Pittsburgh Pirates Top Prospects 2024
Pittsburgh Pirates Top Prospects from Chris Clegg, including Paul Skenes, Termarr Johnson, Bubba Chandler, Jared Jones, and more.
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Welcome to our team prospect rankings. Over the next two months, I will be pumping out team top 30 prospect rankings and evaluations for dynasty baseball. These reports are generated from live looks, film study, and advanced data analysis to bring you in-depth fantasy scouting reports on every player you need to know, with today’s being the Pittsburgh Pirates Top Prospects.
Not all 30 players in each writeup will be dynasty relevant, but many will, and if you play in a deep league, certainly most of the names will be worth knowing.
You can check out our previous Top Prospect Rankings:
Each player has a detailed write-up on each. The top 10 rankings and writeups are free for all, but the rest of the top prospects are for paid subs. Get an edge in your dynasty leagues and get in on some of these players first!
FFG = Future Fantasy Grade - essentially, what is the likely long-term outcome for the prospect? This is always going to be more conservative. Handing out ace tags is not something I like to do. So this is a realistic outcome.
90th Peak = If the player hits their best-case outcome, what does it look like?
Variance = How risky is this player’s profile, and how likely are they to hit their likely outcome? Low variance is good; high means more risky.
Pittsburgh Pirates Top Prospects
1. Paul Skenes, RHP, 21, 6’6”/235
Skenes is the most impressive college pitcher we have ever seen, probably dating back to Stephen Strasburg. What Skenes did this year was unprecedented as he struck out 209 batters in 122.2 innings pitched, which is a 45 percent rate.
The fastball touches triple digits regularly, and you have likely seen him still throwing 100+ after he is 100 pitches deep into a game. It has an incredible flat approach angle with elite carry, making it hard for hitters to catch up.
Skenes also boasts a slider that sits in the low 90s and gets a ton of whiffs. He did not need to throw his changeup often, but scouts rave about it. I only saw him throw it once in his rain-shortened start at South Carolina. In a points league, push Skenes up toward the top spot.
The arsenal and past performance suggests that ace status is possible but Skenes will need to effectively sequence and establish his changeup as a professional. The fastball/slider combo were so deadly against collegiate hitters he could often get by with missing his spots. Still, the upside here is tremendous.
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: 190 IP/3.00 ERA/250 K
2. Termarr Johnson, 2B, 19, 5’8”/175
Johnson is small and compact, but that does not limit his damage at the plate. After being regarded as one of the best pure prep hitters in recent memory, Johnson has seen his profile evolve a bit into having more power while taking a ton of walks and posting a lower-than-expected contact rate.
He showed a passive approach in 2023, swinging at just 37 percent of pitches, which is nearly ten percent lower than average. His zone swing percentage was also relatively low, which leaves some concern.
However, Johnson’s contact rates might be more concerning, as he made contact on just 68 percent of pitches and 77 percent in the zone. Those numbers are far from what was expected when Johnson was drafted when many labeled him as a 70-grade hitter.
The positive news is that Johnson still showed a strong feel for the strike zone, chasing less than 21 percent of pitches out of the zone while also hitting the ball hard. Johnson checked in with an average exit velocity north of 90 mph and a 90th percentile exit velocity above 105 mph which are quite impressive marks, especially given his size.
2024 will be a huge year for Johnson as he looks to improve on his contact skills without losing the power gains he made in 2023. If he can do so, he could soar up prospect rankings due to the well-rounded skillset that he would offer.
FFG: Top-10 2B
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: .270/.360 OBP/25 HR/10 SB
3. Bubba Chandler, RHP, 19, 6’2”/200
Chandler has long been known as an athlete, dating back to his days in high school when he was committed to Clemson to play quarterback, but also to be a two-way player on the baseball field. After being drafted, he gave up football but continued to be a two-way player on the diamond, pitching and playing shortstop for his first two pro seasons.
After finally settling in as a pitcher in 2023, Chandler had plenty of bumps in the road, but also made major strides throughout the season. It truly was a tale of two halves for Chandler, who posted a 6.79 ERA across 62.1 innings with 77 strikeouts and 38 walks in the first half. But in the second half, Chandler looked like a different arm, harnessing his command and posting a 1.66 ERA across 48.2 innings with 51 strikeouts and 13 walks. Five of the nine earned runs he allowed in the second half came in one start.
