Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Eight Assigned to the Arizona Fall League

These eight Pirate prospects will participate in the AFL this fall
Oct 26, 2022; Surprise, Arizona, USA; Overall view of Surprise Stadium during an Arizona Fall League
Oct 26, 2022; Surprise, Arizona, USA; Overall view of Surprise Stadium during an Arizona Fall League / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Pitchers Cam Junker, Alessandro Ercolani, J.C. flowers, Tyler Samaniego, Nick Dombkowski

As for the pitching side, righties Cam Junker and Alessandro Ercolani will join lefties J.C. Flowers, Tyler Samaniego, and Nick Dombkowski.

Righty Cam Junker is already 26-years-old and spent the season with Triple-A Indianapolis. His first time at the Triple-A level, Junker pitched 55.1 innings in 45 appearances. He posted a 3.25 ERA, 4.38 FIP, 12.0% walk rate, and a 17.8% strikeout rate. With a strong showing in the AFL Junker could position himself to be in the conversation for some MLB action at some point in 2024.

19-year-old Alessandro Ercolani spent the season with Low-A Bradenton. In 17 appearances, 15 of which were starts, Ercolani posted a 4.43 ERA and a 4.85 FIP in 65.0 innings pitched. Ercolani posted an 11.3% walk rate, 24.0% strikeout rate, and allowed home runs at a rate of 1.11 HR/9. Facing older, more advanced hitters in the AFL will be a strong test for the young righty.

J.C. Flowers entered the season as an intriguing left-handed relief pitching prospect but struggled mightily in his first taste of action at the Triple-A level. In 45.2 innings pitched at Indy, Flowers posted an 8.28 ERA, 6.70 FIP, 16.2% walk rate, 19.2% strikeout rate, and he allowed home runs at a 1.77 HR/9 clip. Hopefully, Flowers can use the AFL to rediscover what made him an intriguing prospect entering the season.

Like Flowers, Tyler Samaniego entered the season as an intriguing lefty relief pitching prospect. Unfortunately, also like Flower, Samaniego struggled. In 47.1 innings pitched with Double-A Altoona, Samaniego posted a 5.51 ERA but his FIP was just 3.25. His ERA was ugly, but Samaniego was hurt by a batting average on balls in play (BAbip) of .392. His 0.38 HR/9 and 26.0% strikeout rate were both very strong.

25-year-old Nick Dombkowski made 33 appearances with 8 starts at Double-A this season. Dombkowski posted a 3.71 ERA, 4.89 FIP, 1.38 HR/9, 7.3% walk rate, and a 16.3% strikeout rate in 85 innings pitched with the Curve. Last week, Dombkowski made his Triple-A debut allowing 3 runs on three hits and three walks in 3 innings pitched.

Throughout the AFL season we will have you covered here at Rum Bunter on how Pirate prospects re performing. Make sure to stay tuned here at Rum Bunter throughout the AFL season for news and updates on these eight Pirate prospects. Salt River’s season is slated to start on October 2nd.

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