They say you can never have enough pitching.
After designating Diego Castillo for assignment, the Pittsburgh Pirates worked out a trade on December 23rd with the Arizona Diamondbacks, getting right-handed pitcher Scott Randall in return.
The 24-year-old was Arizona’s seventh round pick in 2021 out of Sacramento State, 198th overall. He was ranked as the 255th best prospect by Baseball America, where they raved about his control.
Randall got his feet wet at the professional level in 2021 after being drafted. He put together a strong season this past year at High-A with the Hillsboro Hops.
In 108.1 innings, Randall posted a 3.82 ERA, with a modest strikeout rate of 23.4%. He also flashed that control, walking just 5.6%.
Randall’s best pitch is his changeup, which has been graded anywhere from above-average to a plus offering. Like left-handed pitching prospect Omar Cruz, Randall’s changeup allows the fastball to be a lot more deceptive and generate more swings and misses than you would think from a pitch that lacks velocity.
In fact, in a lot of the games I have watched, it has been the fastball which has generated more misses than any of his other pitches — a testament to his control and deception from the changeup.
Even going back to his time in Single-A last year, there wasn’t any game streamed that gave any velocity readings. Most reports have him in the low-90s with his fastball.
Randall throws both a slider and curveball, neither of which really stand out from each other. When he starts to elevate the fastball and controls it well, it does help the breaking pitches perform a little better.
The two pitches can blend together at times, to the point where it may make sense down the road to focus on one pitch, and go with that.
He throws his breaking stuff against lefties mostly inside as a backfoot pitch. He’ll mainly focus on the fastball/breaking ball against righties, working away looking to get the hitters to miss.
At first glance, Randall’s stuff doesn’t really play to someone to break the century mark in strikeouts, but he has a way to make things work.
The deception he’s able to generate led to a 11.7% swinging strike rate across his 108.1 innings last year. When looking at comparable players in the Pirates system, both Osvaldo Bido and Carmen Mlodzinski had the same mark. Valentin Linarez and Travis MacGregor are also within range of Randall.
Randall’s upside seems to be a bit limited, but with the advanced changeup and breaking ball in the mix he still could end up as a backend starter.
It will be interesting to see if the swing and misses on the fastball continue as he moves up the system and faces better competition. That will really determine just how far up the ladder he can make it.
Still, based on the fact he was traded for a player that could have been lost for nothing, this is a good grab for the Pirates — even if he ends up as a rotation filler in the minors at some point.
THIS WEEK ON PIRATES PROSPECTS
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.