Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Sleeper Player From Each Minor League Level

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Greensboro - LHP Cy Nielson

Now moving up to Greensboro, we’ll turn out attention to another relief pitching prospect. This time, it’s left-hander Cy Nielson. The Pirates selected Nielson in the 8th round of the 2022 draft. Only 22 years old, Nielson has already carved out a high-leverage role with Greensboro and could very well get moved to the next level of the minor leagues very shortly.

Nielson has been nothing short of outstanding for Greensboro. In 26 innings, the Southpaw owns a 2.42 ERA, 2.92 FIP, and 1.08 WHIP. Nielson has a strikeout rate of 30.3% but is also rocking a strong 8.3% walk rate. However, like Harbin, Nielson’s ability to limit home runs is unmatched. He’s arguably the best at limiting home runs in the minor leagues right now for the Pirates. Nielson hasn’t generated ground balls at the same rate that Harbin has, but he still has an elite 62.1% rate. That’s undoubtedly helped him in allowing zero home runs all year.

Not allowing a single home run in an extended look at Greensboro is very impressive. He’s taken over a late-inning/high-leverage role for Greensboro as well, racking up four holds and seven saves. While Nielson has been a highly effective late-inning arm so far this year, he doesn’t have the same stuff you’d typically see from relievers.

Nielson sits in the low-90s, topping out around 95 MPH. However, he throws a sweeping slider that averaged out over 40 inches of vertical break last season. Nielson also throws a low-spin change-up. He’s not a high-octane reliever, and while there is a chance he can add an extra tick of velocity, he’s shown he can be highly effective despite the lack of speed.