Pirates Prospects Daily: The Crazy Stat That Held Sean Sullivan Back

When looking at the potential Altoona Curve rotation for the upcoming season, the name that maybe stood out the most to watch was going to be Nick Garcia.

He put up a really strong season in Greensboro, no easy task, and threw more than 100 innings in his first full season as a starting pitcher.

Of course, Garcia was traded to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for outfielder Connor Joe, so that ended that thought.

Looking at the remaining players who could make the jump to Altoona, there may be no player that benefits more than getting out of First National Bank Field than Sean Sullivan.

Sullivan was the team’s eighth round pick back in 2021 out of Cal, and was seen as a good value pick for the Pirates at the time due to his four-pitch mix.

He played the entire 2022 season with the Grasshoppers, posting some intriguing numbers — an 3.88 xFIP, plus a 25.8 K% compared to a 8.3 BB% — but was hit hard at home and suffered to an 4.68 ERA overall.

The thing that popped out the most for Sullivan was his home run to fly ball rate, which was an insane 26.7%. He allowed 60 fly balls all season (29.9 FB%) but still allowed 16 home runs overall.

According to Fangraphs, 10-12% is the average HR/FB%, meaning Sullivan was allowing home runs at double the rate as usual. If you take the amount of fly balls he allowed, and pushed the home runs down to average, that would be around seven allowed — eight fewer than what he actually gave up.

Just to keep things simple, if those eight home runs were all just solo shots, and you subtract those earned runs from his ledger, that would drop his ERA down to 3.84 — nearly a full run less than his actual mark.

Sullivan has the diverse pitch mix, and with his slight bump in velocity late in the season, could be a backend starter at some point in the future.

Greensboro doesn’t do pitchers any favors on the stat sheet, but there is still an opportunity to come out on the better side of things if you use the experience properly.

If Sullivan comes out and keeps things on the ground like he did last year (41.3 GB%), he should see a noticeable difference in results, and potentially serve as a bridge prospect between two waves of pitching prospects the Pirates have.

Highlight of the Day

Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.

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MLB SP’s – Hill, Contreras, Keller, BRU, Oviedo, Velasquez
AAA SP’s – Burrows, Ortiz, Priester, Bolton, Cruz, Mlodzinski, Nicolas

That’s 13 SP’s – do we keep 6 SP’s at the MLB level? If not, that means 8 SP’s at AAA? Looks to me that there will definitely be a clog at AAA which will push back to AA meaning some kids who were at A+ last year may not be promoted to AA. And, we have a group of dominant kids moving into A+. Nice situation for the franchise, but it means some kids are going to be pushed to the BP this year.

I did not include Aaron Shortridge in the group of SP’s above, so add another in AA or AAA.


Oviedo to AAA, O.Cruz to the BP. Mlod & Nicolas back to AA or the BP.

Could also see Bolton to BP, but I am still holding out hope for him as a starter.


Lewin Diaz just got DFA’d this time by the Orioles. How many is that now? Four? Five?

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

DFA’d by the Orioles, again?


I think so, but TBH, I have lost track of who has him, lol.

Scam likely

Texas making a play for Reynolds, this might just happen.


How about this:



#3 (#56) OF Evan Carter (AA)
#4 (#59) RHP Owen White (AA)
#11 OF Aaron Zavala (AA)
#17 LHP Mitch Bratt (A)


I think this is pretty good and i would take it


leiter and/or rocker may yet be a pirate!


Take that back!


New headline: Xxxxxxx team interested in trading for Reynolds. Pick a day and fill in the team.😹😹😹

Scam likely

This has some legs, and texas needs a middle of the order bat.They being texas might go for it type of trade.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Followed by: “Team X’s Top 25 prospects are all untouchable for Reynolds. I mean, is he actually even that good?”


Good lookin pitcher

Cal not UCLA for his college

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

This article speaks to me


am i doing this right

Screenshot 2023-01-11 100218.jpg
Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

NMR when Sean Sullivan shoves in Altoona this year

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Wilbur Miller

My first thought from the headline was, How long til BNP posts?

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Well, I knew it was coming at some point lol Murphy had told me it was upcoming

Wilbur Miller

Argh, still can’t upvote from my phone.

Anyway, Sullivan should get a good chance at Altoona. Unless a bunch of guys get forced down from Indy, which looks overcrowded, the AA staff is really thin.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

At this rate, might be able to use some of the OF overfill on the mound in Altoona. Macias has a cannon lol

Scam likely

Not seeing wow stuff, maybe back end starter or long man out of pen.


yes, but still that HR rate is crazy!

Wilbur Miller

I’m reluctant to draw any conclusions about GBO pitchers. Gotta see them at Altoona.

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