Last week, the Pittsburgh Pirates promoted one of their top pitching prospects Luis Ortiz. Ortiz broke out last year after throwing upper 90s consistently as a starting pitcher. However, the Bucs have since changed their approach with him trying to make him rely on getting the ball in play for outs rather than blowing it by everyone.
Like Ortiz, Quinn Priester is also developing a two-seam fastball to help induce ground outs. Priester has been working on that pitch a lot this season. His velocity has been in the lower 90s, but that is expected with the change in grip. Priester needed to add this pitch, his 4-seam fastball has good velocity but not an impressive spin rate.
The 2023 season did not start on the right foot for Priester. The Pittsburgh Pirates assigned him to Triple-A, giving expectations for him to make the Big Leagues this year. His ERA by the end of April was over 7.
However, it may make sense as to why. If you have ever thrown a two-seam fastball compared to a four-seam fastball it is a different feel. The seams ride on your fingers making it slightly harder to control and put max velocity into. So has Priester been working on development more than just going out a blowing people away?
2019 First Round Pick Quinn Priester is showing the Pittsburgh Pirates why he was a first round pick.
It seems like a real possibility. Things have gone much better for Priester in the month of May. His ERA for the month is currently at an impressive 1.42. The Indianapolis Indians recently posted on their Twitter about the dominance of the former first-round selection:
Quinn Priester is taking a significant step forward right now in Triple-A. This is good news as we have already seen multiple starting pitchers go down due to injury. Vince Velasquez is slated to return sometime next week. Luis Ortiz will likely have one more start before being demoted. If Ortiz looks as shaky as he has in his first two starts, then Priester could potentially leapfrog him down the road.