Pirates Prospects Daily: Execution, Location, and Run Support

Quinn Priester had another rough outing last night. In the post-game, Pirates manager Derek Shelton cited Priester’s lack of location and execution as a reason for the issues. Shelton is correct.

Priester walked three and threw two wild pitches. He gave up six runs on seven hits in five innings, with a run in every inning. Simply put, he didn’t execute and his location was an issue.

I’m not concerned by Priester. This was his sixth start, and he’s the type of person who is going to improve from his struggles. This recap by Alex Stumpf provides a great rundown of Priester’s struggles, and his comments on his struggles. Priester’s comments and character stand out in his responses.

I’m less concerned by Priester’s lack of execution and location in his sixth start, versus the offense going 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position. The Pirates offense ranks 21st in the majors, with a .248 average with runners in scoring position. Even if Priester were to execute better, it might not have helped. There are a lot of nights where it seems like a challenge to get any Pirates pitcher run support.

Essentially, on these nights, the Pirates are asking their pitchers to produce top of the rotation results to give the team a chance to win.


PIRATES (53-66) AT Mets

Score: Mets 7, Pirates 2
Pittsburgh Starter: Quinn Priester, RHP (9.10)
–Line: 5 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 2 HR
Player of the Game: Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B (2-for-5, 2B, RBI)
Attendance: 23,151

Notable Performers

  • Henry Davis, RF (1-for-3, BB, RBI)
  • Osvaldo Bido, RHP (3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR)

One Sentence Recap: Quinn Priester allowed runs in each of the first five innings, and the Pirates stranded ten runners, going 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position.


  • The Pirates released right-handed pitchers Owen Sharts and Sergio Umana from Bradenton.
  • In the last week, the Pirates have signed two minor league free agents: third baseman Joe Perez and catcher Dom Nunez. Perez is playing with Altoona, while Perez is with Indianapolis.


I’m in Greensboro this week, getting my first look at the High-A players this season. Jack Brannigan hit six home runs last week for the Grasshoppers, and was the system’s Player of the Week.

Pirates Prospect Watch: Jack Brannigan Powers His Way to Player of the Week


Luis Ortiz struggled after doing down to Indianapolis, but has turned things around in his last two starts. Each of them saw him give up one run in five innings.


Matt Gorski returned to Altoona last week, after missing a few weeks on the injured list. He went 2-for-9 in three games, with a homer and two walks.


After striking out 12 batters in his last start, Po-Yu Chen takes the mound tonight in Greensboro. I’ll have live coverage from Greensboro on the site, starting tomorrow.


Paul Skenes makes his debut with Bradenton tonight, after pitching a single inning in the FCL last week. I wouldn’t expect more than two innings.


Jun-Seok Shim and Carlos Jimenez pitched in yesterday’s FCL Pirates game. Check out the results in the daily Prospect Watch.


I hadn’t listened to Korn in a while, prior to my drive to Greensboro yesterday. This song from the last year with Danny Brown was a standout on the drive. I threw on the Follow the Leader album after this.


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Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.

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I agree with TN…..
This owner seems to go with glib, articulate BS artists from the GM down. If you listen closely to what they say, look at the facts, and watch the games, some of what they state publicly is just not true and comes off as extremely self-serving.


I have to take issue with the assessment that Q will figure it out due to his character. Many players before Q have had the drive, talent, stuff etc. and haven’t figured it out enough to be productive at the MLB level.

I’m more concerned with Priester in that he’s part of a trend where we see touted pitching prospects have their stuff back up on them. This isn’t a case only of “MLB is hard.”


Suwinski must change his 2 strike approach. He has got to swing at these borderline pitches! How many times is he going to go down looking?


He’s a fourth outfielder, or a guy that would be hitting like 8th as a third outfielder on a good team. I’d personally rather someone else showed something in AAA and would get a shot, like Mitchell. Had enough of the .210 whiff kings.


How does this opinion (or fact) have anything to do with the statement above? Maybe you say, “yes you are right, I have no idea how his coaches aren’t telling him to stop guessing and swing the damn bat with 2 strikes, it does no good to choke up if you aren’t going to swing the bat”


I was hoping Swaggerty would be the answer.


