P2Daily: Looking At and Beyond Brennan Malone’s 2021 Season

It was the first significant move that Ben Cherington made as the General Manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, trading Starling Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Liover Peguero and Brennan Malone.

While Peguero has established himself as not only one of the top prospects in the system, but also in baseball, we haven’t seen too much of Malone.

Whether it be due to signing late or struggling with injuries and control on the mound, Malone has thrown just 22 professional innings since being drafted in 2019.

None of that is really news, this has been well known about Malone throughout the offseason. With Cody Potanko’s update on Malone on Tuesday,  I wanted to go back and watch over Malone’s brief time in Bradenton.

It was interesting to watch Malone pitch in Bradenton. The stuff is there, he’s just having an issue commanding it. He also received no help in the first game shown on the video, with the defense committing two errors right off the back. There was another throw by Dariel Lopez that wasn’t called an error that probably could have been.

In fact, all four of the runs that Malone allowed with Bradenton was unearned. He struggled, yes, allowing four hits, five walks and hitting a batter in just 3 2/3 innings, but also the defense didn’t do him any favors.

That takes me back to what X2 Baseball said about the progress that Malone has made this offseason, specifically when it comes to his breaking pitches.

“Brennan has made incredible strides with his changeup playing different from his fastball and worked on adding sweep to his slider,” said Robert Zeigler of X2 Baseball Facility. “We are starting to see four separate clusters on our pitch tracking tech.”

That was an interesting statement once I went back and watched his film from Bradenton. One of things that made Malone such a highly regarded prospect in the draft was his four-pitch mix. Having that wide array of options can help even a prep pitcher advance quickly through the system, which obviously hasn’t been the case for Malone, yet.

Looking back at it, you can see the difference. I looked at just the sliders and curveballs he threw in the video above, and you can see that the two look very similar. The slider has good break on it, but at times didn’t have the ‘snap’ if you will that you would want to entice righties too bite on to swing and miss at.

The sliders that started at about 0:18 and 0:28 were maybe the two best shown and they did have more of that ideal break on it.

It was also the second half of that quote from the same article that was interesting.

“Malone is approaching four-plus offerings to either start or come out the pen throwing 98-100 mph with two different hard breakers,” said Zeigler.

That immediately made me think of what I wrote about Bear Bellomy recently, and how he had two different approaches, depending on what side of the batter box the hitter was in.

Throwing in the upper-90s on top of having three other potentially plus pitches and then coming out of the bullpen could be a potentially intriguing options should that be something the Pirates look to entertain.

Malone will still just be 21-years old for the majority of the 2022 schedule, there’s still plenty of time for him to work things out and it looks like he took a step towards that this offseason.

Pirates Prospects Spotlight

Brennan Malone is Showing a Confidence Surge

Cody Potanko breaks down Malone’s work with X2.

Daily Links

Pirates Prospects

**Ethan Hullihen: MLB Lockout Negotiation Week: Notes from Tuesday

**John Dreker: Top 100 Prospects List for Fangraphs Has Four Pirates

**Tim Williams: Cody Bolton Returning Healthy and With His Old Slider

Elsewhere

**Jason Mackey: Acquired in Jacob Stallings trade, prospects Connor Scott, Kyle Nicolas could be key for Pirates

**Alex Stumpf: Prospects from Stallings trade look at make next step together

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