Pittsburgh Pirates: One Breakout Prospect to Watch at Each Position

The Pirates could see these prospects breakout in 2024.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Pittsburgh Pirates
Los Angeles Dodgers v Pittsburgh Pirates / Rick Stewart/GettyImages
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Right-Handed Pitcher - Jun-Seok Shim

The Pirates' top international pick last off-season was South Korean right-hander Jun-Seok Shim. Shim had the opportunity to head into the Korean Baseball Organization draft, where he was considered the best pitcher available. But instead, he decided to find a contract with a Major League Baseball club in the United States. Shim did not pitch much in 2023 as arm injuries limited him, but even a relatively healthy 2024 could shoot him up prospect boards next year.

In the few innings Shim pitched, he looked decent. In total, he only was able to log eight innings and faced 30 batters. But he struck out 13 with just three walks. He also only allowed one home run and three earned runs. In total, batters were able to put a ball in play 14 times against Shim but hit a ground ball half of the time.

Shim has a big fastball that sits mid/upper-90s. When the Pirates signed him, Shim showed off a four-seamer that could top out at 100 MPH. Shim throws two breaking balls. The better of the two is his curveball, a 12-6 looping bender. He also throws a slider with above-average potential, as well as a changeup that he has a feel for. Shim is a 6'4", 215-pound 19-year-old. Even though he's a young flamethrower, he isn't just firing without accuracy. He has good athleticism and a delivery on the lower-effort side.

I think if Shim gets 15-18 starts next year, you may see him on some top 100 prospect lists at the start of 2025. This is a young arm with the kind of talent that could move through the minor leagues at a fast pace.