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Top 30 Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects To Target In Dynasty Leagues

The Pittsburgh Pirates have seemed to be in a rebuild for quite some time. While top prospects Quinn Priester, Henry Davis, and Nick Gonzalez have made their debuts none have stood out like many might have hoped for. But there are more prospects making their way up the ladder towards the majors and we should see more making their debut in 2024. For now, let’s dive into the Pittsburgh Pirate’s Top 30 prospects to target in dynasty leagues.

If you aren’t playing your dynasty leagues on Fantrax, you’re missing out on the deepest player pool and most customization around. Just starting out in a dynasty league? Then check out Rick Haake’s Top-400 Overall Fantasy Prospects and Tyler Bowen’s Top-500 Dynasty League Rankings.

Top 10 Pirates Prospects

Paul Skenes, RHP

(5 GS, 6.2 IP, 10 K, 5.40 ERA)

The generational arm coming out of LSU had a massive season with the Tigers leading them to win the College World Series with teammate Dylan Crews. In his final season with the Tigers, Skenes started 19 games, striking out 209 batters in 122.2 innings, and finishing with a 1.69 ERA. The LSU Tigers did not hold back using Skenes this season so it’s not surprising to me that he seemed gassed once he was selected first overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2023.

Skenes features a high 90s fastball that dominated college bats in 2023 and was played up by the plus slider-inducing swing and miss. The change-up lacks behind the fastball and slider but can flash above average at times. Skenes profiles as a front-of-the-rotation arm long-term for the the Pirates and should be a target in 10-team leagues and up for his likelihood of cracking the major leagues early in 2024.

Termarr Johnson, 2B

(105 GP, .244/.422/.438, 18 HR, 83 R, 59 RBI, 10 SB)

Selected in the first round of the 2022 MLB draft out of high school Termarr Johnson’s start as a professional hasn’t been as swift as we might have thought. In 2023 Johnson ascended two levels starting in Low Bradenton where he slashed .244/.419/.448 with 13 home runs, 57 runs scored, and swiped seven bags in 75 games played. This was a repeat of Low-A for Johnson and the Pirates promoted the 19-year-old up to High-A Greensboro. Once with the Grasshoppers Johnson slashed .242/.427/.414 with five home runs, 26 runs scored, and had three stolen bases in 30 games played.

One thing you will notice with Termarr Johnson is that he is a high on base percentage player and this is obvious not only in the OBP but in the high walk rates he has maintained. In Low-A Johnson walked 21.8% of the time while striking out 26.7%. Johnson would follow that up walking 22% of the time while striking out just 24.2% of the time in High-A Greensboro. The underlying numbers look solid for Termarr Johnson who should get to 25-30 home runs power as he continues to develop and with the advanced eye at the plate there is still a chance to see that batting average get back to a respectable level.

Nick Gonzales, 2B

(35 GP, .209/.268/.348, 2 HR, 13 RBI)

Before the call to the major leagues, Nick Gonzales had a solid season in Triple-A Indianapolis. While there Gonzales slashed .281/.379/.507 with 14 HR, 75 runs scored, 49 RBI, and four stolen bases in 99 games played. Gonzales was sharp at the plate walking 12% and striking out just 26.6% of the time in Indy. Once promoted to the Pirates though the struggles started to show as Gonzales slashed just .209/.268/.348 with two home runs, 12 runs scored and 13 RBIs in 35 games played.

Despite the rough start as a major leaguer Nick Gonzales has been a slow starter at each stop in the minor leagues and I believe if he is given a solid chunk of playing time in 2024 he could solidify himself at second base and be a solid contributor in deeper dynasty leagues.

Anthony Solometo, LHP

(24 GS, 110.1 IP, 118 K, 3.26 ERA)

The Anthony Solometo who dominated the SALL league while with the High-A Grasshoppers was different once he got to Double-A Altoona. In 12 starts with the Grasshoppers Solometo struck out 68 batters in 58.2 innings pitched (10.43 K/9) with a .206 average against and finished with a 2.30 ERA. Solometo struggled at times in Greensboro with the walks as he finished with a 3.84 BB/9 but did a great job of keeping the ball on the ground and in the ballpark. Once he was promoted to Double-A Altoona though the ball started to fly a bit more.

