Zander Mueth was taken in the 2nd round of the most recent draft as their competitive balance round pick. Mueth was arguably the Pirates’ second-best pick of this year’s draft. In my opinion, Mueth has one of the highest ceilings among the high school players the Pirates took. But because the names ahead of Mueth have been given at least one entire season, he is currently ranked here.
Mueth turned 18 right before the draft in late-June but is already sitting 92-95 MPH. He tops out in the upper-90s with sinking action to his fastball. Mueth’s best secondary is his sweeping slider. MLB Pipeline states that he throws his slider with so much movement that he can have trouble locating it in the strike zone. Mueth’s third pitch, his change-up, will need some improvement. It has many characteristics to his fastball, but if he can throw it with more sink and less velocity, it could be a third above-average offering.
The most impressive part about all of this is that Mueth throws with a low arm slot, one that is reminiscent of Boston Red Sox right-hander Tanner Houck. The potential to pump mid-to-upper-90s fastballs with his arm angle would be fun to watch. The thing that Mueth will need to improve upon is his control, especially over his slider.
I think Mueth has an extremely high ceiling, even higher than Kennedy. If Mueth gets his command under wraps, you’re talking about a kid who has the potential to toss a mid-90s fastball from a near sidearm-like arm angle, as well as a sweeping slider and average changeup who can locate to an average degree. Mueth isn’t higher on today’s list because he’s yet to have a chance to develop and show what he can do and what improvements he can make.