The Pittsburgh Pirates had a competitive balance round B pick (last year, their comp round pick was in round A and took Thomas Harrington). It was the 67th overall pick in the draft, and they took another right-handed pitcher. This time, it was a high schooler in the form of Zander Mueth, who is my favorite non-Skenes draft pick.
Mueth was ranked as one of the better high school pitchers in this year’s draft. Baseball America was very high on him, ranking him as their 56th-best draft prospect. Mueth has a lot of things going for him, including a strong pitch mix as well as some deception with his motion and arm slot.
Mueth typically sits in the low-90s. But he has shown some real velocity in the past, topping out in the mid-90s. His fastball doesn’t only have good velocity but has significant arm-side sink. It’s a pitch with plus potential. Then there’s his low-80s slider. It moves to his glove side and with sweeping-like action. He also throws a change-up with sinking action. It also flashes 60-grade potential because of its late sinking movement.
All three of Mueth’s pitches flash 60-grade potential. Everything plays up because of his arm angle. He has an arm slot that is comparable to Tanner Houck of the Boston Red Sox. The only downside of his game right now is that he lacks good command. But he did just turn 18 about a month ago, and there’s plenty of time for him to iron out his issues with location.
Mueth has the potential to be a good right-handed starting pitcher in the future. This could be a real dominant arm if he can get his command down, even to a fringe-average level. The velocity is already there, and as we’ve seen with a previous high school side-armer (specifically Anthony Solometo), adding another tick or two is well within reach. Mueth certainly has the frame (6’6”, 205 ounds) to become stronger and throw harder. The Pirates were able to sign Mueth for $1.8 million, which was about $700,000 over-slot.