The 2023 season saw Pittsburgh Pirates pitching prospect Anthony Solometo reach the Double-A level, where he struggled down the stretch after initial success
After being selected 37th overall in the 2021 MLB Draft and being given a big signing bonus to spur his commitment to North Carolina, lefty Anthony Solometo quickly became one of the top pitching prospects in the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system. His plus stuff combined with a strong 2022 season at Low-A Bradenton led to Solometo entering the 2023 season with high expectations.
Did Solometo meet those expectations in 2023? Well, for most of the season he undoubtedly he did. Even though he finished the season with some struggles in his final 9 starts, Solometo's 2023 season was another big step forward.
Solometo started the season with the High-A Greensboro Grasshoppers, an aggressive promotion for his age, making 11 starts. With the Grasshoppers, he pitched extremely well posting a 2.47 ERA, 3.35 FIP, 11.5% walk rate, 28.1% strikeout rate, and limited opposing batters to a .198 batting average in 54.2 innings pitched.
His success with Greensboro led to an even more aggressive promotion, as he earned the call to Double-A Altoona.
When Solometo first arrived in Double-A he continued to pitch well. In his first three starts with the Curve, Solometo allowed 2 earned runs on 9 hits, 3 walks, a home run allowed, and 18 strikeouts. These results came in 15 innings pitched.
Across his final 9 starts of the season, Solometo would struggle. He pitched 36.2 innings in these 9 starts, posting a 5.65 ERA and a 4.45 FIP. He walked 6.9% of batters faced, struck batters out at a 20.0% clip, and opposing batters hit .274 off of him. He also struggled with the long ball, allowing home runs at a 1.23 HR/9 rate.
All told, Solometo made 13 starts with Altoona, posting a 4.04 ERA and a 3.58 FIP in 55.2 innings pitched. He walked 6.0% of batters faced, struck batters out at a 24.4% rate, allowed home runs at a 0.97 HR/9 rate, and held opposing batters to a .249 batting average.
Overall, those are strong numbers for Solometo in his first taste of action at the Double-A level. Especially since he was very young for Double-A at just 20-years-old. Due to his age, the late season struggles of Solometo should not be viewed as a concern.
When the 2024 season begins Solometo will likely be back in Altoona. If he pitches well, he could see a promotion to Triple-A Indianaplis around the same time in the season he was promoted to Altoona this past season. That could then put Solometo in position to make his major league debut late in the 2024 season.