Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Underrated Prospects Who Could Debut In 2024

The Pirates could see these three underrated prospects reach the bigs in 2024.

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Po-Yu Chen

One of the Pirates' top international signings from the 2020-2021 off-season will likely be part of a stacked Double-A rotation. Behind Skenes, Chandler, Harrington, and possibly Solometo, you have Taiwanese right-hander Po-Yu Chen. Chen has shown promise at each and every level thus far and now will test his skill against upper-level competition.

Chen had a 4.44 ERA, 5.22 FIP, and 1.38 WHIP in 119.2 innings. Looking at those numbers, they're not very good, but take it with some context. Chen had a HR/9 of 1.68, but I would not take his home run rate at face value. Chen had a 20.8% HR/FB ratio in the home run-friendly confines of the Grasshoppers' park, First National Bank Field. Chen also had some other solid peripherals, including a 24.5% strikeout rate as well as an 8.5% walk rate. He also bombed his last four starts of the year, allowing 15 earned runs in his last 13 innings of work. His ERA went up from 3.71 to nearly four-and-a-half in less than two games worth of innings.

Chen is a command-focused pitcher, similar to Sullivan. He sits in the low-90s as well with a curveball and slider. He can throw all three for strikes. But he does have one plus pitch, and that's his splitter. It has fall off the table-like action. Chen is an advanced arm that stands at 6'2", 187 pounds.

Chen is the youngest player on today's list, as he just turned 22 in October. Given his age and the fact he's yet to throw a single pitch at Double-A, he has the least likely shot to make his big league debut, at least in my unprofessional opinion. But I don't think you can rule it out completely. Chen showed a lot of talent at Greensboro, even if the numbers don't reflect it. He's going to be overshadowed by his rotation compatriots, most of whom are top 100 or borderline top 100 prospects, but don't sleep on him just because he's Altoona's 5th best starting pitcher.