In 12 starts with the Curve Solometo struck out just 50 batters in 51.2 innings pitched (8.71 K/9) with a .245 average against and finished the year with a 4.35 ERA. So the strikeout rate dropped 1.72 per nine once promoted to Double-A but that’s not the only change in Solometos games. The walks per nine dropped which was good but the home run rate jumped .74 per nine innings as the HR/FB increased. Overall Solometo might just be a contact pitcher that could be a solid mid-rotational arm but I don’t see a front-line starter in his profile for dynasty purposes.

Jared Jones, RHP

(26 GP, 25 GS, 126.1 IP, 146 K, 3.92 ERA)

Jared Jones is an interesting pitcher in the Pirates organization this season he ascended two levels starting his season in Double-A Altoona. While with the Curve Jones started in 10 games striking out 47 batters in 44.1 innings pitched (9.54 K/) with a .201 average agaisnt and finished with a solid 2.23 ERA. Once promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis Jones played in 16 games with 15 of them being starts and showed an increase in his strikeout rate to 10.87 per nine.

Overall Jones is a three-pitch pitcher with a plus fastball that he throws up in the zone and has good movement as well as a slider that flashes plus and induces a ton of swing and miss. The change-up is behind and I believe if he is to remain a starter he will need to improve upon the change-up. I got a lot of live looks at Jared Jones back in 2022 while in Greensboro and I was impressed with how he attacked hitters and think he could stick as a starter long-term or be an extremely interesting middle-to-late reliever in worse case scenario.

Thomas Harrington, RHP

(26 GS, 127.1 IP, 146 K, 3.53 ERA)

One of my favorite “under the radar” arms in the Pittsburgh Pirates system right now is Thomas Harrington. Drafted out of Campbell University Harrington got his first full season as a pro in 2023. Across eight starts in Low-A Bradenton Harrington struck out 40 batters in 39 innings pitched (9.23 K/9) with a .226 average against and finished with a solid 2.77 ERA. The Pirates then promoted Harrington to High-A Greensboro where he was sharp for the Grasshoppers.

Over 18 starts Harrington struck out 106 batters in 88.1 innings pitched (10.80 K/9) with a .251 average against and finished the season with a 3.87 ERA. Overall the command of the fastball up in the zone stood out to me watching Harrington and the plus change-up was sharp inducing weak contact and swing and miss. The slider was hit or miss and could get him into trouble leaving it over the heart of the plate. Long-term Harrington profiles as a back-end starter who could push to an SP 3 If the slider improves but without top-tier velocity, he won’t stand out as a reliever.

Bubba Chandler, RHP

(25 GS, 111 IP, 128 K, 4.54 ERA)

Part of the future rotation for the Pirates, Bubba Chandler ascended two levels in 2023 playing most of the season in High-A Greensboro. The 20-year-old started 24 games striking out 128 batters in 106 innings pitched (10.19 K/9) with a .265 average against and finished with a 4.75 ERA. So I’ll be honest I’ve seen a lot of Bubba Chandler in Greensboro this season and I was not impressed with what I saw. Chandler had a nice fastball but struggled to locate it, the slider and change-up were extremely inconsistent and were left over the plate far too much going back to the lack of command and control.

This is also evident in the 4.33 BB/9 as well as the high HR/9 of 1.27 in a relatively neutral park in Greensboro. In addition, the high BABIP and even higher FIP tell me he was worse than the numbers show. Chandler pitched one game in Double-A Altoona going 5 IP striking out 8 and giving up just one hit, more than a solid debut overall. For me, Chandler looks nothing more than a back-end starter at best and more than likely a long reliever if he can’t get the walks under control.

