Number Three - Starting Pitcher Anthony Solometo
Coming in at number three, we have left-handed pitcher Anthony Solometo. Solometo was the unanimous no. 3 prospect in our writer’s vote and one of only two unanimously voted prospects. Solometo is the last and final high school pitcher we’ll mention today, making him our fourth Ben Cherington Era high school arm of today. Solometo, while not possessing the power of Mueth, Jones or Chandler, has arguably the best command in the system, as well as improving velocity and good secondary offerings.
Solometo currently has a 3.17 ERA, 3.56 FIP, and 1.18 WHIP on the year. The southpaw is striking out 27.1% of opponents while having a 9.1% walk rate, and 0.7 HR/9 rate. Solometo’s numbers at Altoona aren’t too impressive, coming in with a 4.33 ERA, 4.10 FIP, and 1.21 WHIP. But he does have a 7.1% walk rate, a major improvement from Greensboro, as well as striking out nearly a quarter of opponents.
While his Altoona numbers might look like he’s not improving, keep in mind that he’s only 20. He was the youngest pitcher in the Eastern League as late as the trade deadline. Solometo doesn’t turn 21 until December 2nd. The fact he’s even at Double-A at this point is a feat in and of itself. Having league average/slightly above league average numbers there is icing on the cake. Plus, he’s only had one, really bad start where he allowed three earned runs in just one inning.
When the Pirates drafted Solometo, he was sitting in the upper-80s/low-90s. Now, he’s sitting comfortably in the 90 MPH range, and even topping out at 95. It’s more of a sinking action fastball. Solometo’s slider is a second pitch with above average potential. His third pitch, a changeup, sits in the low-80s with spin-killing action.
So how is a guy with no elite offering considered the Pirates’ second-best pitching prospect, and one of their top prospects overall? The first reason is everything sits at an above average level. The second reason is his excellent command. Solometo puts the pitch where he wants and with precision. The third reason is his delivery. He throws with a low sidearm arm slot, as well as a big leg kick. Some have compared it to a mix of Mackenzie Gore and Madison Bumgarner. I see some Dontrell Willis mixed in as well. Regardless of the comparisons, it adds deception and throws hitters off balance.
Solometo is generally considered a top 100 prospect by most sources now. He’s looked great this year, and the fact that he could debut before the 2024 trade deadline gives a lot to be excited for. He might not be the hardest throwing, but his command is above anyone else’s right now.