MLB Pipeline unveiled their annual preseason top 100 prospects list, and five of them belong to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The five prospects who made the top 100 are — RHP Paul Skenes (No. 3), 2B Termarr Johnson (No. 44), RHP Jared Jones (No. 62), LHP Anthony Solometo (No. 82) and RHP Bubba Chandler (No. 93).
For Chandler, it’s his first-ever appearance in the top 100. All the other players had previously been ranked.
In addition to Skenes being ranked third, Pipeline has him as the top pitching prospect in the league.
The Pirates drafted Skenes with the top pick in the 2023 draft as a heralded talent, with some naming him the top pitching prospect since Stephen Strasburg in 2009.
Skenes began his professional career in rookie ball, but the Pirates were aggressive with him and promoted him all the way to Double-A Altoona to begin the year. The expectation is that the 21-year-old will make his big league debut at some point in 2024.
Skenes is everything you want on the mound. He has an elite arsenal led by a fastball that touches triple digits and a wipeout slider. He also possesses excellent command and can locate all of his pitches.
The Pirates selected Johnson with the fourth-overall pick in the 2022 draft out of Mays High School in Georgia. At the time he was selected, Johnson drew comparisons to Hall of Famers Wade Boggs and Vladimir Guerrero Sr. in certain elements of his offensive profile.
In 128 minor league games since he was drafted, Johnson has slashed .240/.413/.427 with 19 home runs, 65 RBIs and 16 stolen bases.
Jones was a second-round selection of Ben Cherington’s first draft class with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2020. The right-hander has a strong pitch mix, led by an upper-90s fastball, and climbed the ranks to Triple-A Indianapolis last season.
He’s posted a 4.31 ERA in his minor league career and has amassed 391 strikeouts in 315 innings pitched across 70 appearances/66 starts.
Solometo was selected by the Pirates in the second round of the 2021 draft. He has since emerged as the top left-handed pitcher in the organization.
The 21-year-old worked his way to Double-A Altoona last season after cruising through the lower levels of the minor leagues to begin his career. Since making his professional debut in 2022, Solometo is 9-8 with a 3.08 ERA in 37 starts/32 appearances.
Chandler was another member of the Pirates’ 2021 draft class. He was originally drafted as a two-way player in the third round that year.
After starting his career as a two-way player, Chandler abandoned the position player side of things and focused only on pitching this past year. He got off to a shaky start to begin the 2023 season, but finished the year strong. In 39 appearances/36 starts in the minor leagues, Chandler owns a 4.02 ERA and has struck out 188 batters in 152.1 innings pitched.
In addition to Chandler, Jones and Solometo each saw their ranking improve from last year’s list. Johnson, however, dipped 22 spots from 22nd to 44th. Skenes’ ranking did not change.