Prospect Notes: Chandler, Solometo and Cheng Impress; Indianapolis is Among the Best

Baseball America and MLB Pipeline each have prospect articles from Thursday morning that include notes on the Pittsburgh Pirates. BA has an article for 50 prospects who stood out during Spring Training. Pipeline’s article looks at the most talented teams in the minors.

Starting with the BA list, three Pirates made their group of 50 players. They have mentions for pitchers Bubba Chandler and Anthony Solometo, as well as shortstop Tsung-Che Cheng.

Chandler’s report sounds a lot like how he looked last year in Bradenton, noting the strong velocity, the breaking ball with plus potential, as well as a changeup that is a solid pitch. Chandler will just be concentrating on pitching this season, though hitting isn’t ruled out for the future.

Solometo has received some notice this spring due to better velocity. He put up solid stats last year, but from years of watching prospects at the lower levels, I can tell you that all a lefty really needs is to be able to throw strikes to get by before he hits Double-A. I’ve seen lefties dominate in A-Ball numerous times while throwing mid-80s with one off-speed pitch and control.

Solometo not only threw strikes, he has a lot of deception in his delivery. However, his velocity was mediocre last year. This year he had added at least 3-4 MPH on average to his fastball, topping out at 95 MPH according to reports.

Cheng continues to receive great reports, as he hits wherever he goes, and he impresses with his all-around play. BA has a note on him collecting two hits against Charlie Morton this spring in a backfield game. He was one of the better hitters in the Florida State League last year, it the FCL in 2021, and across numerous years (both pro and amateur) in international play.

All three of these players will be in Greensboro this year.

As for the Pipeline article, they rated the top ten minor league teams based on prospects. The Indianapolis Indians rated as the seventh best in baseball among the 120 full-season teams.

Going by the MLB Pipeline ratings, Indianapolis has the following top 30 prospects in the Pirates system:

2. Endy Rodriguez

4. Quinn Priester

5. Nick Gonzales

8. Luis Ortiz

9. Mike Burrows

16. Malcom Nunez

18. Jared Triolo (currently injured)

22. Travis Swaggerty

25. Carmen Mlodzinski

Baseball America also made some very minor changes to their top 100, as a few players have graduated or been injured long-term. The Pirates list is basically the same as before, just adjusted for movement. Endy Rodriguez goes from 23 to 21. Termarr Johnson moved from 49 to 48. Henry Davis and Luis Ortiz are both still 73/74 respectively. They usually save their bigger changes for after the draft and after the season.

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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