Quinn Priester will not be around to make his final start with the Bradenton Pirates of the Gulf Coast League.
Instead, Priester will start Tuesday for the West Virginia Black Bears, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Class A Short Season affiliate in the New York-Penn League. The Cary-Grove graduate, who turns 19 on Sept. 15, learned of the news Wednesday evening.
“This was something we really didn’t expect,” Priester said. “I was told (initially) I wasn’t going to move at all. The call I got today was exciting and an awesome surprise toward the next step in the process.”
Priester was Pittsburgh’s first-round selection in the 2019 MLB First-Year Player Draft, taken 19th overall, and had been pitching with the GCL’s Bradenton Pirates since rookie league games started in late June.
Priester was promoted past another Class A rookie team, the Bristol Pirates, of the Appalachian League. He joins the Black Bears, who are tied with the Batavia Muckdogs (a Miami Marlins affiliate) for first place in the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division.
Andy Priester, Quinn’s father, said his son had expected to finish the season in Bradenton, where he had one more start scheduled.
“This is very much a surprise. We’re very excited about it,” Andy Priester said. “He’s been performing well. He was kind of planning and would have been happy to finish his rookie season down there.”
Quinn Priester has four former Bradenton teammates who were promoted to the Black Bears: Austin Roberts, Matthew Gorski, Matthew Frazier and Cameron Junker. They all left the rookie league team in late June.
“They gave me a call today,” Priester said. “It’s nice and reassuring. That fired me up even more.”
Priester, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound right-hander, has hit the mid-90 mph range on speed guns. He was the Northwest Herald Baseball Player of the Year and Male Athlete of the Year. He helped C-G reach the Class 4A McHenry Sectional championship game, where the Trojans lost to Hampshire, 5-4.
Two days later, Priester was taken in the first round of the draft. He signed with Pittsburgh and reported to Bradenton for rookie league baseball.
Priester was 1-1 with a 3.03 ERA in eight starts in the Gulf Coast League. He threw 322/3 innings, allowed 29 hits, walked 11 and struck out 37. Opposing hitters were batting .238 off of Priester.
With the Black Bears, he could pitch with a team in the New York-Penn’s playoffs. He will fly to Rochester, New York, and join the team in Auburn for their game Thursday night.
“The Black Bears are leading their division, so I’m pretty sure we’re going to the playoffs,” Priester said. “I’ve learned a lot. I’m trying to get better in all ways, as a young man and a baseball player. It’s been a lot of fun. I’m excited for the next step in the journey and to prove myself at the next level.”