Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Prospects You Forgot Were About

Sports Contributor Archive 2015
Sports Contributor Archive 2015 / Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages
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Brennan Malone

If there was a player in the system I would sell my soul to stay healthy, it would be Brennan Malone. Malone was one of the first players the Pirates’ acquired to kick the rebuild off. He was sent from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Bucs in the Starling Marte trade. At the time, Malone looked like he could be a top 100 prospect within a year’s time. He was considered one of the best high school arms going into the draft and was picked 33rd overall to an over-slot deal.

At the time the D-Backs drafted Malone, and the Pirates acquired him via trade, his fastball was a weapon with elite potential. He was already hitting the mid-90s regularly in his teens. He paired that with a well-above-average slider, an 11-5 curveball, and a change-up. All four of Malone’s pitches looked excellent in high school and during his first brief look against professional batters in the D-Backs’ system.

On top of excellent stuff, he also showed he could command it as well. With plus athleticism, it all looked like it could work out for Malone in the long run. He had all the hallmarks of a top pitching prospect: four average or better offerings, solid command, and athleticism. But injuries have simply torn up his pro career.

Since getting drafted in 2019, Malone has just 27 professional innings to his name. It’s been injury after injury for the right-hander. Malone is still young, and he’ll only be entering his age-22 campaign. You might see him at Greensboro next year if he manages to pitch at all. Since his acquisition, many more pitching prospects have been added to the system.

Maybe, just maybe, he stays healthy next year and starts to show what made him a first-round draft pick. One positive sign is that he has no restrictions in Spring Training this year. While I’m not going to hold my breath on a healthy Brennan Malone season, there’s no player I want to see put something together more than him. He could be a real x-factor to the Pirate future if he stays healthy.