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Pirates Prospects Daily: Which Path Will Jack Brannigan Travel Down?

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Coming up through high school and college, a lot of players hit and pitch, usually choosing one path or another when they reach the pro ranks. 

The Pittsburgh Pirates already have one two-way prospect trying to break that trend in Bubba Chandler. They picked up another in the 2022 draft that has the potential to play both sides of the game.

Jack Brannigan was the team’s third round pick this past draft out of Notre Dame. Primarily a third baseman (less than 25 innings on the mound), he was announced as a two-way player.

After signing, Brannigan played in 26 games for the Bradenton Marauders (after a quick stop in the FCL), slashing .211/.330/.337 with three home runs, 14 RBI and a wRC+ of 98. He had a really strong line drive rate (23.1%), which would have ranked among the system’s best over the course of a full season.

After just two games in the FCL, Brannigan was promoted to Bradenton and got off to a scorching start. He picked up hits in eight of his first nine Single-A games, collecting four extra-base hits and a wRC+ of 182.

He struggled after that, slashing .145/.285/.210 (55 wRC+) in his final 17 games of the season. Baseball America did grade him as a ‘plus-plus’ runner. He wasn’t the best base stealer, although he did steal six bags on nine attempts.

Brannigan is another interesting player to watch during the 2023 season. The Pirates drafted him as a two-way player, although he would rather focus on hitting as opposed to pitching. He put up a decent barrel rate (6%) and exit velocity numbers (85.2), and had a 76.5% contact rate.

Many believe he has a brighter future on the mound, however, with two potential plus pitches, including a fastball that can reach the upper 90s. Baseball America saw his ‘best-case’ as a gold glove caliber third baseman, which could be thanks to his ‘70’-grade arm he flashed briefly in Bradenton.

The Pirates were able to make it work with Chandler last year, although he was more willing of the two-way path than Brannigan apparently is. They drafted Brannigan as a two-way player, so we will probably see him do both to start. Finding a way to make it work with him in the field, and on the mound, will be harder to maintain than what they did with Chandler.

Brannigan is an intriguing prospect on either side, but the Pirates probably want to get more of a look of him on the mound before they make their final decision.

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Pirates Prospects Weekly

Ethan Hullihen is working on a new feature to create a Glossary of transaction details on the site. His first installment is a look at how Optional and Outright Assignments work.

Pirates Business: How Do Optional and Outright Assignments Work?

Wilbur Miller looked at the Pirates’ 2019 draft, which is led by Quinn Priester, but has a lot of other interesting prospects still around.

WTM: The Pirates’ Quirky 2019 Draft

Bubba Chandler was a highlight of the 2021 draft, and Anthony Murphy looked at the progress and potential he showed during his debut season.

Bubba Chandler Showed Progress and Potential In His Debut Season

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Anthony Murphy
Anthony Murphy
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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