Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects 2023 Recap: Inconsistent First Full Pro Season for Cy Nielson

It was an up-and-down first full professional season for left-handed pitcher Cy Nielson
The moon is seen in the second inning of a baseball game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the
The moon is seen in the second inning of a baseball game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

Left-handed relief pitching prospect Cy Nielson had an up-and-down first full professional season in 2023

In the 8th round of the 2022 MLB Draft the Pittsburgh Pirates selected left-handed pitcher Cy Nielson out of BYU. Nielson signed quickly, allowing him to log 8.2 innings in 2022 between the Florida Complex League and Low-A.

In his brief pro debut in 2022, Nielson struggled. He posted an 8.31 ERA and a 6.67 FIP. He allowed 9 hits, walked 8 batters, hit a pair, allowed a home run, and threw a wild pitch while striking out 8. Despite this, he started the 2023 season with the High-A Greensboro Grasshoppers.

Nielson would spend the entire 2023 season with Greensboro. Overall, he posted a 4.44 ERA, 3.92 FIP, 9.9% walk rate, and a 24.9% strikeout rate. These results came in 46.2 innings pitched across 39 appearances.

The biggest issue for Nielson last season was battling with inconsistency.

Through his first 10 innings pitched last season Nielson allowed just 1 earned run, while walking 4 batters and striking out 19. Nielson would then allow 5 earned runs with just 3 strikeouts in his next 6 innings pitched.

This poor stretch was followed by another strong stretch in which Nielson allowed 3 earned runs, walked 8, and struck out 16 in 12.2 innings pitched. The 22-year-old lefty then hit his roughest stretch of the season.

From July 4th through July 30th, Nielson pitched 6 innings. Nielson allowed 9 earned runs on 9 hits, 3 walks. 2 hit batters, 2 wild pitches, and 10 strikeouts during this stretch. In this stretch he pitched just 6 innings, resulting in an ERA of 13.50.

Nielson then finished the season on a mostly high note. He allowed 2 earned runs in 1.2 innings pitched in his lone appearance in September. However, in the month of August Nielson posted a 2.89 ERA while allowing just 8 hits, walking 3, and striking out 8 in 9.1 innings pitched.

Again, it truly was an up-and-down season of inconsistency in 2023 for Nielson.

The strikeout numbers were there for Nielson all season. He also did an excellent job of limiting the long ball, allowing just a single home run (0.19 HR/9). He also posted a very strong 57.4% ground ball rate. All of these stats point toward Nielson being a pitcher who could take a step forward in 2024.

Finding consistency will be the key for Nielson in 2024. Some times, a player simply being in their second full professional season can help with this. Better knowing how to prepare, carry yourself throughout the season, pace yourself, etc. can go a long way toward finding consistency. Your body having a full season under its belt can be very beneficial on the consistency front as well.

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