With the 83rd pick in the MLB Draft, the Pirates selected Jack Brannigan, a right-handed two-way player who was more of a third baseman at the University of Notre Dame. Brannigan was ranked 164th according to MLB Pipeline, and one of the biggest question marks is his experience on the mound at Notre Dame.
Brannigan has only pitched in 23.1 innings in his three years at Notre Dame, but his fastball can sit anywhere between 95-97mph and has been known to touch 100 on occasion. Brannigan likes to hit and has played the majority of the time at third base with the Fighting Irish, and according to MLB Pipeline, he has decent contact with average to limited power.
During the Cape Cod League in 2021, Brannigan slashed .282.387/.372 with an OPS of .759. They are not the ideal power numbers you’d like to see with a third baseman. National sites are mentioning that Brannigan could become a starter with a three-pitch mix, but wouldn’t be surprised if he stuck in the bullpen.
According to Pipeline, Brannigan has a fastball (70 grade), slider (60 grade), and changeup (50 grade). Brannigan’s control is a big question mark with a 45 grade, and has walked 14 in his 23.1 innings pitched in college.
“Primarily a reliever for the Fighting Irish, Brannigan has the three-pitch mix, resilience and athleticism to make it as a starter,” said Pipeline. “He’d need to improve his control and his consistency, which should happen if he focuses on pitching.”
The Pirates have now gone to three straight college pitching prospects if you count Brannigan (I do). Bullpens always need bolstering and looking at the pitching prospects; it’s safe to say that if worse comes to worst, they end up in the bullpen, which is not necessarily a bad thing.