These Pittsburgh Pirates prospects are red hot right now

Let's look at some of the Pirates' prospects who are on hot streaks.
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The Pittsburgh Pirates' system definitely features some names to watch, but a few in particular have been scorching hot recently. Over at least the last month, these Pirates prospects have been setting their respective leagues on fire. They might not have all gotten off to the best starts this season, but now they’re hitting or pitching very well and could possibly move to the next level of minor-league baseball.

These Pittsburgh Pirates prospects are on current hot streaks

Braxton Ashcraft

Braxton Ashcraft has had a triumphant return to the top of Pirates prospect lists after missing nearly three years. He was flat-out dominant in 2023 but didn’t get a chance to pitch much, since he was severely limited due to his injuries the prior three seasons. Now, Ashcraft is getting stretched out and is on the fast track to the big leagues.

Since the start of May, Ashcraft has been great. He’s pitched 39.1 innings over his last seven games, working to a 2.52 ERA, 2.04 FIP, and 0.97 WHIP. The right-hander has struck out nearly a third of the batters he’s faced with a 32.5% K%, and he’s also been allergic to walks, with a free pass rate clocking in at a minuscule 3.8%. Ashcraft also hasn’t allowed very many home runs, with an 0.46 HR/9 rate.

Ashcraft has steadily been increasing his workload. He’s averaged about 5.2 innings per start since the start of May. Keep in mind, he didn’t throw more than four innings all of last year. Prior to May 2, the last time Ashcraft pitched at least six innings was on July 30th, 2019. 

Ashcraft’s most recent start may have been the most promising of his career. While he allowed four earned runs, he also pitched seven innings and threw 93 pitches. It’s the first time he’s ever thrown more than six innings as a pro. He did so while striking out a dozen batters and not allowing a single walk.

There were reasonable questions about whether Ashcraft could remain as a starting pitcher, but at this point, I think he’s proven that he can handle a larger workload. Ashcraft has shown what made him a second-round pick in 2018. I’d expect him to make his debut sometime this summer. He is already part of the Pirates’ 40-man roster, and with a current hole in the Pirates’ rotation, there’s an outside possibility we will see him before the end of June.