From an arsenal standpoint, Chandler is highly impressive, featuring a fastball that routinely sits 97-98 mph with 20 inches of IVB and 12 inches of run. He pairs it with a changeup that tunnels well off the fastball and has nice fading action.
The slider could end up being a 70-grade pitch if he harnesses the command of it some, as it sits anywhere from 87-90 with up to 17 inches of sweeping action. The stuff is undeniable here, and if the command continues to develop like we saw in the second half, Chandler could see his stock vault to being one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball.
FFG: Mid-Rotation Starter
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: 160 IP/3.60 ERA/175 K
4. Jared Jones, RHP, 22, 6’1”/190
Jones has always possessed an impressive arsenal since he was drafted in the second round of the 2020 MLB Draft but was still learning how to harness it and develop into a starting pitcher. After watching him live several times in 2022, Jones flashed high-end stuff for a couple of innings, but it would not hold for a whole start.
In 2023, Jones made strides with seeing his velocity take a step forward, but also holding his velocity and feel for pitches throughout entire starts. He completed at least five innings in nine of 12 starts in the second half of the season while pitching in Triple-A Indianapolis after completing five innings in just half of his starts in 2022.
From an arsenal standpoint, Jones’ fastball averaged over 96 mph with nice ride at the top of the zone while generating a 17 percent swinging strike rate against. He pumps the fastball nearly 50 percent of the time, but I wonder if that number decreases more as he works his way to the Majors.
Jones compliments his fastball with a slider that sits in the upper 80s and is more a traditional slider shape while throwing a downer curve with very high spin rates.
The changeup made strides this year, largely thanks to a new grip that averaged over 12 inches of fading action and 10 inches of IVB separation from the four-seam fastball.
Jones has the potential to be a mid-rotation starter, but if the command does not fully come, he could have a ton of success in the back of the Pirates bullpen.
FFG: SP3/High-End Closer
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: 140 IP/3.50 ERA/160 K
5. Anthony Solometo, LHP, 22, 6’5”/220
Solometo was part of the Pirates 2021 draft class, which included Henry Davis and Bubba Chandler, where Solometo got an over-slot deal of $2.8 million. Since being drafted, the tall lefty has dominated hitters from a funky release point and arm slot. The command has come and gone throughout his career, but Solometo is hard to beat when he is on.
Standing at 6’5”, Solometo is quite lanky, having long arms and a ton of extension toward home plate. The delivery is highly deceptive, and Solometo hides the ball well before jumping on hitters with a low release point. The delivery has drawn comps to Madison Bumgarner.
The velocity took a small step forward in 2023, but his four and two-seam fastballs sit in the low-90s. Solometo mixes in a mid-80s slider that gets plenty of sweeping action and is a tough pitch to pick up on, especially for left-handed hitters. The changeup is a distant third pitch right now but still shows signs of being at least an average pitch in the low-80s.
After walking 21 batters in his first seven starts(29.2 innings), Solometo made major improvements, seeing his strike rate go up, and he only walked 18 batters over his final 17 starts(80.1 innings). This led to a 3.01 ERA, with most of those starts coming in Double-A.
A mid-rotation start is possible, but Solometo likely settles in as an SP4-type arm that could reach Pittsburgh by late 2024.
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: 150 IP/3.60 ERA/165 K
6. Thomas Harrington, RHP, 22, 6’2”/185
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.
FFG: High Floor SP3-4
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: 160 IP/3.60 ERA/175 K
7. Zander Mueth, RHP, 18, 6’6”/205
Mueth might wind up being one of the bigger steals of the 2023 Draft, as the Pirates grabbed him in the second round. The org has had a ton of success scouting and drafting prep arms, and Mueth could be the next one who flies up rankings.
Standing at 6’6”, Mueth has an intimidating frame on the mound, and his 96 mph fastball gets on your fast and plays up due to extension. His changeup plays well off the fastball with nearly ten mph of separation and a low spin rate, allowing the pitch to die and fade away from hitters late. Mueth’s slider sits in the lower-80s with high spin and averages over 16 inches of sweeping action on the showcase circuit.
Despite standing at 6’6”, Mueth has a low release height, making his pitches quite deceptive. The arsenal and pitch data suggest that Mueth has a ton of upside if all clicks.
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: 160 IP/3.75 ERA/175 K
8. Braxton Ashcraft, RHP, 24, 6’5”/195
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.