Pirates option top-10 prospect Quinn Priester to Indy, recall righty reliever Yohan Ramirez

Best thing for him, he is clearly not ready for prime time…


When Shelton regularly blames execution, as he did wrt Priester, you can’t argue with it–it’s true that if Priester didn’t hang a breaking ball or leave his 92-mph FB over the center of the plate, the ball likely wouldn’t have been hit as hard. But it also seems to me to be an oversimplification because there is never any acknowledgement of the role development and game preparation plays in being able to execute.

Maybe Shelton understands this and just worries that he’d look weak if he ever took some responsibility for failures. But I’d love to know that he recognizes that when a player meets failure, it’s not just that individual but also the members of the team responsible for putting the player in position to succeed.


Shelton’s inability to take any responsibility is my biggest problem with him. Overusing relievers is a close second.


and what exact approach would you prefer him to use when we have garbage starters (because we are like 12th on the depth chart) at this point?


You are so obtuse there is no point to explain it to you. It would be a waste of our time.


You may want to learn what obtuse means as well, just for starters. A question cannot BE obtuse.


Your “question” has two definitive statements in it.
“we have garbage starters”
“because we are like 12th on the depth chart”
Your question is:
And what exact approach would you prefer him to use at this point?
Which I would have replied:
I would hope he would quit using guys 4 out of 6 straight days. (He used Bednar 4 out of 5 and had him get hot, not warm the only day he didn’t use him). 5 straight days is too much.
I can give several examples of the 4 out of 6 while we had arms in the pen that hadn’t pitched for 3 or 4 days, sometimes more. (Bednar has been this guy as well, only to be brought in with 2 outs in the ninth in a blowout.)
Lastly my statement said nothing about starters, just overusing relievers. So please learn to ask questions in a manner that isn’t condescending it makes you look stupid, unintelligent or slow to understand. You know obtuse.


Your statement is so upetty and condescending you must be a real pleasure at home.


I agree. Not sure he’s the one to lead them out of the wilderness. That said they are in most of the games again, and we are not Met fans – ha!


When the Pirates have players struggle, they seem to struggle for a long time. Jack, Reynolds and Hayes have been in big funks. Even Triolo, despite a decent average, got his first extra base hit in a month. Castro, Bae and Nick seemed to have gotten worse the more they played. Contreras, Ortiz and Priester seemed to get worse at the mound.

I understand some of these guys weren’t ready for the big leagues and most of those guys have no experience, but a big job by a staff is recognzing an issue and fixing it is part of the job.


Here’s just one example of such–when Jack Brannigan and Notre Dame shocked the #1 Vols in the ’22 Super Regionals, this is how the Vols coach handled the disappointment (from the Knoxville News Sentinel):

A glum Vitello opened his postgame press conference by criticizing himself for – in his words – failing to put his players in position to succeed for “the last three innings.”

I imagine if Shelton had been in charge, then the focus would have been on the Vols’ starter not executing pitches on a couple of HR balls that led to a tie and then the lead (Brannigan’s).


Tonight’s lineup has Palacios in CF (vs. a lefty), Joe at 1B, Delay catching. Why not play Endy at 1B, Joe in LF, Reynolds in CF and give Endy some consistent at bats? If you recall, Endy played first base in the Futures Game.


They only want Endy catching right now. The real question is why they aren’t allowing Davis to catch at ALL despite saying he would after the deadline.


If a pitcher doesn’t have command and control of his pitches he is not a major league pitcher, and therefore should not be pitching at this level… pretty much describes the state of Pirate pitching before and now…

Priester is not ready for a prime time among others, but due to FO moves was forced to the major-league level…can he learn his trade at this level, time will tell…


Suwinski: .209 BA, 38.7 swing %, 30.3 whiff % (if I’m reading Baseball Savant correctly)
Davis: .228 BA, 43.2 swing %, 25.2 whiff %
MLB: .249 BA, 47.1 swing %, 24.8 whiff %

Are we wedded to Jack Suwinski (his BA isbelow the actual Mendoza line)? Can he be “fixed”? Can we rely on the staff to aid him?


With Suwinski and several others I’m not ready to give up on them until we see what they can do with different coaching, whether that comes in the offseason on their own or through a change on the Pirates staff. Maybe this is just who he is or maybe a player promoted from AA needed much more development at the MLB level than Shelton and Haines are able to provide.


