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Thread: Prospects By Position

      
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    Default Prospects By Position

    I thought before I post my top 30 prospects I'd do a quick overview of the prospects the Pirates have at each position. None of this will be too in depth but it should give you an idea of who are the guys I'll be keeping an eye on in 2017. I'll list everyone by the level they played in 2016 and then mention anyone who was acquired since the end of the season. Quick note I'm only listing players who 2017 will be their age 26 or younger season. I'll start with LHP and post more as I get the time.

    fRk: Roger Santana, Randy Jimenez, Angel Martinez, Reymundo Pena

    Rk: Domingo Robles, Oddy Nunez, Ronny Agustin, Braeden Ogle, Hector Garcia

    Rk+: Ike Schlabach, Nestor Oronel, Jordan Jess

    A-: Cam Vieaux

    A: Sean Keselica, Daniel Zamora, Taylor Hearn

    A+: Brandon Waddell, Sean Keselica

    AA: Cody Dickson, Brandon Waddell, Jared LaKind

    AAA: Steven Brault

    New: Tyler Webb, Jake Brentz

    As you may have noticed I've bolded the guys I find the most interesting so I'll discuss them at a little length.

    Roger Santana - He is a finesse lefty who just posted an ERA under two while leading the DSL team in innings pitched. He has good control of his pitches and managed to miss quite a few bats this past year in the DSL. On the downside he seemed to struggle this year when his defense made a mistake as he allowed 17 unearned runs (compared to 15 earned runs) and he tops out at just 90 so he will probably need to add some velocity to be effective at higher levels but at just 18 that is still possible.

    Braeden Ogle - The Pirates 4th round pick from this past draft Ogle is rather polished for a high school arm as he was consistently hitting 96 early on in his senior season (he settled in at 92-93 later on) and he possess a solid curve. His command is fine for a prep arm but that of course means he still has a good bit of work to do in that area and is other pitches including a slider and a change up need to develop. There is a good bit of upside with Ogle as he has one of the two highest ceilings among all Pirates left handed pitching prospects.

    Hector Garcia - A favorite of mine Garcia was establishing himself as a good prospect after a solid 2014 and great start to 2015 but then the Tommy John bug bit him and its been a slow climb back. He got into a bit of action in rookie ball last year and looked great in the limited sample. He has a solid arsenal of pitches including a low 90s fastball, a curve and a change but he does need to improve his control to be successful as he moves up. This upcoming season will be a good test to see if he pick up where he left off before the injury.

    Ike Schlabach - A tall projectable prep arm taken in the 2015 draft Schlabach hasn't seen the numbers you'd like to see from him but there is certainly upside here as he has just recently turned 20. He is probably the rawest pitcher I have singled out on the list and has a long ways to go but there is potential here.

    Cam Vieaux - This year's 6th round pick Vieaux doesn't have outstanding stuff but gets by on good command of his pitches. He has a fastball that sits right around 90 and compliments it with a decent change and curve. There isn't much upside here and he is older than you typical college player (next year will be his age 23 season) but he has a relatively high floor and could turn into a decent back end starter.

    Taylor Hearn - The prospect the Pirates got back in the Melancon trade Hearn has a big arm and can touch 100 though he is usually in the 94-95 range maxing out at around 97. His secondary pitches need some work and his control while better than most prospects who throw as hard as he does still needs to be ironed out. THe Pirates are going to try and develop Hearn as a starter and if he sticks there he is the other left handed pitcher (besides Ogle) who has a high ceiling of a front of the rotation arm. I have him as one of the Pirates top two left handed pitching prospects though I haven't decided if he is first or second yet.

    Brandon Waddell - Here we have kind of the one year later version of VIeaux as Waddell was the Pirates 5th round draft pick in 2015. His stuff is even almost identical with a low 90s fastball, a change up and a curve (though its more of a slurve) and he gets by with good command of his pitches. This past season he dominated A+ and received one of the quickest promotions to AA the current Pirates regime has ever given to a prospect (it was the quickest if you don't count Jacob Stallings emergency fill in). There isn't a ton of upside here but he looks like he could develop into a useful back end starter in the mold of Jeff Locke (which isn't the negative thing a lot of you may think it is).