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: 140 IP/3.75 ERA/155 K
9. Nick Gonzales, 2B, 22, 5’9”/190
Despite spending a decent amount of time in the Majors, Gonzlaes retained his prospect eligibility for one more season heading into 2024. The former seventh overall pick in the 2020 draft was considered one of the safest hit tools in the draft class but, unfortunately, has not panned out to the levels the Pirates hoped.
Gonzales hit the ground running in 2021 in High-A Greensboro, but injuries limited him to just 80 games. 2023 was the first time he played over 100 games in his career.
2023 was a strong bounceback season for Gonzales in Triple-A as he hit .281/.379/.507 with 14 home runs while also hitting two home runs in 35 MLB games. The zone-contact rate of 76.5 percent was improved from 2022, but still an issue, and Gonzales also posted an overall contact rate below 70 percent.
The exit velocities checked in with an average of 87.4 and a 90th percentile of 102.5 mph. The future power could be average, but I see Gonzales being closer to a 15-home-run bat. The contact skills are closer to below-average than average, but there is still a chance that Gonzales could return to being a bat-first second baseman that many thought he could be coming out of New Mexico State.
FFG: Deep League MI Option
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: .270/.360 OBP/20 HR/5 SB
10. Lonnie White Jr., OF, 20, 6’3”/212
The Pirates tend to draft big-time athletes, and Lonnie White Jr. is no exception. White was a three-sport prep star who seemed destined to be heading to Penn State to play football and baseball, as he was a four-star, top-100 national-ranked wide receiver. The Pirates got a deal done with White after drafting him in the second round of the 2021 draft.
White struggled with contact out of the gate as he adjusted to life as just a baseball player, but flashed tools that showed why the Pirates were as high on him as they were. Then, after spending time at the complex in 2023, White seemingly broke out down the stretch in Single-A Bradenton, hitting eight home runs and stealing 12 bases across 44 games while slashing .259/.395/.488.
Contact was still a struggle at times, as White’s overall contact rate came in south of 70 percent, and his zone-contact rate was below average at 75 percent. His patient approach allowed him to draw walks at a rate of over 15 percent.
The good news is the strong athlete barreled the ball exceptionally well and posted a 90th percentile exit velocity north of 105 mph while hitting balls at an ideal launch angle.
There is still plenty of development ahead of White, but his performance down the stretch in 2023 showed positive signs from a strong athlete.
FFG: Power/Speed OF
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: .260/.350 OBP/25 HR/20 SB
11. Michael Kennedy, LHP, 18, 6’1”/205
The Pirates grabbed Kennedy, a cold-weather lefty out of New York in the 2022 MLB draft who seemed to fly under plenty of teams’ radars. After not pitching during his draft year, Kennedy has a strong 2023 season, albeit just 46.2 innings, posting a 2.12 ERA while striking out 63 batters.
Kennedy’s fastball sits in the lower 90s, but it comes in with a low VAA, making it a harder pitch to pick up on while averaging over 12 inches of running action. The changeup has a similar amount of fading action but needs more separation from the fastball, having just thrown inches of IVB differential and four mph of velocity separation on average.
The slider is Kennedy’s best secondary, sitting in the lower 80s but with over ten inches of sweeping action and decent depth. He generated plenty of whiffs on all pitches, striking out 33 percent of hitters, but he will need to improve on command as he struggled to throw strikes consistently and walked over 13 percent of hitters.
Kennedy has plenty of potential with the arsenal and does not have much mileage on his arm. 2024 will be a big year for him if he can see his velocity and command take small steps forward.
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: 140 IP/3.90 ERA/140 K
12. Jack Brannigan, SS/3B, 22, 6’0”.190
Despite spending the majority of his time in 2023 at third base, Brannigan looked strong at shortstop during my looks in the Arizona Fall League, but regardless, the versatility in the field should be a huge help for Brannigan, who has played all over the dirt during his pro career.
The former third-rounder out of Notre Dame enjoyed a strong season in 2023, hitting 19 home runs and stealing 24 bases while slashing .275/.390/.524. At times, Brannigan’s passivity can hurt him as his lower swing rate causes him to work deeper into counts, allowing him to walk and strike out at higher clips. The overall contact rate of 70 percent teeters on a range of uncomfortable, but Brannigan makes enough contact on pitches in the zone to make it work. He does not chase many pitches out of the zone and flashes some high exit velocities.
Brannigan’s versatility gives him a high chance of making the Majors, but 2024 will be a telling season as far as what the bat can be, as he likely begins the year in Double-A.
