Under the Radar: Sleepers Just Outside of the Pirates Top 30

Today we released our Top 30 Prospect list at Pirates Prospects, and with this list, some talented guys were left off that deserve some recognition. Today, we look at some under-the-radar prospects who missed our top 30.

Po-Yu Chen, RHP

Unofficially listed as our 31st ranked prospect, Chen burst onto the scene in 21′. Chen showed remarkable control while pitching in the Complex League; in fact, in 21.0 innings, Chen walked not a single soul. On top of the control, Chen allowed just two earned runs and an average of ten strikeouts per nine. 

When Chen got the call up to Bradenton, you were reminded that he was a 19-year-old prospect rather quickly. Chen walked 12 batters and gave up ten earned runs, all in 16.0 innings of work.

With his age and still some room to grow, Chen could see a velo jump soon and a better understanding of how to control his arsenal of pitches.

Adrian Florencio, RHP

 Florencio dominated Low-A during the 21′ season and earned himself Pitcher of the Year honors in the system. During the year, Florencio held opponents to a .198/.277/.303 slash line, with an OPS of .581. In 95.0 innings pitched, Florencio carried a 2.46 ERA, struck out 117, and kept the gopher balls to a minimum at five. 

The one flaw that could be seen during Florencio’s year in Bradenton was the walks. Depending on how you look at BB/9, you could say Florencio had an average to below-average year with 2.9 BB/9 or 7.6% of the time. Florencio did improve, however, from 2019, when he had a terrible 4.6 BB/9, so progress is progress. 

Florencio is expected to be in Greensboro in 2022, and his control and ability to keep the long balls to a minimum to the test. For this reason, he is outside of the top 30 but finds himself on our under-the-radar watch list. 

Blake Sabol, C/OF

Last but certainly not least is catching prospect Blake Sabol. When most Pirates prospect fans think of catching prospects, most don’t think of Blake Sabol. Greensboro’s manager Kieran Mattison had this to say about Sabol.

“People are going to give Sabol the respect he deserves,” said Mattison. “We were in Atlanta not too long ago, and he hit a ball off the batter’s eye. This guy is for real.”

In 229 plate appearances in Greensboro, Sabol slashed .296/.380/.553. His advanced stats showed a wOBA of .398 and a wRC+ of 145; while Sabols’ power is a factor, he indeed has some flaws that have kept him out of top 30 discussions. 

Sabols’ K% in Greensboro was extremely high at 31.4, but he did carry an above-average BB% of 11.8. Despite all of this, Sabol carried a great OPS of .933, and it is for this reason that Sabol is on our under-the-radar watch list.


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Under the Radar: Sleepers Just Outside of the Pirates Top 30

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