Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Sleeper Player From Each Minor League Level

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Altoona - RHP Sean Sullivan

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Sean Sullivan is my favorite unranked pitching prospect in the Pirates’ system. An 8th-round pick in 2021, Sullivan’s 2022 season had its pros and cons, but it certainly led to a decent amount of promise going forward. Now at Altoona, Sullivan has continued to be a solid pitcher.

In 47 innings, Sullivan owns a 2.87 ERA, 3.77 FIP, and 1.17 WHIP. While Sullivan’s strikeout rate is 21.1%, he holds a robust 7.8% walk rate. On average, Sullivan allowed nearly two home runs every nine innings in 2022. But he’s cut his HR/9 to just 0.77 this season. Weirdly enough, despite cutting his HR/9 down by over a whole home run, he’s become much more of a fly ball pitcher.

Sullivan only sits in the low-90s but can hit 94-95 MPH. When Sullivan throws his fastball low in the zone, it has some sinking action, but it can ride through the top of the zone when he throws high. He pairs that with a low-80s slider and upper-70s curveball. Of his two secondary offerings, his slider is the better one. He also throws an upper-80s changeup with some fading action.

Sullivan also has a surprising amount of deception in his wind-up. The way he winds up almost makes you think he’s a sidearmer. But then he releases the ball at a three-quarters arm slot. It’s also a swift arm motion, going from wind-up to release in a whippy, high-speed action.

Sullivan is deceptively young. He’s only 22-years-old and won’t turn 23 until October second. He’s the second youngest pitcher at Altoona, formerly flanked by Jared Jones and now by Anthony Solometo. But there’s a chance for four average offerings and above-average command within Sullivan.