Pittsburgh Pirates: Three More Super Sleeper Prospects to Watch in 2024

Here are three more super sleeper prospects in the Pirates' system to watch in 2024.

The Florida Complex League (FCL) Orioles played their first night game against the (FCL) Pirates at
The Florida Complex League (FCL) Orioles played their first night game against the (FCL) Pirates at / THOMAS BENDER/HERALD-TRIBUNE / USA TODAY
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Joshua Loeschorn

The Pirates drafted Joshua Loeschorn in the 20th round of the 2022 draft. Loeschorn was spending his time in the Frontier League after the college season had ended at Long Island University, where he had some decent numbers in his final year. Loeschorn’s first pro season went relatively well. He was mostly used as a long reliever with four starts mixed in, but overall, he was solid.

In 68 innings between A-Ball Bradenton and High-A Greensboro, Loeschorn had a 3.97 ERA but a 3.70 FIP and 1.04 WHIP. He kept batters to an average right around the Mendoza line at .204, as well as striking out nearly a third of them with a 32.6% strikeout rate. Walks were a non-issue as he dished out a free pass at a 7.3% rate. Home runs did give him a little bit of trouble. Loeschorn had a 1.06 HR/9 and only had an average ground ball rate.

But his numbers weren’t bad once you remove his four starts. These four outings inflated his numbers to a degree, and he was a better pitcher out of the bullpen. His ERA drops to 3.74 out of the bullpen, while his HR/9 goes from above 1.0 to just 0.81. Half of Loeschorn’s starts saw him allow three or more earned runs, while only three of his games out of the bullpen saw him allow three or more ERs.

Loeschorn throws a wide variety of pitches with good command. His arm-side run sinker is his primary fast pitch, which only sits around 90-91 MPH and about 2350 RPM. The right-hander’s primary breaking ball is a 79-80 MPH slider with around 2300 RPM. Loeschorn also throws a curveball, which is an upper-70s pitch with the most spin of any of his offerings, which is around 2500 RPM. He throws a pretty hard changeup, which sits mid-80s. His fifth pitch, a cutter, is his least used offering.

Loeschorn displayed decent control throughout his first pro season and also had a sub-7% walk rate in his final college campaign. He has a repeatable delivery that comes out to a side arm arm slot, which adds some deception to his pitches.

So far, Loeschorn has pitched well as a pro. Since next year is his age-24 season, and he already pitched at Greensboro, we may see him start the year at Altoona. That will obviously be the real test. The jump from High-A and Double-A is the most difficult move in the minor leagues. Hopefully, Loeschorn can make the transition successfully, as he could find himself as a multi-inning reliever for the Pirates in the near future.