The Bristol Pirates didn't have a great team this year from a prospect standpoint. They featured some of the most promising young arms in the lower levels of the system, but outside of the rotation, there weren't any prospects who could make our top 50. There were a few interesting stories to follow, highlighted by the big breakout season of Carlos Munoz. In some cases, these players have a chance to break through to prospect status. However, most of the guys on the second half of this prospect list will probably end up as organizational guys, with the chance that they might reach Double-A for a short period of time.
TOP 10 BRISTOL PIRATES PROSPECTS
The cutoff for eligibility on this list was 70 at-bats, 20 innings pitched, or 10 relief appearances. This excluded late call-ups Raul Siri and Cristian Mota. Most of the list is based on upside, rather than the results this year. Like the GCL rankings, these players are so far away that even their upside is hard to peg.
1. Mitch Keller, RHP – We cheated a bit here, as Keller actually had 19.2 innings, and just missed the cutoff. But hey, we make the rules and weren't going to leave the consensus top prospect off the list over the lack of one additional out. Keller missed time this year with a few minor injuries, but pitched during extended Spring Training, where I got to see him a few times. He sits comfortably in the 91-94 MPH range, touching 95. His curveball is a good offering with sharp break, and he commands the pitch well. The pitch helped Keller strike out 25 in his 19.2 innings this year. He's had fastball command problems in the past, but those disappeared during extended Spring Training. They returned during the season, with 16 walks in 19.2 innings. That will be a big focus for Keller going forward. He could still add some velocity, and eventually sit in the mid-90s due to his effortless delivery and projectable frame. If he adds consistent command to that fastball, along with a good changeup, then he'd have a three pitch mix that could make him at least a middle of the rotation starter in the majors.
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