I don’t think Suwinski’s broken but fear what you see is who he is. Occasional home runs coupled with a .200-.210 BA and a 40-50% strike out rate. No where near good enough for a team that hopes to contend. The Pirates need to find themselves a quality center fielder.

I think Davis will eventually hit, but he’ll never be anything but a defensive liability in the outfield. The Pirates need to either let him catch and/or play first base or trade him to a team that will maybe for an actual outfielder.


No- his problem is his approach. I’d bet you a years worth of primanti’s sandwhiches that Suwinsky leads the league in % of plate appearances that he goes down LOOKING. I can’t find this stat anywhere, if anyone knows how to find something this specific please let me know. He needs to change his 2 strike approach, they aren’t even trying to get him fishing anymore, they just throw him strikes and he Ks with the bat on his shoulder.


BA with Runners in scoring position should be about equal to overall BA and it is. This idea that teams should do better with RISP than without is ludicrous.

Players try the same all the time. They are pros.

The league wide average is about the same regardless, as is the pirates.

Anyone using RISP stats as a reason a team stinks is beating a dead horse. A meaningless one.


Well they are hitting as well as they hit without so why did you mention it at all?


.248 isn’t a particularly terrible team batting average tim Especially when 40% of the ABs are from rookies


Without researching I am thinking the RISP batting average possibly should be a little less, but I could be wrong. Sometimes with runners in scoring position, you might just be trying to hit a groundball to move the runner. Even though you did your job as a hitter, it lowers your batting average.


I don’t know how anyone cannot be concerned with Priester. He’s not major league material and not close. He didn’t deserve the call up. It was done out of necessity/desperation. His numbers weren’t good in AAA and he was seen as being very hittable. That has proved exactly true in MLB. Perhaps he will find something and improve next year, but he needs to be sent down immediately. No organization that is actually trying to win games would have him on their roster right now.


Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to give him some starts to see where he really is. Now he knows what he needs to focus on, its fine.


hoptown, understandable post… and, if I’m looking? Priester went down as you suggested. But I’ll say this: He DID deserve the call because they had the necessity/ desperation you cited. What you’re saying, I think, is that he wasn’t ready and we can agree on that.

I think the experience will be good for Priester and I see him figuring it out. Very level headed guy, I think.

And I can follow your last sentence too: The Pirates are not trying to win right now. I think they were surprised by the early success but that has faded with injuries.

It would be rational to deal from our strengths and depth to add pitching if we were seeing the early success as more than smoke and mirrors; if, indeed, we were trying to win games.


Man the Pirates don’t know anything. It’s always a bad idea to release Sharts…


I understand you can’t really plan for 2/5 of your starting rotation to have season ending injuries early on (Brubaker, Velasquez). I understand you can’t really plan on your most major league ready pitching prospect having a season ending injury (Burrows). I know you can’t plan on two other young major league ready starters regressing in a big way this season (Contreras, Ortiz)…

But a competent major league organization needs to be prepared for IF these things happen. They’re now stuck in a position where they have to continue to trot out Priester every 5 days to get shelled due to lack of options and relying heavily on waiver wire pickups the rest of the way…


No organization without boatloads of cash or the willingness to deal their top prospects for available major league arms (not what you want a small market team to do) can prepare for this. Move on.


The NL Central is playing out about the way we expected where the winner may only have ~85 wins. Anticipating this, many GMs would have acted quickly when Brubaker, Velasquez, and Burrows went down but Cherington stood pat.

Cherington apologists can talk about how he had built depth and can’t be held accountable for the injuries and ineffectiveness. But when you have the top farm system (and more depth at 2B than we know what to do with), you have opportunities to pivot when things don’t go as planned. Cherington didn’t believe in this team, and said so (his infamous comment that their models didn’t have them being above .500 in May) and it showed by his inaction.


Of course he didnt’, because he knew that the team was not ready, just like any level headed fan does. Expect something different in 2024 if we come out playing well.


The injuries you can’t do anything about, but a competant org doesn’t have all their young pitchers suck.


It’s a stretch to expect any team to have 10 replacement level or better starting pitchers. The Yankees and Cardinals are having similar issues. Even with their resources, they do not have a surplus of starting pitching, waiting for the worst scenario.


How many teams have 5 Major league average starters just chilling in AAA waiting for a call up? 0. That’s how many.


If Cherringon were competent, the 2023 Pirates would be as good and deep as the 27 Yankees.


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