FFG: Deep League CI
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: .270/.370 OBP/20 HR/20 SB
13. Hunter Barco, LHP, 22, 6’4”/210
After being selected out of high school in the 2019 draft, Barco opted to head to the University of Florida, where he raised his stock significantly and was a second-rounder in 2022. After an injury kept him out after being drafted, Barco saw just 18 innings in 2023 but flashed some solid upside and displayed why he was drafted in the second.
He struck out 36 percent of hitters while walking just 7.6 percent, putting his full arsenal on display. Barco’s fastball sat in the lower-90s but showed nice sinking action and run, averaging over 15 inches of run. His changeup tunnels well with the fastball, averaging 17 inches of fade while sitting around 87 mph. When his slider is on, you could argue it is a plus pitch.
He fills the zone with strikes and, in the small sample in 2023, posted a 67 percent strike rate, which is firmly plus, while also limiting walks. If Barco can see his fastball tick up and sit closer to 93, getting more velocity separation from the changeup, he could increase his floor of being a solid starting pitcher. Due to the high number of strikes thrown, Barco should be a starter long-term.
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: 140 IP/4.00 ERA/140 K
14. Mitch Jebb, SS, 21, 6’1”/185
Jebb is a versatile infielder selected in the second round of the 2023 draft out of Michigan State, where he had a strong career. A career collegiate slash of .327/.413/.464 shows the kind of hitter Jebb is which is backed by his 88 percent contact rate and 92 percent zone contact rate in 2023. Jebb is patient and does not chase pitches out of the zone, with an 18 percent chase rate in college, which was right in line with his 22 percent chase rate in pro ball. The crazy thing is, Jebb’s zone contact in professional ball was even higher than in college at 95 percent.
The power remains a question as Jebb hit just seven home runs in 147 college games and hit just one in 153 pro plate appearances. His exit velocities were respectable with metal, coming in with an 87 mph average exit velocity and a 104.2 90th percentile, both showing close to average power. But after debuting and 90 batted ball events, Jebb had just an 82 mph average exit velocity and a 97 mph 90th percentile, suggesting the power might be closer to 20 grade than 40.
The hit tool appears to be one of the best in the minors. Jebb is an interesting profile that will be fun to watch in 2023.
FFG: High Contact UT Bat
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: .300/.390/15 HR/15 SB
15. Tsung-Che Cheng, INF, 22, 5’7”/175
Cheng is a smaller, versatile infielder with a decent build despite the height and can put a charge into baseballs. Contact is the name of the game with Cheng as shown by his 80 percent contact rate and 84 percent zone contact. Since he debuted in 2021, all Cheng has done is hit, having a career slash of .279/.375/.445.
While the exit velocities won’t jump off the page at you, Cheng is capable of hitting some big home runs to the pull side that I have seen with my own eyes. But, a large part of Cheng’s value is his speed, and he uses his gap power to get on base and the speed to swipe a bag. He stole 33 bases in 2022 and then 26 in 2023.
The versatility gives Cheng a higher floor, and with the contact skills, he feels like a future big leaguer.
FFG: UT Hit Tool Specialist
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: .280/.330 OBP/20 HR/20 SB
16. Jase Bowen, OF, 23, 6’0”/190
Bowen enjoyed a breakout season in 2023, but it was honestly not all that dissimilar to what he has done since being drafted, hitting for power and showing nice speed on the base paths while being versatile in the field. Between High-A and Double-A in 2023, Bowen hit 23 home runs and stole 26 bases while slashing .255/.327/.467.
Bowen posts swing rates north of 50 percent, which shows a somewhat aggressive hitter and explains why the walk rates are a bit lower, hovering around seven percent. His contact rate of 72 percent was a solid number, especially considering he posts some strong exit velocities.
Bowen starts slightly open in his stance and utilizes a decent-sized leg-kick before using his explosive hands to generate easy bat speed through the zone. Bowen’s versatility in the field also boosts his value as he can play first base and centerfield, and the Pirates may prefer him in centerfield, especially since he has shown strong ability up the middle.
Bowen’s power and speed will play at the next level, and if Bowen can continue to improve his contact rates, as we saw in 2023, he could be a fun profile in Pittsburgh sooner than later.
