Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Two High Ceiling Starting Pitchers Shine

Feb 22, 2023; Bradenton, FL, USA;  Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Jared Jones (81) poses for photos
Feb 22, 2023; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Jared Jones (81) poses for photos / Dave Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
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A pair of high-ceiling starting pitching prospects turned in strong starts in the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system on Friday night

The starting pitching depth of the Pittsburgh Pirates has been hit hard this season. Injuries to JT Brubaker, Mike Burrows, and Vince Velasquez has left the team without three of their top seven starting pitching options.

Well, with these injuries piling up, in recent weeks a former first-round pick has started to step up in the minors leagues. The former first-round pick that has begun to step up is Quinn Priester. Friday night, Priester turned in yet another strong start for the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians.

In an 11-0 shutout victory over the Toldeo Mud Hens, a win that improves the Indians to 26-28 on the season, Priester fired 6 shutout innings. Priester allowed four hits, walked three, and struck out six. He threw 59 of 92 pitches for strikes and induced six ground ball outs.

On the season Priester now owns a 4.38 ERA and a 23:53 BB:K ratio in 51.1 innings pitched across 11 starts. Since the start of May, however, Priester has been just about as good as any starting pitcher in the International League.

In his last six starts Priester has posted a 2.31 ERA in 31.2 innings pitched. He's allowed 26 hits, just one home run, has not hit a batter, he's walked 14, and struck out 28. Of the 8 earned runs he's allowed since the start of May, 5 of them came in one start.

Priester taking a step forward and finding his former first-round pick pedigree was arguably the single biggest thing the Pirate organizaiton needed to happen this season. Well, since the start of May, that is exactly what Priester has accomplished.

Offensively, Miguel Andújar remained red hot for the Indians. Playing in left field Andújar was 1-for-3 with two walks, two runs scored, and a 3-run home run. This gives Andújar 6 Triple-A home runs on the season.

Canaan Smith-Njigba also went deep for the Indians, giving him 7 on the season. Smith-Njigba finished the game 2-for-5 with three walks and four RBI. Nick Gonzales was 2-for-4 with a walk and a RBI, while Travis Swaggerty was 1-for-4 with a walk, RBI, and two runs scored.

Endy Rodriguez also continued his recent hot stretch. The Pirate catching prospect was 3-for-5 with a run scored. He now owns a .739 OPS on the season, but has been red hot at the plate in the last week.