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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Patrick Reilly

Patrick Reilly is a relief pitcher archetype: 60+ grade stuff, ≤40 grade command. Selected in the fifth round out of Vanderbilt, Reilly showed off some impressive offerings but had serious issues with consistently hitting his spots, leading to a ton of walks. This carried over into his pro career once he was signed and suited up for Bradenton.

Reilly pitched 48.1 innings, working both as a reliever and a starter for Vanderbilt. The right-hander struck out 28.9% of the batters he faced with a solid 1.1 HR/9 but handed out a walk to 13.3% of opponents. That significantly high walk rate is part of the reason he had a 5.77 ERA and 1.53 WHIP. For what it's worth, he pitched significantly better out of the Commodores' bullpen with a 3.79 ERA, 32.7% strikeout rate, 0.71 HR/9, and a significantly more practical 10.3% walk rate.

Reilly joined Jebb at Bradenton after the draft, pitching 10.2 innings, striking out 19 more batters, and posting a 50% ground ball rate. But these were about the only positives for Reilly in his first taste of pro baseball. He also allowed two home runs and walked eight batters. It's barely a game's worth of innings, but there were some positive and negative takeaways.

Although Reilly throws a four-pitch mix, he'd benefit from pitching out of the bullpen full-time. He hits the mid-upper 90s in shorter stints with high spin. Between his slider and cutter, the former is the better breaking ball. When Reilly has command over his slider, it's a potential plus offering. His cutter is closer to average, as is his change-up (though it is his least used offering).

There are a ton of relievers with great stuff who eventually figure out their command and become effective big leaguers. Could Reilly be one of them? Only time will tell. His numbers out of Vandy's bullpen were promising as he significantly cut his walk rate down. Hopefully, he can replicate something like that in the minor leagues next year.