Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Recapping Thomas Harrington's Promising Season

Pirates' pitching prospect Thomas Harrington produced a promising season.
Philadelphia Phillies v Pittsburgh Pirates
Philadelphia Phillies v Pittsburgh Pirates / Justin Berl/GettyImages

Pittsburgh Pirates pitching prospect Thomas Harrington produced a very promising season between Bradenton and Greensboro this season

The Pittsburgh Pirates took right-hander Thomas Harrington out of Campbell University with their first-round competitive balance pick in the 2022 draft. Harrington did not debut until the 2023 minor league season, but his first professional season was a good one. Overall, it was an extremely promising year where he proved he was one of the Pirates’ best pitching prospects.

Harrington ended the 2023 season pitching to the tune of a 3.53 ERA, 4.00 FIP, and 1.24 WHIP in 127.1 innings split between Low-A Bradenton and High-A Greensboro. He struck out a healthy amount of batters with a 27.8% strikeout rate but also had a quality 7.8% walk rate and a respectable 0.99 HR/9 rate. 

While his numbers at Bradenton were better than they were at Greensboro, he still pitched relatively well at High-A, working to a 3.87 ERA, 4.11 FIP, and 1.30 WHIP. There were a handful of positives to Harrington’s High-A numbers. He struck out more batters, going from a 26.7% strikeout rate to 28.2%, while his walk rate took a slight dip from 8% to 7.7%. Even though his HR/9 rate rose from 0.69 to 1.12, he also moved from a slightly less home-run-friendly league to a more homer-friendly environment. The average HR/9 in the Florida State League (Bradenton) was 0.74, while the average HR/9 in the South Atlantic League (Greensboro) was 0.95 in comparison.

Still, Harrington’s numbers at Greensboro were good, and it was a slight surprise that he didn’t debut at Altoona. Regardless, Harrington showed off a ton of promise. As per Stuff+, Harrington displayed some of the best offerings at Low-A this year with Bradenton:

Harrington throws in the lower-90s, but his fastball plays beyond his velocity. He spins the pitch well, and it carries through the zone. His best breaking pitch is a slider that is above average but flashes plus potential. His curveball is described as more of a get-me-over type offering, but one that he can rely on. But his best pitch is his change-up, a solidly plus offering with tumbling action.

The ball comes out of his hand at a three-quarters arm slot. Harrington was a two-way athlete in high school, playing quarterback, and he’s been able to translate that athleticism to the mound. That’s helped him develop plus command over his stuff. 

Many saw Harrington as a high-floor-low-ceiling type of pitching prospect, but he’s definitely shown the ability to outgrow that moniker. His stuff looks better than ever, and he should start the season at Altoona next season. If he continues to pitch well, there’s a very real chance he sees the big leagues by the end of the season.

Next. 5 FA pitching targets. 5 Under-the-Radar Free Agent Pitchers. dark