Pittsburgh Pirates Dynasty Sleepers, Breakouts, and Busts
Discover sleepers and breakouts from the Pittsburgh Pirates for dynasty fantasy baseball both on the MLB and prospect side.
With dynasty season ramping up, it is time to talk about some sleepers, breakouts, and busts for each team. You can find our rankings and reports to see how we at the Dynasty Dugout value players for your dynasty leagues, but I also feel like it’s helpful to truly identify whether I believe a player can be a breakout or not. Here is where we call our shots on players, I think, require a call to action in dynasty, whether it be to buy or sell that player.
Pittsburgh Pirates Dynasty Sleepers, Breakouts, and Busts
MLB Sleeper: Jack Suwinski, OF
After two straight solid seasons of production, it seems like many are still sleeping on Suwinski being a solid contributor. Yes, he strikes out too much, but Suwinski has a very patient approach and walks at a high clip, allowing him to play up in a OBP league.
Last season, he hit 26 home runs and stole 13 bases while posting a slash line of .224/.339/.454, and while the average is a bit underwhelming, Suwinski does damage when he makes contact. Suwinski’s .460 xwOBACON ranked in the 91st percentile among all MLB hitters. His 15.7 percent barrel rate was in the 94th percentile among all hitters.
Considering Suwinski is just 25 years old, it seems reasonable to think he could continue to improve, and you know, at worst, you will get power and speed out of the profile. In an OBP league, he is a solid asset across the board. Many still seem to be sleeping on Suwinski as a dynasty asset.
MLB Breakout: Henry Davis, C
Davis spent the 2023 season at a foreign position as he played right field for the first time after spending his entire career catching. It could explain some struggles across the board as he adjusted to playing at the MLB level and in a new position.
The Pirates intend for Davis to enter 2024 as their catcher, and he spent the offseason at Driveline focusing on his bat and behind the plate. While it was a single swing and just peak bat speed, Davis registered an 85 mph bat speed which would sit 99th percentile among all hitters. While his average bat speed has been much lower, even if Davis increased his bat speed by one mph this year, it could pay huge dividends.
Davis hits the ball hard and has shown the ability to make respectable contact as shown by his Triple-A 107 mph 90th percentile and a 77 percent contact rate. The former first-overall pick should be able to put it all together in 2024, making him a great dynasty investment.
MLB Bust: Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B
I know, i know.. I did not want to do this. But in a lineup where it was really hard to choose a bust because honestly just the lack of talent, Hayes makes the list by process of elimination.
We are still waiting for the season where Hayes puts it all together and maybe that is 2024 and this looks silly. But up until this point, Hayes has been a statcast darling who hits the ball but pounds it into the ground. Hayes has a career average exit velocity of 91.3 mph and his 92.2 mph mark in 2023 ranked 93rd percentile among all hitters. This led to a career best 15 home run reason.
There are a ton of peaks and valleys in the ground ball rate but Hayes saw the lowest rate of his career in 2023. The highs are still higher than you would like to see though.
Hayes profile is interesting to say the least. How much he runs is a question as he stole 20 bases in 2022 but with the new rules and stolen bases higher than ever, he only swiped ten in 2023. The power output has been marginal at best despite plenty of hard-hit balls, largely because his balls in the air are going to the opposite field. Over the last three season, Hayes has a slash of .257/.313/.392 with 28 home runs across 1481 plate appearances.
The value with his glove is immense, but for fantasy the impact is still to be determined. Last year he finished 196th on the Razzball Player Rater in his career best year and in OBP leagues that number dropped even further. Hayes is a fine player, but know the expectations that come with his bat.
Prospect Sleeper: Thomas Harrington, RHP
Harrington’s progress to becoming a professional starting pitcher has been quite fun to watch, as he did not become a pitcher until his junior season of high school, walked on Campbell’s team, and then was drafted 36th overall in the 2022 MLB Draft. It was a long journey, but the strides that Harrington has made as a pitcher in a short time are nothing short of impressive.
In 2023, Harrington pitched 127 innings and averaged nearly five innings per start while posting a 3.53 ERA with 146 strikeouts. He showed good command, throwing strikes at a 67 percent clip and walking just 7.8 percent of hitters, putting his command in the plus range.
From an arsenal standpoint, Harrington gets nice life up in the zone on his fastball, sitting in the low-to-mid 90s. His four-seam averaged more than 17 inches of IVB while getting over 10 inches of run, while the sinker has nice running life to it. The pitches complement each other well.
Harrington’s slider is a high spinner, averaging north of 2700 rpm, which helps generate a ton of sweeping action, averaging nearly 16 inches and sitting in the low 80s. A changeup rounds out a solid arsenal, sitting in the upper 80s, having six mph of velocity separation, and having nearly 30 inches of horizontal separation from his slider.
Prospect Breakout: Braxton Ashcraft, RHP
Ashcraft is a stellar athlete who also excelled on the football field as a prep. Surprise, surprise, the Pirates have a theme of high-end athletes. It seems like a lifetime ago that Ashcraft was drafted in the second round of 2018. Still, after playing in short-season ball in 2019, he missed 2020 due to the pandemic and only pitched in 10 games in 2021 before being shut down with Tommy John surgery and missing all of 2022.
Ashcraft bounced back in a big way in 2023, making his way to Double-A and posting a 2.39 ERA across 52.2 innings with 63 strikeouts and just 11 walks. He led the way with his mid-90s fastball that showed an impressive ride up in the zone, having nearly 18 inches of IVB.
The slider and cutter will sometimes blend, but when the slider is on, it generates a ton of whiffs, sitting between 86 and 88 mph. If Ashcraft can differentiate the pitches, it will help his long-term development. He also throws a curveball with a ton of downward action but also some sweeping action, sitting near 80 mph.