Pirates Prospects Daily: Best Fastballs In The Pittsburgh Pirates System

There’s nothing better than watching a pitcher challenge a hitter with a really good fastball. It’s just something about the two going head-to-head, with the pitcher bringing everything he has with his hardest fastball.

The Pirates have no shortage of prospects in the system who can really ramp up the fastball, and are no stranger to racking up the strikeouts with the pitch.

Today, let’s look at the three best fastballs in the Pittsburgh Pirates system.

Jared Jones

Jones didn’t lead the system in strikeouts by mistake, as his upper-90s fastball was unhittable at times. The 2020 second round pick touched triple digits during Spring Training, and gave batters fits throughout the year in High-A Greensboro for the Grasshoppers.

There may be no better example of Jones executing his fastball at his best than the first inning of the season he pitched. Jones strikes out the side, primarily using the fastball.

Bubba Chandler

There’s an argument to be made, one that Baseball America agrees with, that Chandler has the best fastball in the entire system. Chandler had one of the best strikeout, and swing and miss rates in the Pirates’ system last year, largely due to the fastball.

The two-way prospect can easily hit the upper-90s, and can get plenty of break on it along with a high spin rate. In his Bradenton debut, Chandler was able to generate 10 swings and misses on 19 total swings on the fastballs.

Luis Ortiz

In what was one of the biggest jumps in development this past season, Ortiz went from Bradenton in 2021 all the way to the majors this past season. A jump in velocity on his fastball helped pave the way for the system leader in innings pitched, striking out 138 total batters.

His 98.4 mph average velocity on his fastball in the majors would have been the 10th in the majors had he qualified.

One of the biggest things fueling the hype around him late in the season was the comparisons he got from Baseball Savant, based off of pitch velocity and movement – Sandy Alcantara, Hunter Greene, Luis Castillo, Gerrit Cole, and Jordan Hicks.

Not bad company to keep.

Highlight of the Day

Pirates Prospects Daily

By Tim Williams

**Ethan Hullihen looks at the changes to the qualifiers in order to receive Competitive Balance Tax.

**Jesus Castillo had another multi-hit game, highlighted in John Dreker’s latest Pirates winter league update.

**Missed yesterday? Anthony looked at the rotation signings creating competition for playing time.

Song of the Day

Pirates Prospects Weekly

In his latest Pirates Business update, Ethan Hullihen explores what happens with the Competitive Balance Tax income.

Pirates Business: Competitive Balance Tax Changes

I’ll have my latest First Pitch on Monday at noon.

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.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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Some of the new RP’s got big FB’s. Colin Holderman(sinker), Jose Hernandez, Nate Webb, Angel Perdomo all throw high 90’s that touch 98-100 mph. Blake Cederlind hopefully regains his big FB and can stay healthy this season. Oliver Mateo got that big FB too; just no control.

Last edited 1 month ago by pittsburghbob69

Man, I could watch Ortiz blow fb’s past the Yankees in that stadium all day.


Hoping this is the year that Chandler becomes a full time pitcher.


Jared Jones probably has the highest ceiling in the system imo, but also possibly the highest variance


Honest question: why?

Jones doesn’t come close to the fastball/slider combo you just saw out of Luis Ortiz’s hand and has shown little aptitude for command and/or a deeper repertoire.

Short of repeating the narrative in place, I can’t for the life of me figure how Jones gets this tag.


He needs command of his pitches. It’s harder to blow FBs by batters at every level.


I think Bubba could take a big developmental leap this season. Being a two sport, two-way prep draftee with crazy raw talent and potential that needs to be harnessed, the offseason after a full year of playing and seeing both what works and what he needs to work on to turn that potential into production could be huge for the growth of his game.

b mcferren

Jason Kendall should be the manager of our team


I would love that. Big side chaw in while yelling at the umps and/or Pirates players. That ankle injury he had was brutal to watch. I remember him not wearing batting gloves while with the Pirates. Would be exciting.


Based on what? What experience does he have that makes you think he can just step into an MLB manager role successfully? He’s never managed a team before. It’s ridiculous.


Neither had Shelton. Your point?

b mcferren

World Series winner with the Royals

b mcferren

also because he´s been entrusted with our franchise player


When they say good pitching beats good hitting, what they really mean is a well placed fastball neutralizes even the best hitters. A high velocity fastball allows pitchers to have more room for error on location, but as Jared Jones will attest, a poorly located fastball no matter how fast it’s thrown will get hit hard.

All three Pitchers highlighted in this article have the potential to be special if they improve their ability to command their supercharged heaters. Looking forward to watching this play out this season.


Keep the stirrups, Jared. (And the fastball)

b mcferren

and the big boots

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