The Pittsburgh Pirates High-A affiliate, the Greensboro Grasshoppers, could soon receive a major rotation boost in the form of Thomas Harrington.
The Pittsburgh Pirates High-A affiliate, the Greensboro Grasshoppers, already has a fairly strong pitching rotation. Headlined by top prospects Bubba Chandler and Anthony Solometo, they are supported by Po-Yu Chen and Braxton Ashcraft. However, they could soon receive another notable pitching prospect and a strong reinforcement in Thomas Harrington.
Harrington was the Pirates’ first-round competitive balance pick last season. In his final year at Campbell University, Harrington worked to a 2.53 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and 6.2 K:BB ratio through 92.2 innings. The right-hander displayed outstanding control, limiting walks to a 4.9% rate. But he wasn’t in all control with no strikeouts. He racked up strikeouts at a 30% rate. While both were strong remarks, they pale in comparison to his 0.1 HR/9 rate.
Although Harrington didn’t make his professional debut until this year, he’s made a nice first impression for the Bradenton Marauders, the level below Greensboro. It’s been just 24.2 innings, but he’s only allowed 10 earned runs. He’s got a solid 8.3% walk rate and 26.4% strikeout rate, but he’s continued to keep the ball in the park with a 0.48 HR/9. According to xFIP, he has gotten slightly lucky with a 3.92 mark, though that’s because he has a 40% ground ball rate and 38.8% fly ball rate. It’s a small sample size, so his expected numbers could closely resemble his actual numbers, given more playing time.
It’s a little surprising that Harrington isn’t already at Greensboro. He’s younger than Bubba Chandler and Anthony Solometo by nearly an entire year and younger than Chen by a couple of months. The only major starting pitching prospect currently stationed at Greensboro that isn’t younger than Harrington is Ashcraft, who missed nearly three years.
Now granted, Harrington has much less experience than Solometo, Chandler, Chen, or Ashcraft. Ashcraft was drafted in 2018, Chen played in both 2021 and 2022, while Solometo and Chandler both got an extended look at Bradenton last season. Harrington had no pro experience going into 2023. However, that doesn’t mean he won’t receive a first-half promotion.
Harrington is one of the Pirates’ most talented pitching prospects. It’s not as if he doesn’t have the talent to get moved to the next level of the minor leagues. While it is a small sample size in Bradenton to get a good reading of just how good he’s been, there’s no doubt he could eventually work his way into top 100 prospect talks. Showing off what he can do at Greensboro could be the catalyst to earn that notion, and he could add a major reinforcement to their staff.