The Pittsburgh Pirates have drafted right-handed prep pitcher Quinn Priester with the 18th overall pick in the 2019 draft. Priester was connected to the Pirates a lot in mock drafts, including a lot of the final mocks leading up to the draft.
Priester is 6′ 3″, 190 pounds and already throws low-90s, topping out at 97. He throws from a three-quarters arm slot with easy delivery, which is usually a good recipe for future velocity improvements. The higher end of his velocity right now is his four-seam fastball, while the two-seamer lacks that velocity, but has a lot of heavy movement in the low-90s.
The main secondary pitch for Priester is a curveball that has some good movement and projects as a future plus pitch. He also has a changeup, but hasn’t needed that much in high school, and will need to focus on developing the pitch in pro ball. Baseball America notes that Priester self-taught himself some mechanics by watching YouTube videos of pitchers he wanted to emulate. That shows a drive for improvement, and a willingness toward adjustments, which should be good traits for improving the changeup and other aspects of his game.
Priester has a commitment to TCU, although you’d have to think the Pirates knew they could sign him by taking him here. He was ranked 23rd by Baseball America and 19th by MLB Pipeline. An interesting coincidence about the TCU connection: The Pirates drafted left-handed pitcher Nick Lodolo with the 41st pick in 2016, but he turned them down to go to TCU, and went with the 7th pick tonight. It’s very unlikely that the same will happen with Priester.
UPDATE 9:16 PM: Here are some videos of Priester:
UPDATE 9:19 PM: Here is our player page for Priester.
UPDATE 9:56 PM: Pirates’ scouting director Joe DelliCarri issued the following statement via press release:
“We are excited tonight to have selected Quinn Priester,” said DelliCarri. “We believe Quinn is a good athlete consistently reaching solid to above average stuff and the aptitude, arm action, athleticism and delivery to add. We are confident that we are adding not only a quality pitcher, but also a quality young man who will add to our culture.”
I’ll have more from Priester in a bit, and from the team later tonight.
UPDATE 11:30 PM: Final update on this one, linking to my feature on Priester after his conference call with the media.