BUBBA CHANDLER, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: September 14, 2002
Drafted: Round 3, 72nd Overall, 2021
How Acquired: Draft
High School: North Oconee HS (GA)
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Chandler was one of the best athletes in the 2021 draft; MLB Pipeline had him ranked 21st in the draft and Baseball America 20th. He has a commitment to Clemson both for baseball and as a quarterback in football. He was a two-way player in baseball, under consideration by some teams as a shortstop, but the Pirates announced him as a pitcher. He throws 89-93 but has reached 97. He also has a curve with above-average spin and a change that, typically for a prep pitcher, needs work. He may also need to work on his delivery, but his athleticism gives him a very high ceiling. He figured to be hard to sign, but the Pirates may have worked something out with him in advance. He signed for $3M, which is about mid-1st-round money, far over the slot amount of $870,700. The sides apparently have a handshake agreement that Chandler will hit as well as pitch.
Like all of the Pirates’ prep pitching draftees and some of the college pitchers, Chandler didn’t pitch the year he was drafted. He did, however, play three games at short and eight as DH. He showed some power and patience, but obviously had a lot of trouble making contact.
R: 0-0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 15.1 IP, 5.9 BB/9, 15.8 K/9
Chandler opened with the FCL Pirates, then moved up to Bradenton after a month. At both locations, he took a regular turn as a starter and served as DH much of the time when he wasn’t pitching. On the mound, his stuff was too much for FCL hitters to handle, as shown by an opponents’ average of .061. Chandler scuffled a little when he first moved up, but eventually started to dominate much of the time. His fastball sat in the upper-90s early in games, although it would fluctuate after a couple innings. The one problem he had was with walks. He wasn’t generally wild, but would have occasional stretches where he’d lose the plate, possibly due to overthrowing. He usually was able to work out of it, so there’s no reason to think it’s an insurmountable problem.
At the plate, Chandler showed significant power in limited chances in the FCL. In fact, the pitchers seemed to get wary as he walked six times in his last two games. He had more trouble at the higher level, as he struggled to make contact. Although he didn’t play in the field other than pitching, he managed to show off his exceptional athleticism playing defense on the mound.
Chandler is an extraordinary athlete with a high ceiling as a pitcher. He may have the potential to move forward as a hitter, but that may be tougher to develop. It’s worth trying, though, as he could end up with above-average power.
|2023: Minor league salary
|Signing Bonus: $3,000,000
MiLB Debut: 2021
MiLB FA Eligible: 2027
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: 2025
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|July 12, 2021: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 3rd round, 72nd overall pick; signed on July 21.|