Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Three Underrated Breakout Candidates for 2023

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Indianapolis Indians - Carmen Mlodzinski

The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Carmen Mlodzinski with their competitive balance pick in the 2020 draft. The 31st overall selection, Mlodzinski showed a ton of promise in 2021, but his 2022 season had its peaks and valleys. Mlodzinski will start the year at Triple-A Indy next season and could (and should) at least make his major league debut, and if he gets off to a strong start, it could be early into the season.

Mlodzinski pitched a total of 105.1 innings at Altoona. He had a 4.78 ERA and 1.41 WHIP, but a solid 3.77 FIP. Mlodzinski managed a solid FIP because of a 24.1% strikeout rate, 8.7% walk rate, and 0.78 HR/9. Some bad batted ball luck did affect Mlodzinski’s seasons as he had a .334 batting average on balls in play.

Mlodzinski’s numbers fluctuated a ton this season. In April, he registered a 5.28 ERA/5.24 FIP, and while he had a 5.00 ERA in May, he also had a 3.25 FIP. June was a great month for Mlodzinski given he had a 2.61 ERA and 3.61 FIP. His worst month was July as he had a 7.71 ERA and 4.96 FIP. August was a lot like May as he had a 5.96 ERA, but 3.84 FIP. September was a high note for him with a 2.57 ERA and 1.91 FIP. Needless to say, consistency was not something Mlodzinski had in 2022.

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The right-hander typically sits 94-96 MPH with his fastball while mixing in a slider and changeup. All three of his offerings project as above average, per MLB Pipeline. FanGraphs isn’t as bullish on him as they see both his fastball and slider as average pitches and his changeup as a 45-grade offering. His overall command is average as well. He did slightly improve his walk rate from Greensboro to Altoona, going from 9.4% to 8.7%.