By Jason Shetler
As we have now entered the month of June (where has this year gone?), there are two notable happenings. The first of course is the MLB Draft, beginning June 12th. The second is the start of short season ball, which kicks off the week after. The Pirates continue to add high upside arms to the farm system, and here are three to keep an eye on when the short seasons begin.
Travis MacGregor: The Pirates selected Travis MacGregor in the second round of last year’s MLB Draft out of East Lake High School in Tarpon Springs, Florida. He signed with the Bucs for $900,000, below the slot amount. MacGregor pitched 31.2 innings for the Gulf Coast League Pirates, where he posted a 3.13 ERA. He showed good control, with a 2.8 BB/9, while displaying an impressive groundball rate of 56%. The 6’3 right-hander has a low-90’s fastball that tops out at 94 mph, along with a potentially good curveball and changeup.
Braeden Ogle: Following the selection of Travis MacGregor, the Pirates chose Braeden Ogle two rounds later out of Jensen Beach High School in Jensen Beach, Florida. The 6’2 lefty agreed to a signing bonus of $800,000, above slot money. Ogle pitched very well with the GCL Pirates, posting an ERA of 2.60, a 49% groundball rate and holding opposing batters to a .184 average. His fastball already sits 94-96 mph, and he compliments it with a power curveball.
Max Kranick: With their 11th round pick last year, the Pirates went with Max Kranick out of Valley View High School in Archbald, Pennsylvania. His signing bonus was at $300,000, which was well above the slot amount. Prior to being drafted, Kranick was rated a Top 100 draft prospect by both Baseball America and ESPN.com’s Keith Law, making him essentially a third round selection. The 6’3 righty was terrific for the GCL Pirates a year ago, as he put up a 2.43 ERA and a 2.82 Fielding Independent Pitching. He also showed great control, walking just four batters in 33.1 innings of work. Kranick currently throws a low-90’s fastball, which can reach 95 mph, along with a curve and changeup that have the potential of being steady secondary offerings.