First Pitch: Pirates Have Plenty of Right-Handed Pitching Prospects

MLB Pipeline has been ranking teams by position strength for prospects. Their latest article looked at right-handed pitchers around baseball.

The Pittsburgh Pirates rank sixth overall in the latest rankings, with their right-handed pitching depth getting boosted by 2020 draft picks Carmen Mlodzinski, Jared Jones and Nick Garcia. They already had some nice strength at the top of their system with Mitch Keller, Cody Bolton, Tahnaj Thomas, Quinn Priester and Brennan Malone all ranking among the top ten prospects in the system, while Braxton Ashcraft and Michael Burrows were just outside the top ten.

Our 2020 Prospect Guide had an article on the possible rotation at Greensboro this year and how it could have possibly been the best starting rotation ever for prospects at one level for the Pirates. They had six legit big arms with a chance to grab a spot in that rotation, with Priester, Malone, Thomas, Burrows, Ashcraft and Santiago Florez, who ranked 19th overall when the guide was first released.

A majority of the pitching prospects are at the lower levels, something that obviously didn’t change with the draft additions. It gives the Pirates a possible bright future on the mound in the upcoming years. It doesn’t include left-handed pitching, as that ranks right with catcher as a position of weakness in the system.

Speaking of the Prospect Guide, we just re-ranked the list to include draft picks so we can finally release our update. Not much has changed as far as the rest of the list, but there are some minor changes. With the addition of the draft picks, the list looks strong in the top ten and top 20, while the back-end of the list looks better as well. We have to do some formatting changes, write up reports for the new players and then we should have the update out soon afterwards.

*  Some late news from last night. Manager Derek Shelton told the local media that Keone Kela hasn’t yet taken the field during Spring Training 2.0 yet, but he didn’t specify why. Shelton also announced that pitcher Hector Noesi has decided to opt out of the 2020 season, citing family reasons.

**We will have at least four articles today, including the one you’re currently reading. If any news comes up, we will have more. The other scheduled articles for today are as follows:

This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History – Only one birthday and it’s a player who got into one game with the Pirates. Three transactions of note are covered, including the final day for a star player from the 1979 World Series champs

Obscure Pittsburgh Pirates – This is one of my favorites so far in this series. In case you missed the last one (or any others) here’s last week’s Obscure article.

1979 Season Recap – After the Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds played a doubleheader, they now head to Houston for a series.

Happy Thursday to everyone!



I like this quiz, though it’s one of those ones that they didn’t update since it was posted in 2015, so keep that in mind. Does it matter for any of the answers? I’m not telling…


Nice old DP by Jay Bell and Carlos Garcia, but where is the love for Orlando Merced’s part in this play?

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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