Born: September 15, 2000
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 195
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Drafted: 1st Round, 18th Overall, 2019
How Acquired: Draft
High School: Cary-Grove (IL) HS
Agent: N/A


Priester was the first Illinois prep pitcher taken in the first round since 2010.  Despite being from a northern state, he’s highly regarded, ranking 19th among draft prospects at MLB Pipeline and 23rd at Baseball America.  He features a smooth delivery from a three-quarters angle that produces a four-seamer that can get to 97 mph.  His low-90s two-seamer, though, may be a better pitch as it has a lot of movement.  His curve was one of the better ones in the draft class.  Like a lot of prep pitchers, he hasn’t needed a change much, so that will be a project for him.  Priester is an excellent athlete who was also a football star.  He hasn’t had much coaching to this point; between that and the athleticism, he may have even more upside than is apparent from his stuff.  He had a commitment to Texas Christian, but he signed a week after the draft and will head to the Gulf Coast League.  His bonus was $81,300 below the slot amount.

R:  1-1-0, 3.03 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 32.2 IP, 2.8 BB/9, 10.2 K/9
A-:  0-0-0, 4.50 ERA, 1.75 WHIP, 4.0 IP, 9.0 BB/9, 4.0 K/9

Priester had a good debut in the GCL, showing an ability to get swings and misses.  He also made a start at the end of the season for West Virginia.  One issue he did have was left-handed hitters; they had a .909 OPS against him, while right-handed hitters managed just .462.  That may show a need to work on a change.


The Pirates brought Priester to their alternate training site near the end of the season, which is a sign of how highly they regard him.  He was also in fall instructionals and was reaching the upper-90s with his fastball.

Priester is more advanced than many prep pitchers.  It’ll be interesting to see how far they push him in 2021, if there’s a minor league season.  With Bristol and West Virginia expected to be eliminated, he’ll be going to full season ball somewhere.

2021: Minor league contract
Signing Bonus: $3,400,000
MiLB Debut: 2019
MLB Debut:
MiLB FA Eligible: 2025
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: 2023
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
June 3, 2019: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1st round, 18th overall pick; signed on June 10.