    Cody Dickson -
    Taken in the 4th round of the 2014 draft the immediate reaction may be to claim that Dickson was that drafts version of Waddell or Vieaux but that would be inaccurate. Dickson has plus stuff and can throw in the mid 90s and at the time he was drafted he had the upside of a mid rotation starter if he could iron out his control issues. Despite the control problems Dickson's numbers have never been bad because his stuff consistently bails him out of trouble. Personally I think the ship has sailed on him as a starter but I think if the Pirates choose to transition him from relief there is a chance he could develop into a Justin Wilson type relief pitcher.

    Jared LaKind - Drafted in 2010 as a 1B LaKind spent his first three professional seasons struggling to hit short season pitching and not even playing a particularly good 1B. Then in 2013 the Pirates converted him to a pitcher in a desperation attempt to salvage something out of his 400K bonus and he did ok for someone who was away from pitching the last 3 years. He continued to be just fine but nothing great in 2014-15 and it looked like he was just an organizational arm but then to start 2016 the Pirates surprisingly pushed him to AA (he had only 24 innings at A ball) and the team's faith in him paid off as he posted very strong numbers and now looks like a legitimate middle releif pitching prospect.

    Steve Brault - Acquired in the Travis Snider trade Brault quickly showed what the Pirates saw in him by posting very good numbers in A+ and AA in 2015. He followed that up with a good showing in AAA and his major league debut in 2016. Brault is essentially the realization of what pitchers like Waddell and Vieaux could become as he is a lefty with average stuff who manages to succeed thanks to good control of his pitches. There isn't a lot of upside here but the floor is incredibly high which is why I have him ranked right with Hearn as one of the Pirates two best left handed pitching prospects.

    Tyler Webb - Taken from the Yankees in the Rule V draft this offseason Webb is a major league ready bullpen arm who has posted good numbers at AAA the last two seasons. He has been very tough on left handed batters through his career and while righties haven't crushed him they have hit well enough against him that it likely limits him to just a middle releif guy instead of a back end option but the fact he is ready now makes him a solid prospect.

    Jake Brentz - Acquired from the Mariners for Arquimedes Caminero Brentz is the hardest throwing left hander in the Pirates system just barely eclipsing Hearn in that regard. What he doesn't have and why he is more of a project instead of a prospect at this stage is much control of his pitches. He has consistently posted high walk rates throughout his minor league career but also of course has the stuff to miss a lot of bats. He is a high risk/reward proposition but a left handed arm like his is easy to dream on as either a force in the rotation or a guy slamming the door late in games.

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    Default Re: Prospects By Position

    I'm going to split right handed pitchers into four sections based upon the level they played in 2016. First up will be the rookie ball guys, followed by the short season pitchers, then A ball and then the upper minors.

    DSL: Adonis Pichardo, Carlos Bustamante, Eumir Sepulveda, Joel Caesar Toribio, Jose Delgado, Julio Gonzalez, Kleiner Machado, Leandro Pina, Oliver Garcia, Ramon Garcia, Sergio Cubilete, Wilmer Contreras, Yeudry Manzanillo

    GCL: Alex Martinez, Argenis Romano, Austin Shields, Brian Sousa, Chris McDonald, Claudio Scotti, Delvin Hiciano, Eduardo Vera, Francis Rodriguez, Ivan Cespedes, Jacob Taylor, Julian Villamar, Max Kranick, Miguel Hernandez, Travis MacGregor, Vince Deyzel

    Adonis Pichardo - He has flashed good velocity in the past, touching 96, and the Pirates gave him a 105K signing bonus back in 2014 so they obviosuly saw something in him. After a rough debut season in 2015 he showed good improvement this past year but oddly despite being 20 years old he doesn't appear likely to make his way to the states.

    Joel Caesar Toribio - I know next to nothing about this guy but he is a 20 year old pitcher in the DSL who can touch 100 mph. Those just don't exist which automatically makes him intriguing. None of his pitches are well developed and he has no control but an arm like that stands out. Unfortunately he was limited to just 2 appearances this past season before injuries shut him down

    Leandro Pina - A surprise this past season Pina is a tall projectable pitcher who signed for very little but ended up being one of the ebst pitchers in the league this past season. He is a fastball/change up pitcher with excellent command and he managed to post a 1.46 ERA over 61.2 innings. Currently he only throws in the high 80s but he is just 17 so he has time to fill out and add velocity.

