By Jason Shetler
The Pirates have announced that Clay Holmes has been added to the 40-man roster, and he is now protected from the Rule 5 Draft in December.
In the 2011 MLB Draft, the Pirates selected Holmes as a ninth round choice. Holmes made his pro debut in 2012 for the State College Spikes, the Pirates former short season affiliate, where he posted a 2.28 ERA. He pitched his first full season in 2013 with the West Virginia Power, putting up an ERA of 4.08.
Holmes had a big setback in 2014, as he dealt with elbow discomfort in Spring Training, and had to undergo Tommy John surgery. He of course missed the entire 2014 season. Holmes returned in 2015, making a total of nine starts with the Gulf Coast League Pirates and Bradenton Marauders, posting a 2.48 ERA.
Entering 2016, Holmes pitched in the Altoona Curve rotation. The 23-year-old righty made 26 starts for the Curve this year. Holmes had a combined 5.13 ERA in April and May, but performed better from June onward, as he posted an ERA of 3.64. He showed good velocity on the fastball this year, sitting low-to-mid 90’s and topping out at 96 mph. The Pirates already had an open spot on the 40-man roster, so they were able to add Holmes without having to make a corresponding move.