Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Jun-Seok Shim Potential Rank in the Organization

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The Pittsburgh Pirates are looking to finalize a deal to secure top international pitching prospect Jun-Seok Shim, but where will he rank among the team's best prospects?

The Pittsburgh Pirates are looking to finalize their deal with Jun-Seok Shim over the next few days. Shim is considered the best international pitcher available in this year’s market. Once the ink dries and Shim dons black and gold, where could we expect to see Shim rank among prospect charts?

Shim certainly has a high ceiling. The South Korean right-hander will automatically become one of the organization's hardest-throwing prospects. He’s already sitting 94-96 MPH at just 18 years old, but he’s shown plenty more velocity. Shim has been able to crank the heat up and hit triple digits. Jared Jones, Tahnaj Thomas, and Luis Ortiz are the Pirates' only pitching prospects who can consistently hit 100+ MPH.

His curveball has also received high praise from MLB Pipeline. They’ve given it glowing reviews for his true 12-6 shape. They also state that both his slider and changeup have shown progress. Shim’s last two offerings could also become plus pitches. That gives him an arsenal of two pitches with elite potential and two more with above-average potential. 

On top of that, he throws everything with decent command. He has quick arm action and athleticism on the mound. He’s essentially everything you’d want from a top pitching prospect: velocity, a wide variety of offerings, solid command, and athleticism that helps him on the mound. 

Considering his high ceiling, you have to imagine that he’d be among the Pirates’ best prospects. As of right now, I doubt that many sources would rank him among the organization's top ten prospects. Rarely do you see young international guys you see coming out of the international market are never ranked super high on prospect lists.

But Shim has a chance to potentially rank top 20, and maybe even the top 15. Shim is older than most international prospects. 2023 will be his age-19 campaign, so there’s a decent chance he makes his professional debut at a full-season level of the minor leagues, like the Low-A Bradenton Marauders. For reference, the top international prospect per MLB Pipeline, Ethan Salas, will turn 17 on June first. Many others like Felnin Celesten, Joendry Vargas, Enmanuel Bonilla, and Sebastian Walcott will still only be 17 by the end of the 2023 season.

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Given that Shim is older than your typical top international prospect and his extremely high ceiling on the mound, I think there’s a chance he ends up in the Pirates’ top 20 prospects. At the very highest, he makes the top 15, though that might be stretching it. Either way, once the ink dries, he should become one of the Pirates’ top prospects.