On the heels of the promotions of top pitching prospects Bryce Miller and Gavin Stone to the Majors, Diamondbacks right-hander Brandon Pfaadt is set to follow those two up to the bigs. The highly-touted 24-year-old will reportedly make his MLB debut this week for the D-Backs, a team that needs to receive consistency from its starters. Here’s a closer look at what the D-backs have in Pfaadt.
A Look at Pfaadt
Diamondbacks pitching prospect Brandon Pfaadt became a fifth-round pick in the 2020 MLB Draft after an intriguing college career. Pfaadt didn’t post spectacular numbers at Bellarmine University, a Division II school in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. While the 24-year-old did perform quite well in the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign, Pfaadt missed plenty of bats but struggled with command over his first two college seasons in 2018 and 2019.
Pfaadt would follow up his sophomore season at Bellarmine with a strong summer in 2019, as he struck out 34 over 32.1 IP with Wareham in the Cape Cod League. That, coupled with impressive stuff, helped propel Pfaadt into quite the prospect.
After a solid opening act in the Minors, the 24-year-old broke out in 2022 when he struck out an eye-popping 218 batters across two levels (AA and AAA) and over 167 innings. Pfaadt added 30 more strikeouts to his name in 2023, over 25.1 IP in Reno (AAA) to start the year.
Pfaadt, who made the top 100 MLB prospect lists for both Baseball America and MLB.com in 2023, will boast a fastball that usually sits in the low-to-mid 90s and pair it with a changeup, slider, and curveball. Per MLB.com, Pfaadt’s slider recorded more whiffs than the other two secondary offerings, while the change has the potential to be a solid pitch for the right-hander.
The promotion of Pfaadt marks the second notable Arizona prospect to come up to the Majors in the past week. The previous weekend, the Diamondbacks promoted outfielder Dominic Fletcher from Reno to make his MLB debut.
A Look at the Diamondbacks Rotation
Pfaadt didn’t make the D-Backs out of Spring Training, but there wasn’t exactly a clear opening for the 24-year-old a couple of months ago. Arizona had a number of pitchers who were on the 40-man roster that had a better chance of cracking the Opening Day roster than Pfaadt, who will need to be added to the 40-man in order to be called up this week. However, a lot has changed since the spring.
Former D-Backs LHP Madison Bumgarner was cut after a very difficult opening month, and right-hander Zach Davies hit the IL early on in the 2023 season. Arizona’s also seen youngsters Tommy Henry, Ryne Nelson, and Drey Jameson make starts in 2023, but all three yielded uneven results. Now, Pfaadt will get his chance.
The right-hander’s command has come a long way, to the point where it’s become a key strength. That, coupled with above-average stuff, gives Pfaadt — one of our top fantasy pitching prospects in 2023 — a chance to be a special starter. But, it remains to be seen whether Pfaadt can make an immediate impact against against Major League hitters. He’s set to make his MLB debut on May 3, against a tough Rangers lineup that includes sluggers Adolis Garcia, Marcus Semien, and Nathaniel Lowe.