Carmen Mlodzinski Closed Out 2022 On A Strong Note

There may be no prospect that has been harder to get a handle on than Carmen Mlodzinski. Part of Ben Cherington’s first draft class with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the righty out of South Carolina was drafted 31st overall in 2020, pitching last year in Double-A Altoona.

He had a hard to decipher season in Altoona this past year, which has been the story the majority of Mlodzinski’s career. He topped the century mark in innings pitched, and was among the system leaders in strikeouts with 111.

Mlodzinski allowed just 10 home runs last year, despite a 45.7% fly ball rate. He posted a higher than average 17.7% home run/fly ball rate in the hitter friendly Greensboro park last year. He recovered in Altoona to a 7.3% mark.

Throughout the season, Mlodzinski wasn’t really able to gain momentum, despite having some strong outings scattered throughout the year. The Pirates experimented with him coming out of the bullpen, or having an opener start the game in front of him.

It wasn’t the biggest of sample sizes (just five games in relief), but in that time he did post a better K/9 (10.18 vs 9.31) and BB/9 (1.77 vs 3.81) as a reliever compared to being a starter.

The biggest thing is continuing to find himself as a pitcher, what works best, and what is the most effective way to get hitters out.

He’s made progress, especially towards the end of the season, and watching him on video, there is actually quite a bit there to build off of going into 2023.

Fastball Approach

This is maybe where the most experimentation has happened over the last year or so, with the righty trying to find the best way to attack hitters.

Over his last couple of starts, he started to attack hitters up in the zone more with his two-seam fastball, especially against righties.

As you can see throughout this video, the end result was a lot of weak contact. He gave up a single on a pitch that was in on the hands, and it blooped in the middle of no where in-between the defenders.

Using the elevated two-seam fastball, he generated five swing and misses just in that two minute video alone. As the game progressed, and he started to get the release point of the pitch, you can see the contact getting weaker and weaker.

His ability to throw the pitch glove side makes it that much more effective against lefties, as well as a secondary look against righties.

Slider Off The Fastball

Throwing his slider off his elevated fastball has led to some hard hit balls, but it’s sharp, down and away movement from righties is hard to track when the two are working in sync. In his last start of the season, he attacked hitters early and often with the slider, working the fastball off of it (more on that later).

Splitter/Offspeed A Weapon?

Of course any key to a starting pitcher is the ability to throw a third pitch, unless you are Spencer Strider of course, to help keep batters off balanced as you face them multiple times in a game.

Mlodzinski’s offspeed acts a lot like a splitter, with some downward/falling off a table action to it. How he incorporated it in his last game was impressive, actually waiting to work it in later in the game, after he went through the lineup one time.

He showed every hitter the same thing, had success with it, and before they could adjust, mixed in another pitch that again worked off his other two offerings.

The first few pitches in the video were an entire at-bat where he mixed in his fastball elevated in the zone, while changing the eye level the hitter throwing the offspeed low. It ends in a strikeout on a filthy pitch that looked like it fall off a table and worked away from the hitter.

I threw in some video from his September 4th start against Erie to show some of the progress and how at times it doesn’t have the same shape to it, but still has the tumbling action.

Putting It All Together

A few looks at Mlodizinski facing a couple of hitters in his last start of the season. Against the first batter of the game, he throws three straight sliders to start things out. The first one he broke over for a called strike one, the next two were a swing and miss, and fouled off. He finally finishes the hitter with a fastball up and in that the hitter couldn’t check swing.

Next up he switches things up, throwing all fastballs up in the zone before getting the hitter to swing and miss at a slider in the dirt. The last one was him just blowing fastballs by him, the last two swing and misses.

Mlodzinski was my pick for a prospect whose second half surge I’m buying, and I’ve written multiple times on his stuff and his search to put it all together

It’s never been a matter of whether he had the stuff to be successful. It was putting it all together.

The last month of the season, even the game he got hit around a bit, was perhaps the best he’s looked. Perhaps he finally found the kind of pitcher he wants to be, and will go from there.

THIS WEEK ON PIRATES PROSPECTS

Should Johan Oviedo Be in the Pirates Opening Day Rotation?

Carmen Mlodzinski Closed Out 2022 On A Strong Note – READING

Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.

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zebug

That’s interesting to me that he’s throwing his 2-seam up in the zone. Isn’t that odd or am I just painting everything with a broad brush? I always thought 2-seamers down in the zone to induce grounders and 4-seamers up for the swing and miss. A missed 2-seam that you try to throw up but misses low just meets the bat at the wrong launch angle and then HR’s galore.

ArkyWags

This guy could be a weapon out of the pen too.

Anthony

I heard his work ethic and prep are off the charts; great example for some of the younger prep guys.

b mcferren

Go Gamecocks!

Carmen Mlodzinski, Will Crowe, Steve Pearce and Kip Bouknight

Wonder what Carmen and Bubble Bubba think of each other in November?

Last edited 4 days ago by b mcferren
bianco599

Are you a Gamecock fan? I live about 30 minutes from campus. Went to Pitt but ended up on farm in SC. All in laws are big fans. Guess I pull for them too.

skliesen

I hope they don’t make you listen to that stupid song they play at SC football games too often.

JasonR33

We need the thumbs down button back! Go Cocks! (c/o 2002)

bianco599

I was at a wedding that played it. It’s like Rocky Top at a Tennessee game. I get to hear about Clemson and SC. And how much both fans bases dislike Georgia.

b mcferren

spent two years in whaley´s mill before transfering to pitt

sat behind Bouknight in intro to sport management fall class

he got an A

bianco599

Went to Pitt. Sat by several football and basketball players. Not sure what grades they got. Left Pittsburgh to head south to Charleston, SC 2008. Now not far from where you once lived. Just in the country on a farm. Thanks for answering. Can’t say I ever got into college baseball.

b mcferren

Pitt´s baseball stadium has a better view than PNC

bianco599

Will have to check it out next time I go home. Watched the Cocks play Citadel at the Riverdogs stadium in Charleston before. Pitt baseball has been decent recently. Maybe the Cocks can get back to contending for National Titles soon.

b mcferren

need a new black and gold Ben Silver tie

figure they´d probably have a good gunner jacket in there

Last edited 3 days ago by b mcferren
b mcferren

also i went to jack legget baseball camp when I was a kid fwiw

b mcferren

Bill Landrum eating at Andy´s deli my friend

steve_zielinski

If he doesn’t make it as a starter, he should be a good late inning reliever.

PirateRican21

I really love these articles. For some unreasonable reason I’m not a fan of this kid, probably stem from the fact that I wanted a different player drafted there and that player is doing better….anyway I hope he figures it out and I hope he has a break out this year.
Side note, the high and in pitch is one that most of our pitches seem to have success with, but is one that is not often used. Now this is something base on my observations, if anyone is able to provide data it would be appreciated!

PirateRican21

Glad you “called” me on this, no one, I confused the draft, so I have even less reason to feel the way I do!

Wilbur Miller

Seems like a number of folks here were less than enthused about him at the start. I kinda wondered why, but so far they seem to have been correct.

emjayinTN

A very good breakdown on this kid. He has the stuff and just needs a little more consistency to help increase his confidence level. The ankle high socks are a distinct look!

bradlej31

Mlod, Nicholas and Oviedo should all move to the pen. 60 or 70 awesome innings are much more valuable than 130 mediocre ones.

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