Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Focusing On Pitching Will Benefit Bubba Chandler

North Oconee  s Bubba Chandler (16) throws a pitch during game one of a GHSA AAAA semifinal between
North Oconee s Bubba Chandler (16) throws a pitch during game one of a GHSA AAAA semifinal between / Joshua L. Jones via Imagn Content

Bubba Chandler will now focus on just one aspect of his game in 2023, and that is pitching. He showed why he was a first-round talent last year on the mound and he will look to continue his growth and development as a pitcher only this upcoming season.

Sam Dykstra from MLB Pipeline reported in late February that Bubba Chandler was informed by the team that he will only focus on pitching this upcoming season. Chandler was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates back in 2021 in the third round. He signed for 3 million dollars. He was promised an opportunity to be a two-way player by the organization.

The Pirates gave Chandler a chance to prove he could do both. In 2022, he pitched and played DH during the season. He did see action at the shortstop and DH 2021 as well but did not pitch. Throughout his short minor league career, Chandler has had 102 at-bats with a slash line of .196/.331/.336 with just 4 home runs. As a pitcher, he has been far more dominant. He finished last season with a 2.61 ERA in 41.1 innings pitched with 60 strikeouts in 14 games. He started 11 of the 14 games and showed his athleticism on the mound.

He started out 2022 in the FCL where he dominated with his high 90s fastball. Most of the batters he faced in that league do not typically see that kind of velocity, so he got away with it during his time there. In 6 games in the FCL, Chandler pitched 15.1 innings allowing 0 earned runs and giving up just 3 hits. However, he did walk 10 batters which showed he needed to work on his control. On July 12th, Chandler was promoted to Low-A Bradenton. He pitched in 8 games posting a 4.15 ERA. He struck out 33 batters and allowed 18 walks.

Now that Chandler will just focus on pitching in 2023, he should grow as a pitcher and develop his secondary pitches. It should be a fun year to watch him on the mound this season.

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