Mitch Jebb, SS

(34 GP, .297/.382/.398, 1 HR, 26 R, 13 RBI, 11 SB)

Taken in the second round of the 2023 MLB draft Mitch Jebb showed above-average production while assigned to Low-A Bradenton. In 34 games played Mitch Jebb slashed .297/.382/.398 with one home run, 26 runs scored, 13 RBIs, and stole 11 bases in 12 attempts. Known for his strong bat-to-ball skills while at Michigan State Jebb also displayed a plus eye at the plate walking 11.1% while only striking out 7.2% of the time.

Long term this feels similar to Nick Gonzalez but I think the bat-to-ball skills are better, Jebb will not hit for power so don’t expect more than 5-10 home runs in a season. Jebb has above-average speed and could come into 20-30 stolen bases early on in his career. Overall a solid dynasty asset to have in your minor leagues.

Jack Brannigan, 3B

(87 GP, .275/.390/.524, 19 HR, 64 R, 54 RBI, 24 SB)

Overall Jack Brannigan had a solid season in 2023 starting the year first in Low-A Bradenton. In 49 games with the Marauders Brannigan slashed .253/.398/.451 with seven home runs, 38 runs scored, 17 RBIs, and swiped 17 bases in 19 attempts. After the strong start in Bradenton Brannigan was promoted to High-A Greensboro where the 22-year-old went off. In 38 games played Brannigan slashed .299/.382/.605 with 12 HR, 26 runs scored, 37 RBIs, and swiped seven bags in eight attempts.

Brannigan showed that he can walk at a high percentage so far in his brief minor league career and this season was no exception as he walked 15.9% of the time in Low-A and 12.1% in High-A. What Brannigan will need to improve on is the strikeout rate he had in High-A Greensboro (33.5%) if he is to make an impact for dynasty that will need to come down.

Hunter Barco, LHP

(9 GP, 8 GS, 18.1 IP, 28 K, 3.44 ERA)

Hunter Barco had a short season in 2023 playing in complex ball for three appearances then finishing his season with Low-A Bradenton. While with the Marauders Barco started in six games with 19 strikeouts in 10.2 innings pitched (16.03 K/9) with a staggering .289 average against and finished with a 5.06 ERA. Despite the high ERA Hunter Barco appears to have gotten a bit unlucky as the high .500 BABIP and a much lower FIP of 1.37 would indicate.

Overall Hunter Barco profiles as a back-end rotation piece long-term for dynasty purposes and could end up in the bullpen long-term as a long reliever.

Top 30 Prospects of the Pittsburgh Pirates

RnkPlayerPosTeamAgeETAOverall Rnk
1Paul SkenesRHPPIT2120246
2Termarr Johnson2BPIT19202533
3Nick Gonzales2B/SSPIT23Debuted134
4Anthony SolometoLHPPIT212024183
5Jared JonesRHPPIT222024203
6Thomas HarringtonRHPPIT222024358
7Bubba ChandlerRHPPIT212025207
8Mitch JebbSSPIT212025NR
9Jack Brannigan3BPIT222025381
10Hunter BarcoLHPPIT232024384
11Lonnie WhiteOFPIT202025NR
12Jase BowenOF/1BPIT232025NR
13Michael BurrowsRHPPIT242024NR
14Michael KennedyLHPPIT192026NR
15Carmen MlodzinskiRHPPIT24DebutedNR
16Braxton AshcraftRHPPIT232024NR
17Tres GonzalezOFPIT232025NR
18Matt FraizerOFPIT252024NR
19Matt GorskiOFPIT252024NR
20Canaan Smith-NjigbaOFPIT24DebutedNR
21Malcom Nunez3BPIT222024NR
22Kyle NicolasRHPPIT242023NR
23Dariel Lopez3BPIT212023NR
24Garret Forrester1BPIT222026NR
25Shalin PolancoOFPIT192026NR
26Zander MuethRHPPIT182028NR
27Carlson ReedRHPPIT212027NR
28Jun-Seok ShimRHPPIT192025NR
29Jackson WolfLHPPIT242024NR
30Tsung-Che ChengSSPIT222025NR
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