Left-handed pitcher Hunter Barco
Our second former second-round pitching prospect we will discuss, Hunter Barco has just recently returned to action after missing a good chunk of this year. The Pirates drafted Barco out of the University of Florida, knowing he’d miss at least half of the 2023 campaign. Barco had undergone Tommy John surgery in May, which cut his season short. However, he was pitching well leading up to the surgery, working to a 2.50 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, and 6.27 K:BB ratio through 50.1 innings.
Barco has only managed 17.2 innings since his return, but those have been 17.2 strong innings. He has allowed six earned runs, but has struck out 28 while walking five. Barco has yet to allow a home run this year. Barco has been an extreme ground ball pitcher thus far, inducing a grounder 56.4% of the time. The lefty is a soft tosser, but has been extremely effective thus far. The Pirates will likely stretch him out for more innings and get him geared up for a full 2023 campaign, one that could significantly boost his prospect stock.