Pirates Introduce Top Pick Quinn Priester

18-year-old righty will report to Bradenton soon

Josh Rowntree
June 11, 2019 - 5:13 pm
Pirates first round draft pick Quinn Priester at introductory press conference in June 2019

Josh Rowntree - 93.7 The Fan

‘First Round Pick. Work on the Changeup.’

Those words have been on the bedroom mirror of Pirates new first-round pick Quinn Priester for some time now. 

One of them can be erased. 

Priester, a tall, right handed pitcher from Cary-Grove High School in Illinois, was taken 18th overall by Pittsburgh in last week’s MLB Draft. 

Less than a week later, Priester agreed to terms with the Pirates, bypassing a commitment to collegiate power TCU. 

“As you get to know this young man, we believe you’re going to fall in love with him as a player and person the way our scouts did,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said.

“Quinn has so many of the traits that elite Major League starting pitchers have. He has them or has the potential to development them. He’s intelligent and he’s driven.”

Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline reports that Priester’s signing is worth $3.4 million. 

“I’m just really excited to get started with this organization and I’d really like to be in Pittsburgh as soon as I can,” Priester said. “It’s pretty surreal. It’s one thing to hear it and another to put ink to paper. I was speechless. I hugged my sister, hugged my parents. It’s just crazy. I’m just super excited to start playing baseball again.”

Priester was a two-sport star at Cary-Grove. An accomplished quarterback, he switched to wide receiver his senior season and was drawing interest from school as an athlete that could, potentially, play both sports.

“I love baseball,” he said. “Baseball is my passion. I love football, but baseball is what I always itch for. That one-on-one mentality of pitching, you versus the batter, is kind of what drives me. But it’s also a team sport, which is extremely cool.”

Huntington, while introducing Priester, made a point to reference that 18-year-old Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year still has room to improve, particularly on his changeup. And Priester is aware of the necessity of improvement needed on his offspeed pitches. He has worked diligently to get to this point since last summer.

“I always had the rough idea that I’d be a day one guy,” he said of his draft potential. “But I knew that, if I worked hard enough and worked at it and really put everything in it, that I had a chance to be a first-round guy. I had it on my mind, I wrote it on my mirror so that I’d see it every day.”

Priester made it seem as if it was a forgone conclusion that he’d be going to professional baseball instead of TCU. 

“We knew as a family,” he said. “We kind of had rehearsed it and discussed it long ago, that if this were to happen and if I got picked here, and get this (desired money), that we would know that, based on the statistics and me being comfortable with forgoing college and starting my career, we would make this decision.

“I think it was more of just being at a place with me being comfortable with myself and being excited and wanting to go the pro ball route. I was comfortable with that and my parents supported me the whole way. We felt like this is the right decision overall.”

Despite being in Pittsburgh for a short time before heading off to Bradenton to pitch in the Gulf Coast League, Priester said he will take some time to take in a city he hopes to live in one day.

“Primant Bros.,” he quipped. “I heard that’s the spot I can’t miss before I head out. Other than that, I’m just going to enjoy the city and make sure we see what we can, because it’s such a beautiful city.

“I’ve seen a bunch of pictures (of PNC Park). I put one as my background on my phone. But seeing it in person doesn’t even compare to any of the pictures I’ve seen. I’ve played at PetCo Park (San Diego) and Wrigley Field (Chicago) and Tropicana Field (Tampa) but this just blows them out of the water.”

He now joins the likes of Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole as first-round righties taken by Pittsburgh and, though he will not be back in Pittsburgh to pitch for some time, the ability and opportunity is there.

“It’s a lot of pressure, a lot to live up to and I’m excited for that challenge,” Priester said.

Hear all of Quinn Priester’s introductory press conference.