Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Three Storylines to Follow in 2024

Let's look at three storylines to follow among the Pirates' top prospects.

Altoona Curve starting pitcher Paul Skenes throws against the Erie SeaWolves at UPMC Park in Erie on
Altoona Curve starting pitcher Paul Skenes throws against the Erie SeaWolves at UPMC Park in Erie on / GREG WOHLFORD/ERIE TIMES-NEWS / USA
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Bubba Chandler's second half and Altoona

Bubba Chandler has two storylines for the 2024 season. The first is if he can continue to be dominant after his outstanding second half. Chandler pitched 48.2 innings after the All-Star break, working to a phenomenal 1.66 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, and 3.85 FIP. Chandler significantly cut his walk rate down from 12.5% in the first half to just 7.2% after the break. He also carried a quality 28.2% strikeout rate with a respectable 0.92 HR/9.

Chandler greatly struggled with limiting free passes, which was one of the major reasons for his first-half struggles. But in six of his nine post All-Star game starts, Chandler allowed two or fewer walks and never allowed more than three. He also went at least five innings in eight of his second-half outings.

The second storyline to follow regarding Chandler is how he will fare at Double-A. Chandler's final start of the season was for Altoona where he reeled off five near perfect innings with eight strikeouts. He allowed just one hit in his Altoona debut. The jump between High-A and Double-A is considered the most important and largest jump across all minor league levels.

Chandler's ERA from the second half of 2023 could double next year and he'd still have an ERA under 3.50. If Chandler pitches anything like he did in July-September last year, he could easily get to the majors by summer.