By Jason Shetler
Over the last few years, the Pirates pitching depth in the system has shown a real improvement. That depth is highlighted by their #1 overall prospect Tyler Glasnow, as well as Jameson Taillon, Nick Kingham, Clay Holmes and Mitch Keller. Despite the Pirates improving their pitching depth, the knock has been the lack of quality left-handed pitching, but that has certainly changed the past couple of years.
In 2013, the Pirates drafted Cody Dickson as a fourth round selection. Dickson has been good again this season, posting a 3.95 ERA in 23 starts for the Bradenton Marauders. In last year’s draft, John Sever was taken by the Bucs in the 20th round. Sever is looking like a diamond in the rough so far, as he’s put up an even 3.00 ERA along with a 1.26 WHIP and a 9.0 K/9 in 26 games pitched, which includes nine starts. The Pirates really added on to their lefty depth this past offseason when they acquired Steven Brault and Stephen Tarpley from the Baltimore Orioles in the Travis Snider deal. Brault has pitched for both Bradenton and Altoona this year, and has a 2.83 ERA with a 1.19 WHIP in 24 starts combined. Prior to the Snider trade, Tarpley was already a Top 15 prospect in the Orioles system. The hard-throwing Tarpley has been solid for the West Virginia Power, as he’s posted a 2.34 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP and a K/9 of 9.0 in 15 starts. I mentioned in a recent post that Tarpley could be the Pirates top pitching prospect before he reaches the big leagues. Lastly, there’s Brandon Waddell, who the Pirates selected in the fifth round this year, and was one of the better college lefties coming out of the draft. With the addition of those five southpaws to the organization, the Pirates pitching depth is now looking more balanced than ever.