racked up strikeouts with a 24.3% strikeout rate. While his ability to prevent home runs has been elite and well above average at striking out batters, walks have given him some trouble. Unfortunately, he's dished out a free pass to 11.9% of opponents.
The right-hander has good velocity on his fastball, sitting low-to-mid-90s. Although not a flamethrower, it has traits that help it ride through the strike zone. He also throws a sweeping slider. This pitch lacks depth with only single-plane tilt. However, Amaral is able to tunnel both offerings very well. According to reports, right-handed batters have barely been able to touch his slider.
Amaral has a unique wind-up and delivery. He keeps a long arm, fully extending it down and behind his back before bringing it back up and unleashing the ball from an over-the-top arm angle. Now there are certainly questions about his ability to locate. However, unlike someone like Julian Bosnic, for example, Amaral has some athleticism to spare. He's not going to get out of rhythm that throws off his wind-up/delivery and negatively affect his command.
Amaral likely projects as a reliever in the long run. Right now, he mostly uses just two offerings to get outs, and while they're not bad pitches, you're going to want starters throwing three or more average or better offerings. But Amaral is trending in the right direction, and whichever team that drafts him will likely give him every chance to start.