Breaking Down The Pirates New Pitching Prospects (Could A Sleeper Emerge?)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

As part of the five-player trade between the Cleveland Indians and Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh acquired a pair of young pitchers.  While neither have posted intriguing numbers to date, we all know that it’s not always about the numbers.  Is there upside in either of the two?  Let’s take a quick look at the prospects and see if either of them should be on our radars:


Tahnaj Thomas – Right-Handed Pitcher
The 19-year old posted a 4.58 ERA over 19.2 IP at Rookie Ball last season and has thrown just 58.0 IP since being signed out of the Bahamas.  It’s far too small of a sample size to draw any definitive conclusions, the key here is his size (Thomas is listed at 6’4” and 190 lbs.) and the potential development of his stuff.  After the trade Baseball America described him by saying:

His fastball sits 92-96 mph, and he’s tightened his breaking ball to make it more of a true slider. Listed at 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, he’s physical and athletic, and at this stage of his career he largely just needs to get more experience on the mound.

The Pirates have a history of developing pitchers, which makes this type of scouting report all the more intriguing.  While it doesn’t seem to be the case today, there’s value and it’s possible that Thomas’ stock quickly rises.  Keep the name on your radar to see how things develop.

Current Grade – C (but could be considered a borderline C+)


Dante Mendoza – Right-Handed Pitcher
Another 19-year old, Mendoza was a 12th round pick in 2017 and spent the year in Rookie Ball (4.58 ERA over 37.1 IP).  While he’s young as well, the scouting report from Baseball America isn’t quite as impressive:

Listed at 6-foot-5, 186 pounds, he is long and projectable and gets good extension on his delivery. He throws his fastball 86-90 mph and needs to refine his secondary offerings while continuing to get stronger.

Is he worth keeping in mind?  Perhaps, but the upside isn’t as high and there’s significant development that’s needed.  It’s possible he profiles more as a future reliever as opposed to a pitcher with starting potential.

Current Grade – C-

Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball America

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