FFG: Multi-Positional Power and Speed Threat
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: .260/.330 OBP/20 HR/20 SB
17. Mike Burrows, RHP, 24, 6’1”/190
It seemed like Burrows was poised to pitch with the Pirates in 2023 after a solid showing in Double-A in 2022 saw him make 12 starts in Triple-A. Unfortunately, after a strong two starts to begin the season, Burrows went down with an injury and had Tommy John Surgery, which likely puts him out until July or August of 2024.
Burrows’ fastball sits between 93 and 95 mph with high IVB, allowing the pitch to appear to rise at the top of the zone. He compliments it with a mid-to-upper 80s changeup that shows nice fading action, as well as two distinct breaking balls. Burrows’s curve is his strongest secondary, sitting around 80 mph, generating high spin rates and a ton of downward movement, causing batters to swing and miss often. The slider sits in the mid-80s and serves as a solid fourth offering.
Command has always been a strength for Burrows, so how that looks coming back from Tommy John will be telling. The injury likely keeps him in the minors to rehab in 2024, but don’t be surprised if Burrows is vying for a spot in the Pirates rotation in 2025.
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: 140 IP/4.00 ERA/140 K
18. Enmanuel Terrero, OF, 21, 5’11”/160
Terrero enjoyed a strong 2023 season, posting a .266/.368/.409 slash with eight home runs and 21 stolen bases across 80 games in Single-A Bradenton. He signed back in 2019 for $600k, signifying the Pirates liked the talent. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, Terrero’s career got started two years later in the Dominican Summer League.
Despite being of smaller stature, Terrero gets to power, posting a 104 mph 90th percentile exit velocity which is above MLB average. His average exit velocity was a bit lower than average at 86 mph, and he limits his power upside due to high ground ball rates(54 percent this season).
The contact skills are also respectable, especially on pitches in the zone as Terrero posted an 85 percent in-zone rate. The number dropped to 72 percent overall, but Terrero still puts plenty of balls into play but also can take a walk. The lefty has the potential to take another step forward in 2024 if he can consistently lift the ball and really get into his game power.
FFG: Speed First OF
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: .260/.340 OBP/15 HR/25 SB
19. Jackson Wolf, LHP, 24, 6’7”/205
Wolf jumped from Double-A to the Majors to make a spot start for the Padres before being traded to the Pirates in a deal for Rich Hill and Ji-Man Choi.
When you see an arm standing at 6’7”, you typically think of someone with a big fastball, but Wolf does not generate a ton of power, sitting in the upper-80s to low-90s with his sinker from a low arm slot. The slider plays extremely well out of the low release point, garnering a ton of sweeping action while sitting in the mid-70s.
The changeup has nice depth and fading action, averaging over 16 inches of fade while sitting in the low-80s. Wolf also occasionally mixes in a curveball in more of a downer shape.
If Wolf fills out the frame more and adds velocity, the stock ticks up, and Wolf becomes a much more exciting arm. But as things stand, a fastball that sits below 90 mph most days, does not give a ton of confidence for an MLB starter.
FFG: Long Reliever
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: 100 IP/4.25 ERA/100 K
20. Jhonny Severino, SS, 19, 6’1”/185
Severino is an aggressive, free-swinging hitter who has the propensity to chase pitches out of the zone but has still shown he can make it work in Rookie ball, having strong DSL and Complex seasons in 2022 and 2023, respectively.
Initially signing with the Brewers in 2022, Severino was handed a $1.23 million signing bonus before being traded to the Pirates for Carlos Santana in 2023. I mentioned the aggressive nature of his swing, but it also comes with plenty of bat speed for his age, leading to power. At Complex level this season, Severino hit five home runs in just 63 plate appearances while also stealing seven bases.
If the contact skills continue to develop and Severino can develop a more sound approach, there could be an intriguing player here, especially considering he spent the entire 2023 season as an 18-year-old and has shown some decent skills and arm in the field.
FFG: Power Hitting Deep League MI
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: .260/.330 OBP/20 HR/10 SB
21. Jun-Seok Shim, RHP, 19, 6’4”/215
While Shim may not be on many radars yet, he will soon be a well-known name in the Pirates system. The Pirates signed Shim in January of 2023 for $750k, and he impressed in his eight innings of work at the Complex this year.
Shim features a fastball in the mid-90s while mixing in a slider and curve. There are still questions about Shim, and we got very little on him in just eight complex-level innings. He also dealt with injuries that limited him. It is worth noting in the small sample, he had a .111 batting average against and an impressive strikeout rate. The command is hard to put a grade on right now, but he is a fun arm to dream on.
