Anthony Solometo is the organization's best left-handed pitching prospect. Drafted in the second round of the 2021 draft, Solometo was one of the Bucs’ multiple high school draft picks. After a strong debut in 2022, Solometo further built upon that in 2023 with a solid season between High-A Greensboro and Double-A Altoona.
Through 110.1 innings, Solometo owned a 3.26 ERA, 3.46 FIP, and 1.19 WHIP. The southpaw struck out 26.2% of the batters he faced with an 8.6% walk rate. However, his best peripheral was his HR/9 rate of 0.65. His batted ball profile was also decent, with a 17.7% line drive rate and 44.8% ground ball rate.
On paper, Solometo’s 4.35 ERA, 3.84 FIP, and 1.22 WHIP aren’t great, especially at Double-A. But let’s add some context to Solometo’s numbers.
First, he was 20 and didn’t turn 21 until December. Solometo made a dozen starts and is the 11th youngest pitcher to make that many starts in one season at Double-A over the last five minor league seasons and the 4th youngest pitcher in the Eastern League over the last ten minor league seasons. The lefty still had an above-average 6.3% walk rate, 1.05 HR/9, 3.57 K:BB ratio, and WHIP. His ERA was only worse by 0.07 runs, and his strikeout rate was worse than average by about 1.7%. But his walk rate got 4.2% better from Greensboro to Altoona.
Solometo does not throw hard, averaging 91-94 MPH, topping out at 95. But he has steadily gained velocity since he was drafted. When the Pirates originally took Solometo, he was only sitting 88-91 MPH. Now, he could be topping out in the mid-90s when he reaches MLB. Along with improving velocity, he throws his four-seamer with some sink at the bottom of the zone.
Solometo’s fastball has improved, but it’s not the only pitch in his arsenal that looks good. His slider comes in the mid-80s and is the pitch he gets most of his swings and misses on. Don’t sleep on his change-up, however. According to MLB Pipeline, Solometo has shown more confidence in this pitch as time has gone on, throwing it more often to right-handed hitters.
Solometo might not have one plus offering in his arsenal, but there are many facets of his game that make his stuff play up. First is his wind-up. He has a low arm slot that many have compared to Madison Bumgarner, giving batters less of a chance to barrel the ball up. He also has a decent amount of deception because of his motion on the mound. Solometo can throw all his pitches exactly where he wants. He has arguably the best command of any pitcher in the system right now.
Between all that, Solometo could make his debut sometime in the second half of the year. He will be 21 for all of the 2024 campaign, and if he pitches anything like he did at Altoona, he’ll become a long-term member and important cog of the Pirates’ pitching staff.