Pittsburgh Pirates Triple-A players who could soon get promoted to the Major Leagues

Who are some players currently at Triple-A who could soon get promoted to the Pittsburgh Pirates?
Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds
Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds / Andy Lyons/GettyImages
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Carmen Mlodzinski

Ben Heller nor Kyle Nicolas aren’t the only relief pitchers eyeing a return to the Major League mound. 2023 standout rookie Carmen Mlodzinski has since returned from his own injury list stint and has to be on the cusp of receiving his promotion back to the Major Leagues. Mlodzinski opened the year on the IL, and was then optioned to get him stretched out. But now that he looks back at full health, the Pirates should be getting back one of their best relievers from the second half of last season.

Of Mlodzinski’s 35.1 innings pitched last year, 23.2 were after the All-Star break. During that stretch, the former first-round pick owned a quality 2.22 ERA, 3.34 FIP, and 1.36 WHIP. While he had a 12.5% walk rate, he also had a respectable 24% strikeout rate and was great at preventing good contact. He held batters to a minuscule 1.5% barrel rate, tied for the fifth lowest among all relievers last season in the second half.

So far, Mlodzinski’s rehab has gone well. He has pitched seven innings, striking out seven and allowing only three earned runs. Granted, two of those runs came in one game, and he’s now tossed three straight scoreless outings. Both of his walks also originate from one game, with going 5-6 in walk-less appearances.

Mlodzinski’s cutter looks significantly different. While he’s taken some velocity off the pitch, dropping from 91-92 MPH last year to around 86-88 MPH, he’s added about three inches of drop and break. Currently, he has a 38.1% whiff rate on the pitch. His four-seamer also has slightly less velo but more ride and break. His sweeper has about the same movement and velo profile, as does his change-up. 

It’s a bit of a surprise that the Pirates haven’t called up Mlodzinski yet. He played a key role in the Pirates’ bullpen during the second half of the year. When Colin Holderman went down with an injury in September, Mlodzinski stepped into the set-up role and performed admirably. But with guys like Stratton and Ryan struggling, it probably won’t be long until we see Mlodzinski back in the bigs.