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Pirates prospect update: Pitcher Bubba Chandler

In Pittsburgh’s corral of pitching prospects, Bubba Chandler has quickly made a name for himself.

Fresh faced out of Georgia with the mullet to match, pitcher Bubba Chandler is developing into a bright star for the Pirates.

On this edition of the Pirates Prospect Updates, we take a look at yet another young pitcher who is looking to join the ranks in Pittsburgh, as Bubba Chandler continues to work his way towards the Majors.

There is a lot to be excited about in the Pirates’ Minor League system, and there is a plethora of young pitchers at hand, with Chandler being the team’s fifth-ranked prospect. Coming out of North Oconee High School in Bogart Georgia, Chandler was touted as being one of the best two-way athletes in his class, known for his batting prowess and rocket arm from the mound. The Georgia product also saw serious attention from Clemson, where he was going to have the opportunity to play both ways in baseball, as well as play quarterback for the football team. The Pirates were able to sway him away from college when they selected him in the third round of the 2021 draft and a $3 million payday.

Coming out of the draft, it looked like the Pirates would allow Chandler to continue his status as a two-way prospect, but his time in the FCL and with Bradenton only saw him DH, and the team is moving forward with him pitching full-time, which has been paying off so far. 2023 saw Chandler spend the majority of the year with Greensboro, where he’d post a 9-4 record with a 4.75 ERA and 120 strikeouts. The end of the season saw a promotion to Altoona where he was completely dominant in his lone appearance, winning the contest with just one hit allowed for no runs and eight strikeouts.

Stylistically, Chandler relies on his fastball which sat around the mid 90s, reaching as high as 99 at times. With that being said, he is continuing to develop some identity in his off-speed pitches, as his slider and changeup made huge strides since 2022, with more reps benefiting that development.

The fast development and the raw athleticism has experts projecting Chandler making his big-league debut in 2025, with a very high ceiling given his skillset. Pittsburgh has a lot of young pitchers to be excited about, and Bubba is certainly in that group that could be making an impact soon.