Pipeline Inbox: DeLauter's swing, cranberry sauce and more

November 24th, 2023

Hopefully, all are digesting huge feasts, having survived the pitfalls of large family gatherings. I’m trying to fight through the tryptophan to get to some of your questions. We’re in a little bit of a down time prospect-season wise, following the conclusion of the Arizona Fall League, before the Rule 5 Draft. But we still have plenty to talk about.

Chase DeLauter has done nothing but hit since coming back from his injury, which has us Guards fans excited. Some don’t seem to like his swing. Curious about your thoughts on his kinda weird swing. -- @hans2247

We talked about DeLauter and his unorthodox swing mechanics on this week’s MLB Pipeline Podcast, so be sure to check that out. But my general thinking falls under the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” umbrella. Look around the big leagues and you’ll see all sorts of swing paths and unusual setups. DeLauter has always hit wherever he’s been, when healthy, and he’s always on time. So let him keep doing it until it doesn’t work anymore.

In honor of Thanksgiving, please give us a prospect from each team that their team is thankful for having. -- @StevieDAles97

Stevie D, you’re one of our favorites, but now you’re proposing full on “one for each team” features. That’s too tall of a task for an Inbox, but in this season of gratitude, we can all be grateful for colleague Sam Dykstra because he just wrote a piece on 30 reasons to be thankful -- 1 for each team. Gotta love the synergy here!

The Pirates have three pitching prospects who I think could end up being (good) relievers in Jared Jones, Bubba Chandler and Mike Burrows. Could you speculate on who you think is the most likely to stay a starter and who isn’t. -- @ballsandgutters

Could they be good relivers? Sure. Would I move any of them to that role yet? No, I would not. Burrows might be the first obvious option since he is coming off Tommy John surgery and it might make sense to ease him back in via a bullpen role in 2024. That way, he could conceivably contribute in Pittsburgh sooner. But his combination of stuff and strike-throwing still points to an ability to start. He’s yet to throw over 100 innings in a year, so the ability to hold up for a full workload of big league starts isn’t something he’s shown he can do yet.

Jones continues to develop as a legitimate starting pitching prospect; he wouldn’t be No. 69 on the Top 100 if we didn’t think he wasn’t going to start long-term. He has a full mix of pitches and his evolution from thrower to pitcher has been impressive. He’s still missing a ton of bats and is throwing more than enough strikes and should impact the big league rotation in 2024.

Chandler might have a higher ceiling than either of them, given how little time he’s been committed to pitching only, after playing football in high school and playing both ways at the outset of his pro career. He topped 100 innings last year and touched Double-A and his command is improving. He’s super athletic with a four-pitch mix and an up arrow next to his name. A full season at the upper levels will give a better indication of what he might become.

Would the Orioles consider moving Ryan Mountcastle when Coby Mayo is ready? -- @mcleod_brooks

This time of year is so family-focused, so I had to answer a question about my nephew here. After a year that saw him split the season between Double-A and Triple-A and finish with a .973 OPS, the Orioles are going to have to figure this out sooner rather than later. While Mountcastle has been a solid power hitter and run producer type, I think Mayo’s ceiling is much higher than Mountcastle or Ryan O’Hearn, so whenever he is deemed ready, they’re going to have to make room. I suppose they could keep Mountcastle and not O’Hearn, with Mayo and Mountcastle sharing the ABs between first base and DH.

Cranberry sauce -- canned, homemade or none? -- Sam D., Brooklyn, N.Y.

Needed one holiday-themed questioned, no? I tend to be the cranberry guy in my household, and Team Mayo played host this year. We are 100 percent in the homemade camp and we like to get creative. This year’s version included ginger, mustard and figs, to give you an idea of what we like to do. I much prefer that to canned, but that at least would be better than none at all. I can’t imagine Thanksgiving without cranberries.