Pittsburgh Pirates: Five Pitching Prospects Ready For a Last Second Promotion

Photo Credit: Chapman University Athletics

 The Pittsburgh Pirates made an interesting move on Tuesday, promoting Diego Castillo to Triple-A Indianapolis. While his play certainly warranted it, the interesting part was how late in the season it was, as well as it being him as opposed to Rodolfo Castro who already had played in the majors this year.

In the theme of the Castillo getting called up, I took a look at some pitchers, that although I'm not necessarily in favor of promoting this late, would make sense for the Pirates to may give a final look at a different level and see how they respond.

When it comes to position players, this breaks down five who also warrant a promotion to a new level.

Brennan Malone, RHP Florida Complex League

To say that 2021 was a disappointing year for Malone, who was acquired in the Starling Marte trade along with Liover Peguero, might still be a major understatement. There was a time during the draft process where some debated on whether Malone or Quinn Priester was the top prep pitcher.

At least for now we can safe the Pirates made the right original decision. 

After three less than stellar outings with the Bradenton Marauders to start the year Malone ended up back at Extended Spring Training to work on his mechanics and deal with an injury. The 20-year old Malone walked five batters and four hits in just 3 2/3 innings in Low-A.

In the Florida Complex League things didn't start any better, as Malone allowed one hit, a grand slam, after walking the bases loaded. He recorded only one out in that start.

Since then he has shown progress with just one walk in the next six innings, showing the strikeout stuff that made him one of the top rated prospects in the 2019 draft (eight strikeouts in six innings).

There is still a lot of work to be done, and he will still likely start the year in Bradenton in 2022, but it would be nice to see him pushed just a bit with a couple appearances out of the bullpen to close out the season for the Marauders.

Adrian Florencio, RHP Bradenton Marauders

The righty has been one of the better pitchers in the Low-A Southeast. Florencio has posted a 4-4 record with a 2.39 ERA with a league leading 105 strikeouts in 79 innings pitched. You won't find Florencio on almost any prospect reports, but it'd still be nice to see how he responds to High-A pitching after dominating in Bradenton for the entire season.

Santiago Florez got a similar push earlier in the season and it hasn't gone well since joining Greensboro so the Pirates may not want to push Florencio and ruin any confidence built up.

Cam Alldred, RHP Altoona Curve

Alldred could follow in suite the likes of Hunter Stratton, another Altoona reliever that got the call to Indianapolis. Stratton has struggled in Triple-A but that shouldn't stop Alldred from getting an opportunity, especially if the Pirates call up a couple of pitchers for September.

The 25-year old 24th round pick out of Cincinnati has posted a 4-0 record with a 2.09 ERA in 51 innings this season for the Curve.

Quinn Priester, RHP Greensboro Grasshoppers

This one was a tough one. On one hand, Priester really deserves this after the month of August he put together and overall how he has progressed throughout the season.

On the other, he's still just 20-years old and already pitching in High-A, not sure there is a rush to put him in Double-A just yet. 

Then again, Baseball America did warn he could very well end up being the top pitching prospect in all of baseball by the end of the year, and a jump to Double-A could certainly help his cause for that.

Priester has racked up 10 strikeouts in two of his last three starts. His most recent start saw him strikeout the first nine batters he faced and 13 overall. Two starts prior he struck out 10 in seven shutout innings.

The 2019 first round pick looked every bit the billing of the top pitching prospect in one of the best systems in baseball, even if it's just for two starts, it'd be nice to see him get pushed a bit and get a feel for Double-A hitting before starting 2022 there.

Nick Garcia/Logan Hofmann, RHPs Bradenton Marauders

I really wanted to have Carmen Mlodzinski here in the last spot, but it doesn't look like he's worked his way all the way back from his injury. Either one of Garcia or Hofmann could be an option to move up as they are both college pitchers in Low-A. 

To be honest, the idea of moving any pitcher up for two starts doesn't seem to accomplish too much but where both Garcia and Hofmann have the advantage is that they project to be relievers and if you slide them into the bullpen they may be able to get more work in as opposed to as a starter.

This also would have been a perfect spot for someone like Po-Yu Chen before his promotion last week. Now the options get that much more limited with the small timeframe we are dealing with.

Who else do you feel deserves to get promoted before the season ends when it comes to pitchers? Who on this list should get a look at a higher level first? Let us know in the comment section below, and subscribe to the site with the link at the top. Also follow us on Twitter @SportsBlogMurphy and @__Murphy88.

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