Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Unranked Prospects Fan Should Know About

Let's look at thee unranked Pirates prospects fans should know about.

Vanderbilt pitcher Patrick Reilly (88) pitches against Arkansas during the first inning at Hawkins
Vanderbilt pitcher Patrick Reilly (88) pitches against Arkansas during the first inning at Hawkins / Andrew Nelles / Tennessean.com / USA
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Derek Diamond

Derek Diamond wasn’t drafted as late as McAdoo. Diamond was drafted in the 6th round but in the 2022 draft. Diamond was fresh off a college World Series victory but wasn’t as dominant as McAdoo. Diamond struggled in his final season, with an ERA approaching 7.00 (6.89), allowed nearly two home runs per-9 innings (1.9 HR/9), and only had a 21.2% strikeout rate.

While Diamond struggled in his final college season, that didn’t stop him from coming out of the 2023 gates red hot. Diamond opened the season at Bradenton and pitched well. Through the first 74.2 innings of the season, Diamond worked to a 3.98 ERA, 3.74 FIP, and 1.23 WHIP. While Diamond only had a 20.4% strikeout rate, he also had an outstanding 4.9% walk rate and 0.60 HR/9. Diamond also had a 53.3% ground ball rate.

Diamond was then promoted to Greensboro, and he’s been pretty decent through his first few outings. He’s only allowed six earned runs in 17 innings, walking six, and striking out 16. The only major downturn is his home run rate and ground ball rate. Diamond’s ground ball rate has dipped to 41.3%, and his HR/9 has jumped to 1.59. But his HR/FB ratio has also gone from 7.9% to 20%. Given that Greensboro’s park is a lot more hitter friendly than Bradenton’s a large uptick in HR/FB ratio was expected. Plus, once adjusting for it, his xFIP has only gone from 3.91 to 4.16, which isn’t a major change.

Diamond topped out in the mid-90s during college, but he only averages out around the low-90s. He also throws with an above-average spin. His slider also sits around 2300-2400 RPM. While his fastball and slider have above-average spin, he can take off a lot on his change-up. Diamond’s change only has around 1600-1700 RPM.

Diamond showed off some excellent command at Bradenton. Even his control at Greensboro hasn’t been terrible, despite an uptick in walk rate. Half of his walks have come in his most recent game (he has pitched four games). Diamond is only 22, but if he keeps pitching well this season he has a good chance of starting 2024 out at Double-A Altoona.