Bubba Chandler has always been a relatively highly touted prospect. He's ranked as a top-ten prospect in the Pirates system since they took him in the third round in 2021. However, after the second half of his 2023 campaign, Chandler showed a ton of promise and started to refine his raw talent.
Through his final 48.1 innings, Chandler owned an ERA of just 1.66 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, and 3.85 FIP. All of Chandler's peripherals had improvements. His 25.4% strikeout rate in the first half of the season rose to 28.2%, and his HR/9 went from 1.24 to 0.92, but his walk rate is the massive reason why we could see him on multiple top 100 lists.
Chandler had a 12.5% walk rate through the year's first half. But then, he cut that to just 7.2% in the second half of the year. In six of his nine starts, Chandler pitched at least five innings and allowed two or fewer free passes. Four of those outings saw him not allow a single walk.
There's never been a question about Chandler's stuff. He throws mid-upper-90s with his four-seam fastball. His slider sits in the mid-80s and has above-average action. According to Baseball America, he's significantly improved the command on his changeup. MLB Pipeline also likes his curveball, projecting it as an above-average fourth offering.
Again, there was never any question about Chandler's potential. But now that he's starting to throw strikes more consistently, you might start seeing him as a top-100 prospect across the league. The athleticism he used as a shortstop in high school and early on in his pro career is coming around as good command on the mound.