BRADENTON, Fla. – Last week, the latest top 100 rankings were released from FanGraphs, placing Quinn Priester at number 102.
Priester has consistently shown up as a top 100 prospect, or in the range, with some outlets rating him higher than others. The rankings don’t matter much to Priester, who has the same end goal regardless.
“For me, the goal hasn’t changed,” said Priester. “I still want to be the guy pitching the playoff game at PNC Park down the road, trying to win us games. Whether I’m in the top 100 or not, that goal isn’t going to change. I continue to keep trying to be the best pitcher that I can be, and the best pitcher that hopefully the Pirates want me to be, and then go from there.”
The difference between rankings for Priester have him as either a mid-rotation starter or a top-of-the-rotation guy who can lead a team into the playoffs.
“I’ve already put it on my shoulders,” said Priester of the positive rankings. “So people doing that for me, I love that, they expect big things because they should, but I do too.”
We’ve covered Priester twice recently, with Anthony Murphy looking at the need for better fastball command, and Cody Potanko looking at how he’s working on tunneling the curveball off the fastball, among other things. Both articles underscore a big issue with Priester’s game last year — a lack of dominant stuff, despite having one of the best curveballs in the game.
Priester chalked up his early-season struggles to learning.
“High-A is not high school baseball,” said Priester. “Going into it, my competitiveness is my biggest strength. So, my competitiveness also beat my ass in the beginning of the year, because I wanted to throw my best stuff and just throw it by guys, and make them look dumb, but that doesn’t work when they don’t swing because it’s not in the zone.”
Priester got into two-strike situations where he’d get too excited for a strikeout, and would make bad pitches, letting the hitter back in the count.
“I learned how to use my stuff better,” said Priester.
One key thing to remember here is that Priester was drafted out of high school in 2019, and played his first season in pro ball in High-A in 2021. It’s easy to forget that he’s still learning, and probably should be graded more on his potential than lower-level results.
In a lot of ways, Priester reminds me of Jameson Taillon. Drafted out of high school, a high baseball aptitude, an amazing breaking pitch that is reduced by a non-deceptive four seam fastball, and the solution is probably just to add more pitches for deception, with each pitch serving its own attack purpose at a different point in the zone.
If the worst ranking on him still has him as a mid-rotation starter, that’s not bad.
I still would bet on the over with him, banking on his determination and the capacity for improvement that he’s already shown in his young career.
THIS WEEK ON PIRATES PROSPECTS
Vic Black Has Created a Video Library to Assist With Teaching Pitching Mechanics
Quinn Priester is Looking Beyond the Prospect Rankings
Tahnaj Thomas Hopes to Maintain Clean Mechanics Into 2022 Season
Williams: The Pirates Player Development System is Providing Hope For the Future
Dominican Summer League Results: Pirates vs the NL Central
Three Sleeper Prospects to Follow in the Pirates System in 2022
Austin Roberts Among Pirates Strikeout Leaders Despite Bullpen Role
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.