Three high-ceiling/low-floor prospects in the Pirates’ system

Let's look at three of the Pirates' high-ceiling/low-floor prospects in the farm system.

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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Mitch Jebb

Mitch Jebb was the Pirates' second-round pick out of Michigan State. The infielder has one of, if not the best, hit tools in the Pirates' system. He's also an extremely fast runner. However, there are concerns about his long-term ability because of his lack of raw power.

Jebb batted .337/.438/.495 in his final 241 plate appearances. Jebb may have had 15 doubles, but just a single home run. He rarely struck out with an 11.6% K% but complemented it with an even higher 13.3% walk rate. 2023 was par for the course for Jebb in his college career, as he finished off his time at Michigan hitting .327/.413/.464 with 35 doubles in 685 plate appearances, only seven home runs, but a 12% walk rate, and a microscopic 9.9% strikeout rate.

Jebb's heavy contact-focused approach carried over into Bradenton. In the 153 plate appearances he logged at A-Ball, Jebb slashed .297/.382/.398 with a .373 wOBA and 116 wRC+. He struck out just 11 times for a K% of 7.2%, the 8th lowest among any minor leaguer with 150+ plate appearances. He continued to draw plenty of walks, however, with an 11.1% BB%. Jebb used his speed to go 11-12 in stolen base attempts.

As you can tell by his stats, Jebb puts a heavy focus on his ability to make contact and avoid strikeouts. He also draws a decent amount of walks. But he also does not hit for very much power. Jebb also runs well and swiped 38 bases throughout college. Jebb has seen time at both middle infield positions as well as the hot corner. His speed gives him good range, but he has a below-average arm for the left side of the infield.

Jebb's profile could mean he ends up being Luis Arraez 2.0 but with speed. However, that also means he could end up as Kevin Newman 2.0. I am optimistic that he can be better than Newman. Although his power isn't significantly better than the Pirates' former first-round pick, Jebb seems much more capable of drawing a walk. It is still a risky profile, so we shall see how he develops.