Alessandro Ercolani is an intriguing young arm in the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system and made his Low-A debut during the 2023 season
In March of 2021 the Pittsburgh Pirates signed Alessandro Ercolani out of San Marino. At the time, Ercolani was just 16-years-old. After pitching in the Florida Complex League in 2021 and 2022, Ercolani made a jump in 2023.
Ercolani spent the 2023 season pitching for the Low-A Bradenton Marauders. He pitched in 17 games for the Marauders (15 starts), logging 65 innings. In those 65 innings pitched Ercolani posted a 4.43 ERA, 4.85 FIP, 11.3% walk rate, and a 24.0% strikeout rate. Ercolani allowed 8 home runs (1.11 HR/9) and held opposing batters to a .255 batting average.
On the surface, these numbers may not look like anything special from Ercolani. They do, however, come with some context. First off, this was Ercolani's first time pitching above rookie ball level. Additionally, he didn't turn 19-year-old until last April.
The average age for hitters at the Low-A level last season was 21. Ercolani was facing many hitters who not only already had experience at the Low-A level, on average these hitters were 2 years older than him as well.
On August 1st, Ercolani was placed on the 7-day minor league injured list. He would remain on the IL for the remaineder of the minor league season. Ercolani would pitch some for the Salt River Rafters in the Arizona Fall League. Ercolani made 4 relief appearances with the Rafters, posting a 9.82 ERA in 3.2 innings pitched. Ercolani allowed just 2 hits, but walked 11 and hit a batter while striking out 5 in the AFL.
Ercolani will likely begin the 2024 season back with the Marauders. As the season progresses, he should eventually pitch his way to the High-A level. Ercolani is an intriguing arm for Pirate fans to watch moving forward.