FFG: Power Hitting Deep League MI
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: .260/.330 OBP/20 HR/10 SB
22. Shalin Polanco, OF, 19, 6’0”/170
Polanco was a major grab on the international market in the 2020/2021 signing period, landing a $2.35 million bonus, nearly half of the Pirates allotment that year. The speedy outfielder has a hyper-aggressive approach, swinging at nearly 55 percent of pitches last year with a zone-swing percentage of 75 percent. Naturally, when you are a free swinger, you have a propensity to chase pitches out of the zone, and that is one of Polanco’s downfalls as he posted a 38 percent chase rate.
He counteracts it with a respectable zone-contact rate of 81 percent, which is slightly below average. The low contact rates outside of the zone drag his overall contact rate down to 67 percent.
Polanco saw an uptick in power in 2023, hitting 12 home runs in 303 plate appearances, while the 90th percentile exit velocity sat right at MLB average at 103.5 mph. With a little more lift, Polanco would likely see his batting average tick up as well as the home run output.
He profiles as a speedy outfielder with some pop, but the swing and miss concerns. But considering Polanco was 19 the entire season in full-season ball, it was a successful season.
FFG: Power/Speed Threat with Hit Tool Concerns
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: .250/.320 OBP/20 HR/25 SB
23. Dariel Lopez, INF, 21, 6’1”/183
After a strong 2022 season in which Lopez mashed 19 home runs and slashed .286/.329/.476, Lopez unfortunately missed all of 2023 after injuring his knee and having season-ending surgery.
Lopez has spent most of his time on the left side of the infield, spending equal time at shortstop and third base, but he could profile better at first long term. His exit velocities in the past have suggested that Lopez could be an above-average power hitter while also showing a decent feel for contact despite an aggressive swing and a propensity to chase.
Knee injuries are quite serious, and it is hard to know what kind of form Lopez will return to in 2024. But he has the kind of bat that I want to bet on.
FFG: Power Hitting Deep League CI
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: .260/.320 OBP/20 HR/5 SB
24. Yordany De Los Santos, SS, 18, 6’1”/170
It was a tale of two stops for De Los Santos, who looked dominant at the Complex Level, slashing .328/.397/.463 with a home run and 13 stolen bases while striking out just 14 percent of the time. The 18-year-old earned a promotion to Single-A Bradenton, where he managed just a .184/.322/.256 slash line with just one home run across 153 plate appearances.
De Los Santos became very passive, and when he did swing, he was often whiffing, posting just a 70 percent zone-contact rate and a 60 percent overall contact rate. The power metrics also came in a bit disappointing, as De Los Santos checked in with a 90th percentile exit velocity south of 100 mph and an average exit velocity below 84 mph.
The athleticism makes De Los Santos the type of player you want to bet on, but he will need to show some signs of improvement out of the gate in 2024.
FFG: Toolsy MI
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: .250/.330 OBP/10 HR/20 SB
25. Patrick Reilly, RHP, 22, 6’3”/208
The results never matched Reilly’s arsenal while at Vanderbilt, as he pitched to a 5.25 ERA across 144 innings. Strikeouts were never an issue as he posted a career 28 percent strikeout rate, but the command has ultimately held him back as he walked 14 percent of batters at Vanderbilt.
If he can figure out the command, the arsenal could play up and turn Reilly into a solid starting pitcher. In college, his fastball sat 94-95 mph with high spin and nearly 19 inches of IVB on average. He pairs it with a mid-80s slider that averages 2650 RPM. Reilly’s changeup grades out better, sitting in a similar velocity band as his slider, but averaging 14 inches of fade, giving the pitch nice separation from the slider. Reilly also mixes in a low-90s cutter.
Right now, Reilly profiles better as a reliever due to command, but if he can harness his strike-throwing ability and lower the walk rate near ten percent, Reilly could be a serviceable starting pitcher.
FFG: Spot Starter/Long Reliever
90th Percentile Peak Outcome: 100 IP/4.25 ERA/115 K
Other Pirates Top Prospects
Axiel Plaz, C, 18
Po-Yu Chen, RHP, 22
Alika Williams, SS, 24
Garret Forrester, CI, 22
Josiah Sightler, 1B, 24
Kyle Nicolas, RHP, 24
Tony Blanco Jr, 1B, 18
Charles McAdoo, INF/OF, 21