For the first time this season, the Bradenton Marauders have lost a game in which Thomas Harrington has started.
The 36th overall pick in last year’s draft, Harrington has quickly shown why he was so highly regarded by the Pirates when they selected him.
After striking out nine across 5.1 innings, he also showed that it may be ready for a new challenge as well, even despite allowing two runs and getting tagged with a loss for the first time this season.
Harrington has made seven starts this season, getting the nod on Fridays, and has struck out 37 while walking just 11 across 33 innings pitched.
It’s been his advanced secondary offerings that has allowed him to have so much success so far.
With a near 40% whiff rate with both his slider (39.29%) and changeup (37.5%), the Campbell product has kept Single-A hitters guessing since the start of the season. He’s also shown he can throw the slider for strikes, adding another element, as Harrington currently owns a 42.65 Called Strike + Whiff rate (CSW%).
While the upper levels have been hit by injuries, there is somewhat of a jam in Bradenton and Greensboro. That’s what makes Harrington’s situation interesting. He’s obviously shown that he’s advanced enough to move on from Single-A, maybe that he didn’t even need the stop to begin with.
The Pirates have several of their top prospects (Anthony Solometo and Bubba Chandler, as well as some other intriguing arms (Braxton Ashcraft and Po-Yu Chen), making it hard to find room for Harrington.
Valentin Linarez looked like he had the build, and put up the numbers in Bradenton that could have potentially put him on a Luis Ortiz type ascension, but hasn’t taken that step.
He’d be a candidate, but the Pirates might not be willing to pull the plug on him as a starter just yet.
This seems like a good problem to have for the Pirates, not enough spots for the options that they have. At some point, regardless of who is blocking him, dominating at a level you are clear ready to move on from will only do so much for his development.
— Speaking of Chandler, control has still been a struggle for him this season. He walked five in three innings on Friday, and has a 18% walk rate through his 29.1 innings of work this year.
This is the first year the righty has completely focused on pitching, and there was always going to be growing pains for Chandler. He’s shown some flashes here and there, but to get to that next step, it may mean leaving behind a less-than-ideal stat sheet at the end of his time in Greensboro.
— Tsung-Che Cheng hit a grand slam, his sixth home run of the season, and Tres Gonzalez drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. The attention automatically turns to the pitching in the lower levels, and for good reason.
Cheng and Gonzalez remain bright spots on the hitting side of things this season, and will be among the top names to watch when they make the big jump to Double-A at some point over the next year.
Daily Video Rundown
EVERYBODY EATS pic.twitter.com/A4t8ASWmIb
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) May 20, 2023
Altoona was the only minor league game streamed, as the Indianapolis game was postponed, so there wasn’t much video out there. Luckily, the Pirates put up double-digit runs.
We're not quite done yet. pic.twitter.com/ln0EF6k43n
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) May 20, 2023
Pirates Prospects Daily
By John Dreker
Mitch Keller will be on the mound this late afternoon in game two of a three-game set against the Arizona Diamondbacks. We should probably expect a roster move today after Duane Underwood Jr was injured last night
**Pirates won big over the Diamondbacks last night
**Pirates had some bullpen activity before yesterday’s game. Anthony Murphy looked at that bullpen earlier in the day.
**Some top prospects on the mound last night, while Altoona couldn’t find any hits. A bright spot was Henry Davis still reaching base twice.
**Colin Selby heads to the IL. Potentially bad timing for him with Underwood Jr being injured. Pirates also released a lower level lefty
**A new mock draft, same old names at the top
Song 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.
It is refreshing to see a touted prospect l8ek Harrington NOT have control problems. He and Bubba need to talk, 😏😏
Difference with Bubba is that he is a raw kid out of HS on the mound that is focusing on pitching for the first time in his life this year. Harrington was a polished college arm. Like comparing potatoes and BMWs.
Extra bold call: move harrington up to AA if theres no room in greensboro. Probably not a realistic move, but cant help but think his growth is being slowed by dominating at bradenton
His college SS last year is already solid or better in the majors
I think that’s absolutely realistic. Pitchers have far more capacity to move quickly than hitters.
Harrington is not working through major mechanical overhaul nor does he need to develop a deep repertoire of secondaries. He’s neither raw nor physically immature.
AA should be the next jump in talent he’d realistic need to adjust against. I say do it.
The obvious call is to move Linarez to the BP in long relief. Already 23 and his ERA after 7 Starts is 6.97, 20.2 IP, 32 H, 16 ER, 13 BB, 15 K. Hard to see any light at the end of that tunnel, but maybe he could find himself in the BP. Absolutely no reason for him to be holding anyone back.
That said, Harrington has the stuff to possibly make it to AA this year, but a month or two back home in NC would probably be a real positive stroke.