Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Two Pitchers to Keep Tabs on As the Season Winds Down

Here are two Pirate pitching prospects that you should focus on as we head into the home stretch

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Tyler Samaniego

I know what you’re saying, why should anyone be interested in a relief prospect with an ERA over 5.50? In my opinion, that’s all the more reason to keep tabs on Tyler Samaniego. The lefty reliever was selected in the 15th round of the 2021 draft. Samaniego did pretty well in 2022, but has struggled this year, despite mostly improving in many areas.

Throughout 36 innings, Samaniego has a 5.50 ERA and 1.44 WHIP, but also has a 2.52 FIP and 3.20 xFIP. Despite his massive rise in ERA, Samaneigo has an outstanding 27.3% strikeout rate and 8.4% walk rate. Both are pretty decent improvements from 2022 at 25.5% and 10.9%, respectively (19.8% and 8.6% at Altoona last season). 

However, Samaniego has an outstanding ability to prevent home runs. He has an HR/9 rate of just 0.25, mainly due to the fact he’s a master at inducing ground balls. He has a 54.2% ground ball rate, as well as a line drive rate just under 20% (18.8%), and fly ball rate well under 30% (27.1%). However, despite this relatively strong batted ball rates, Samaniego has a batting average on balls in play of .396.

That high of a BAbip is unsustainable. The only way it could possibly even come close to keeping up is if Samaniego was giving up a ton of hard hit line drives, which he isn’t. There’s been no luck going into Samaniego’s favor, and it’s sort of helped him stay under the radar. He could end up being a potential left-handed relief option for 2024 and beyond. 

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