One player that has gotten off to a good start this season has been left-handed pitcher Anthony Solometo.
The Pirates don’t have a wide array of left-handed pitching prospects, and he is seeing his success in High-A at just 20-years-old.
Pitching in Greensboro this year wasn’t going to be easy, it rarely is for any pitching prospect, but Solometo did show signs that he may be able to handle the confines of First National Bank Field back in Bradenton.
Solometo was one of a handful of pitchers in the system last year to have a Swinging Strike rate of at least 13%, as well as a ground ball rate of over 50%.
Basically, he missed bats and kept the ball on the ground. Hard to get hit hard in either of those two scenarios.
The ground balls dipped a tad under the 50% mark in the early parts of the season, but that has been offset by a jump in the strikeouts. Solometo has among the best SwStr% in the system, and has a strikeout rate of over 30%.
Control has been a bit of an issue to start, but Solometo did something over his last two starts he had yet to do in his professional career — complete six innings in back-to-back starts.
Facing the Bowling Green Hot Rods — a team that has two Top 100 prospects on MLB Pipeline — Solometo was fantastic, striking out six batters across six shutout innings all the while allowing just three hits and one walk.
I took a look back specifically at the matchup against the two Top 100 prospects, Carson Williams and Junior Caminero, and Solometo got them out all five times they faced each other on the day, including two strikeouts.
Williams is a former first round pick, taken in the same draft as Solometo — 28th overall. He’s currently ranked 57th on Pipeline, and 45th on Baseball America.
He faced Solometo three times that day, striking out twice and grounding into a double play to end the sixth innings.
Control may be an issue at times for Solometo this season, and there are good reasons for it as well, but it wasn’t a problem for him against Bowling Green.
As we can see in the video, he is able to control the outer half of the plate perfectly, painting the corners in a way that made it difficult for Williams to offer at anything, and when he did he either missed, fouled it off or buried it into the dirt to start a double play.
Solometo got the hitter looking on the corner for both strikeouts, utilizing all three of his pitching in the process.
Another example of the Rays fleecing another team for a teenager playing in the Dominican League, Cominero is 19-years-old and absolutely destroying the ball in High-A this year.
He faces Solometo twice on the day, grounding out both times.
Like Williams, Solometo worked the outer half of the plate against Caminero, forcing him into a couple of softly hit ground balls (side note, that was a strong collect, transfer, and throw by Maikol Escotto on the first one).
Both hitters are known for their power, grading out plus in both cases on Pipeline, and Solometo did what he needed to eliminate each prospect’s greatest hitting tool.
After a fantastic debut season last year, Solometo is off to a strong start in year two. He was a guy that I really felt could force himself into the Top 100 picture, especially if his velocity was reading higher than it was last year (all reports pointing to that being the case).
If he continues to dial back the walks, he could really throw himself into the mix as one of the better pitching prospects in the system, especially if one or two are able to graduate.
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.
I have realized i must prefer waking up after a bucs win than a loss lol
Unbelievable Underdog got save. will wonders never end.
They just said on TV Vince is back this series. And….. Jack Jack just jacked #2 !
Crap!! Everyone is on the other board! Just found em……
What other board?
The Triolo board.
Got himself out of some trouble the last couple of innings. Hope the Pen helps him out better tonight.
I thought he was done, Shelton is so freaking weird, not his best game and he send him out on the Seventh.
Well, Shelton read the comments here and followed the advice here and left the ace in like everyone here said he should do. Reynolds just got one back.
Dang! Cutch almost with #2
But it got Bae to 3rd and B Rey got a hit just over the SS glove to knock him in to get a run back.😁
Whoo hooo! Thank you Mr Trammel! Pirates up 4-2 now. Hedges leads off with a …….single! Cutch follows with a single and then Trammel lays out for a drive from Reynolds and came up a foot or so short and 2 runs scored. 😁As I was typing Jack Jack jacked one to center and now 6-2 now 😁😁
Ke-Bomb to left and 7-0 !
What are you doing up!!!! I thought AARP members went to bed before 9pm.
Plus it’s not a school night!
And something cool: Matt Fraizer doubled with first and third to tie the Altoona game. Close play at the plate on Peguero. While teammates were congratulating Peguero and the catcher was handing the ball back to the pitcher, nobody was paying attention and Fraizer just went to third. Good to see prospects alert out there.
Halfway through today’s game, Dylan Shockley is now 11-for-26 on the year in throwing out base stealers. Without checking, I’m guessing that’s the best in the org. by a massive margin.
It sucks he makes Hedges look like a competent hitter. A good organization guy though.
Omar Alfonzo is 8-for-20, 40%. Shockley still better, but Alfonzo not far behind.
Didn’t realize he’d played much.
Go get ‘em, Tony Solo!
Great article Anthony, thanks,
He’s the best pitching prospect in the system bar none. Are we going to be getting the daily prospect watch back again soon?
