The Pittsburgh Pirates have moved Anthony Solometo through their minor league system fast, but when will he make his major league debut?
Anthony Solometo has developed into one of the Pittsburgh Pirates top pitching prospects and is now appearing on top 100 lists. MLB Pipeline is the first publication to put him in their top 100, and many more will likely soon follow. Now that Solometo is at Double-A Altoona (and performing extremely well), how much longer will it be until we see the left-hander in the big leagues?
Solometo was selected in the second round of the 2021 draft. While he's just now appearing on the top 100 lists, it's been a long-anticipated and very predictable event. Many saw Solometo as a top-20 talent in the draft but fell to the first pick of the second round because of his signability. Regardless, Solometo then dominated Low-A Bradenton in the second half of last year with a 2.64 ERA, 2.83 FIP, and 1.05 WHIP in 47.2 innings.
Even though Solometo was only going into his age-20 season, the Pirates quickly moved him up the ladder and promoted him to High-A Greensboro to open the 2023 season. Solometo continued to be a highly effective pitcher, working to a 2.30 ERA, 3.13 FIP, and 1.16 WHIP in 58.2 innings. Solometo struck out 29.1% of opponents with an 0.31 HR/9 rate. The southpaw had a ground ball rate approaching 50% at 49.6%. Although he was locating his stuff well, he had a 10.7% walk rate, which was the only minor blemish on his report card for Greensboro.
Because of how effective he was at Greensboro, the Pirates have already moved him to Altoona, where he's made two starts. He's only pitched ten innings but has struck out 13 batters, has allowed just a single home run, has walked two opponents, and only let up two earned runs. At the time of Solometo's promotion, he was just the second youngest player in the Eastern League.
Based on the way Solometo is pitching, you can't rule out him appearing at Triple-A Indianapolis for a few games. This is especially true given that Altoona's season ends a week before Indianapolis' season closes out. But as stated earlier, based on how well Solometo has pitched, he'll probably get to Triple-A well before that point in the season.
There are two times I see Solometo debuting. The first is at the end of this season. This one is a bit of a stretch. Going from High-A ball to the Major Leagues all in one season isn't unheard of, but it's a Grand Canyon-sized leap.
The Pirates were pretty aggressive with getting Roansy Contreras in the big leagues, only giving him two Triple-A outings before getting him to the majors. At the age of 20, he would be the Pirates' youngest Major League player since Bob Kipper in 1985.
The next time he could reach the major leagues would be late May to early June 2024. Now I know, service time and all that, but keep in mind how young Solometo is. When Solometo gets promoted to Triple-A, he will be about seven years younger than the average pitcher in the International League.
While I understand that Pirates fans want to see these top prospects and want the rebuild to start bearing more fruit, Solometo is younger than most college prospects in this year's draft. The Pirates can be both aggressive and patient with Solometo's development. Letting him get a month or two in at Triple-A at the age of 21 really isn't a crime against service time manipulation.
Although there's a possibility the Pirates let Solometo make his debut very late into the season, I think it's more likely we'll see him in the major leagues next year. He very well could have established his presence and become a centerpiece in the Pirate rotation by this time next season.