Born: September 24, 1995
Height: 5’9″
Weight: 225
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Drafted: 40th round, 1215th overall pick, 2017 (Cubs)
How Acquired: Rule 5 Draft, minor league phase (from Cubs)
College: Lipscomb University
Agent: N/A


Passantino was the last player selected in the 2017 draft.  He probably caught some notice by striking out 95 and walking just nine that year at Lipscomb.  He doesn’t throw hard, reaching only the upper-80s, but has a good slider and also throws a curve.  In the minors, he’s walked very few hitters while usually having good K rates.  He’s alternated between starting and relieving.  The Pirates selected him in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft.

R:  2-0-0, 3.10 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 20.1 IP, 0.9 BB/9, 9.7 K/9

Passantino didn’t have an overwhelming debut as a college draftee in rookie ball.  Opponents batted .333 against him, but he walked very few and missed some bats.

A-:  5-0-0, 3.29 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 38.1 IP, 2.1 BB/9, 9.2 K/9
A:  4-1-0, 3.41 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 34.1 IP, 1.0 BB/9, 9.7 K/9

The Cubs sent Passantino to low A at the beginning of June, then moved him down to short season ball then back up to low A.  He made four starts and four relief appearances at each level.  The results were solid rather than dominant, helped by very low walk rates.  In low A, he had trouble with gopher balls, allowing one every six innings.

A:  2-1-0, 4.24 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 34.0 IP, 1.9 BB/9, 12.7 K/9
A+:  3-1-0, 2.00 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 36.0 IP, 1.5 BB/9, 8.8 K/9
AA:  1-0-0, 3.60 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 10.0 IP, 0.0 BB/9, 9.0 K/9
AAA:  0-0-0, 2.00 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 9.0 IP, 1.0 BB/9, 11.0 K/9

The Cubs sent Passantino back to low A for the first half of the season and he pitched in relief.  Starting in mid-June, though, he moved around through the other three full-season levels, starting in every appearance but one.  He again didn’t dominate — opponents for the year batted .251 against him. and he had some gopher ball problems in low A, again allowing one every six innings.  He rarely walked anybody, though, and had good K rates.


The Cubs didn’t add Passantino to their 40-man roster at any point in the pandemic season and the Pirates selected him in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft.

Passantino has had surprising success given his draft round, his height and his lack of velocity.  Thanks in part to the pandemic, he doesn’t have that much experience yet, with just 19 innings above class A.

2021: Minor League Salary
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2017
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2023
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
June 14, 2017: Drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 40th round, 1215th overall; signed on
December 10, 2020: Selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Chicago Cubs in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft.