Thomas Harrington is an overlooked prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system, but could rise to become the second best pitching prospect in the organization
Baseball teams are always in need of pitching. No matter what level of baseball it is, teams can never have too much pitching, especially starting pitching. Right now, this is certainly a big need for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Looking ahead to the start of the season, the Pirate rotation is currently shaping up as the worst in the National League Central and one of the worst in the entire league. Unfortunately, there is little help on the horizon.
JT Brubaker and Mike Burrows could provide rotation boosts, but both are working their way back from Tommy John surgery which always comes with question marks. Plus, pre-injury Brubaker was a middle/back of the rotation arm and Burrows has never pitched in the majors.
You have Jared Jones at Triple-A, but there are questions about him needing to developing a third pitch and he struggled mightily at Triple-A last season. Whoever does not make the Opening Day rotation out of Bailey Falter, Luis Ortiz, Quinn Priester, and Roansy Contreras do not appear that they will be of much help, either.
As you begin to look further down the Pirate farm system, you begin to come across pitching prospects such as Anthony Solometo and Bubba Chandler. However, Solometo struggled after being promoted to Double-A last season and Chandler had a poor season at High-A.
One overlooked arm in the Pirate farm system is righty Thomas Harrington. The Pirates selected Harrington out of Campbell University with the 36th overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft. Harrington seemed to get lost in the shuffle of the 2022 Pirate draft class, but he has the potential to become a solid no. 3 starting pitcher in the majors.
Harrington started the 2023 season with Low-A Bradenton. With the Marauders, he posted a 2.77 ERA and a 3.75 FIP in 39 innings pitched across 8 starts. This earned Harrington a promotion to High-A Greensboro, where he pitched 88.1 innings in 18 starts with the Grasshoppers.
Across the two levels, Harrington pitched 127.1 innings in 26 starts. He posted a 3.53 ERA, 4.00 FIP, 7.8% walk rate, and a strikeout rate of 27.8%. Harrington allowed just 14 home runs, which comes out to a 0.99 HR/9. Not spectacular numbers for Harrington, but overall solid.
Harrington throws a four pitch mix with a fastball, changeup, slider, and curveball.
His fastball sits in the low to mid 90s and averages out at around 92/93 MPH. The pitch also has a lot of run and carry, making it more difficult to hit. His changeup generates a lot of swing-and-miss and his slider has flashed plus potential. Harrington's curveball is still a bit of a work in progress but works for him.
Harrington could begin the 2024 season back at High-A Greensboro, but it would not a surprise either to see the Pirates be more aggressive and send him to Double-A Altoona. If Harrington can repeat his success from last season he will continue to climb through the Pirate farm system and become one of the organization's best starting pitching prospects. Potentially, even their second-best starting pitching prospect behind Paul Skenes.