I really like the progress TS is making this year with both his top end velocity and command. But I don’t think he’s anywhere close to QP right now.
Priester is a far more advanced Pitcher in terms of stuff, and he’s had outstanding results of late, like Solomento, but against much better competition.
If this is a discussion on which minor league Pitcher will end up having the best career with the Pirates, I would put Solomento no higher than 3rd, behind QP and Bubba.
I’m looking at it as highest ceiling v highest floor to each individual pitcher. QP has the highest floor but his ceiling is a strong 3 unless he gains more swing and miss stuff. Bubba probably has the highest ceiling but really doesn’t have a floor. Solometo is raising his floor and his ceiling with his performance so far this year as is Jones.
Ceiling doesn’t matter as much though if a guy has less and less of a chance of reaching it (like Bubba).
We can hope it comes together. More than likely not, but he’s already made it further than most.
I’d agree with most of what you’re saying. Not sure I agree Solometo has swing and miss stuff at MLB level that’s better than QP.
He’s young and improving, uptick in velocity and control. Hope we can get a couple that can join Keller in the front of a championship rotation.
He is #1 on my list, too.
I have him at #1b, Jones passed him to #1a with his improved control.
Nice problem to have. #1 LHP and #1 RHP?
Curious how you can have Jones as 1A? To me he profiles as the heir apparent for Bednar, which would be a good outcome. Not sure his frame is that of a starter. But if he does work out that’s great. Not many lefties that can bring what Solo does to the table. I can’t put Priester above Solo until I see stuff that can get ML swings and misses. I have concerns he’s going to be “Bad Keller”
He’s got a swing and miss fastball, along with above average secondary pitches. His biggest concern has always been his control and it’s much improved this year. He isn’t short 6’1″ and has a good 200 pound frame. Very possible he becomes a reliever, but as long as he keeps improving as a starter he has the highest ceiling in my opinion.
We’ll see if Jones has turned a corner. The last two seasons he always seemed like a stuff guy who wouldn’t match the results. His control has gotten better so far though.
Youth is still on their side, Jones would be draft eligible this year and he’s preforming well in Altoona. Bubba would be in next year’s draft (might have been eligible this year) and taking his lumps in high A, but he’s in high A and getting good reports without the results.
How is he against LH batters?
So far this year, RH hitters have a .552 OPS against him and LH hitters .608. So reverse split (SSS of course), but nobody is doing much. Overall opp. SLG is .270, RH just .248, so quality contact is minimal.
Only 46 PAs vs LH hitters. Opp. managers may not be too eager to have their LHHs face him.
Any GM taking over at ground zero should understand LHSP & C will be the toughest finds. Now I understand that can take to 4-6+ yrs
This is off subject, does pretain to a LH, but on the other side of ball
Do you think Aaron Shackleford has done enough to earn and then handle a BIG league platoon at 1B?. He’s covered up all the holes this regime preaches
I watch all the games, they move him around but he plays a mean 1B and with Carlos struggling vs RH’s, WHY NOT?
Please answer anyting but, “no shot that’s all Choi when he’s ready”
I think he’s earned a shot. He’s 26, so there’s that. But he’s not the same hitter. He strikes out a ton, but his walk rate is up dramatically, which is why his OBP is up 90 points from . . . well, any other year. He also improved sharply after a slow start when he began getting more PT. He’s a TTO guy, but he wouldn’t be the first who provided some value, or the first guy who adjusted his game in his mid-20s.
Santana doesn’t get discussed nearly enough. He’s killing this team, playing 1B and batting cleanup every day with below-league average hitting (92 wRC+), which makes him way below average for 1B/cleanup. He just looks OK because of the historic disaster that BC created at 1B last year. Actual major league teams don’t put up with everyday first basemen who slug .355. And it’s not like it’s a mystery what’s wrong. He’s 37. He has no power any more. If you check the power-related measures at Statcast, he’s below to way below average on every one of them. And he’s been steadily declining all year. He’s a bench bat who’s way over-exposed.
But this is the BC Pirates. Everything is scheduled years in advance, and veteran privilege trumps everything else.
Anybody writing about how meaningless the shift ban has turned out to be?
I was told this would unlock Santana’s xyzOBA.
Well, his BABIP is up 70 points, but the ban can’t make him not be 37.
As far as I can tell, BABIP MLB-wide is up only a little. SLG, though, is up 13 points. The ban didn’t do that. No matter what roolz you change, good players adjust. You’re just shifting stuff from one stat line to another.
Like this: the ban was supposed to help Cutch, too. And his BABIP is up 22 points. Not exactly startling. But his walk rate is up something like 40% and he’s chasing less, which he never did a ton anyway. He’s also hitting more balls hard. So is it the ban, or is it him making better contact, and/or making less contact with poor quality pitches?