Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Players Set to Benefit From a Full Season

Bishop Eustace's Anthony Solometo delivers a pitch during Bishop Eustace's 2-0 victory over Ocean
Bishop Eustace's Anthony Solometo delivers a pitch during Bishop Eustace's 2-0 victory over Ocean / Chris LaChall/Courier-Post via Imagn
4 of 4

Bubba Chandler

After the Pittbsurgh Pirates selected Solometo and White Jr., they then went on to pick Bubba Chandler. Chandler was one of the most talented high schoolers in the draft. A two-way player who had a football commitment to Clemson, Chandler fell to the third round because of signability. Many had him as a top 20 pick and top 15 talent.

Chandler only pitched 41.1 innings last year between the Pirates' Complex affiliate and their A-Ball affiliate, but he did quite well. He worked to a 2.61 ERA, 3.85 FIP, and 1.23 WHIP. Chandler struck out a whole lot of batters. Batters struck out at a 34.7% rate against him, and he also kept the ball in the park. Chandler had a 0.65 HR/9, but where he struggled was limiting walks (16.2% walk rate).

Although the Pirates drafted Chandler as a two-way player, he's looked much better on the mound. That still doesn't mean he has zero potential as a batter. In 124 plate appearances, Chandler posted solid numbers, including a .196/.331/.382 line, a 16.1% walk rate, and a .186 isolated slugging percentage. This all adds up to a 104 wRC+. While that only makes him a slightly above average hitter, and he still struck out nearly a third of the time (33.1% strikeout rate), you tell me how many pitchers hit semi-regularly, walk over 15% of the time, and have an isolated slugging percentage approaching .200.

The right-hander was averaging out in the mid-to-upper-90s on the mound. Aside from his fastball, he also throws a power curve in the upper-70s. His slider hasn't been used as often, but it's still a pitch that has flashed above-average potential when he has used it. He also features the occasional change-up, another offering he has a feel for. All of his pitches have distinct speed ranges as well.

One thing I think a lot of fans overlook is his athleticism. The Pirates drafted him as a two-way player at pitcher and shortstop, which is considered the most athletically-needed infield position. Chandler has made some very nice plays off the mound, but he can use that athleticism to his advantage in other ways. It could also help his longevity, stamina on the mound, and ability to command the ball in the future. FanGraphs projects him to grow into 55-grade command eventually.

Chandler should start the year at Bradenton next year but could eventually work himself into playing time at High-A Greensboro. He and Solometo have a very good chance of being a consensus top 100 prospects by the end of the year. Even if he only produces similar results with his bat, he's more than a good enough pitcher to make up for it.

Next. Mike Burrows Working On Adding New Pitch. dark