    Sergio Cubilete - The Pirates have been having a moderate amount of success lately with signing pitchers who by international standards are old (20+) and Cubilete just might be the most recent success. Debuting as a 21 year old this past season Cubilete was the most advanced arm on the staff and though his raw numbers weren't as good as Pina his stuff is currently bettter than his. Due to his age the Pirates will likely give him a bit of an aggressive push and it will be interestign to see how he handles it.

    Yeudry Manzanillo - The Pirates gave him a 150K signing bonus during the 2015 signing period and though his debut this past season was rough by the numbers the Pirates must have been encouraged by his performance as he received an invite to the Fall Instructional League which means he'll probably play in the states this upcoming season. He is another projectable teenage pitcher that we will just have to wait and see on.

    Austin Shields - Taken in the 33rd round Shields was signed as a fall back option when the Pirates were unable to get Nick Lodolo to sign. Compared to the other prep arms the Pirates took he is extremely raw and will require a lot of time. Scouts think he is going to need his delivery reworked but he certainly has potential as he currently sits in the low 90s with his fastball and has a decent slider to compliment it. His brief pro debut didn't go well but and he displayed control issues but he is a work in progress with a potential big payoff.

    Brian Sousa - Signed in the 2014 international period Sousa is kind of similar to Shields in that he has displayed good stuff at times but has significant control problems that need to be ironed out. He did show a bit of progress in 2016 so it seems likely he'll move up to Bristol next year.

    Jacob Taylor - Kind of the right handed version of Hector Garcia. Taylor was taken in 4th round of the 2015 draft and looked like an exciting prospect who could touch 97 with his fastball but then after just one outing in rookie ball he was out of action and getting Tommy John surgery. He got back on the mound for only a brief time this season but it was good to see him back pitching. He has played very little as a pro thus far but he has a good arm and looks to have a good deal of upside though he also comes with a good deal of risk.

    Max Kranick - Taken in the 11th round Kranick appeared to be a long shot to signed as he reportedly had a high asking price but the Pirates managed to sign him for just 300 K. Baseball America had him rated the 84th best pitcher in the draft and he is considered by some to have the highest upside of the 4 prep arms the Pirates signed and drafted this past year. Currently his fastball sits in the low 90s and hsi primary secondary pitch is change up.

    Miguel Hernandez - Hernandez was signed by the Pirates in the 2014 international period and he has good size (6' 5") and and a live arm (he throws 93-94). He had a good pro debut in 2015 but when he came to the states this past season he struggled to throw strikes. Like pretty much everyone else on this list he is a live arm who has flashed potential to be more at times.

    Travis MacGregor - Another tall projectable pitcher who throws in the low 90s. The Pirates love these types. MacGregor is a little different than most though as his change is already pretty good and he has good control. When he was drafted this past year in the 2nd round it was considered a bit of an overdraft but lately people have started coming around to him and I've even seen him crack into a couple top 20 prospect lists.

    Obviously interesting pitchers in rookie ball are a lot different than interesting pitchers in the upper levels. These guys have barely gotten a taste of pro ball and as I alluded to most interesting guys fit the same profile. They are 6' 3" to 6' 7" with room to grow into that frame and already throwing the ball in the low 90s, have a good feel for one secondary pitch and are working on a third pitch while also trying to improve their command. That basic profile descibes pretty much everyone I've highlighted and probably about 10 more guys who I didn't. Most will flame out but a few will succeed and when they do the upside can be huge.

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    Default Re: Prospects By Position

    Rk+: Adam Oller, Blake Cederlind, Geoff Hartlieb, John Pomeroy, Matt Eckelman, Mike Wallace, Nicholas Economos, Nick Hutchings, Pasquale Mazzoccolli, Robbie Coursel, Shane Kemp

    A-: Adrian Grullon, Brandon Bingel, Danny Beddes, Dylan Prohoroff, Evan Piechota, James Marvel, Luis Escobar, Luis Paula, Matt Anderson, Matt Frawley, Neil Kozikowski, Scooter Hightower, Stephan Meyer

    Adam Oller - Drafted in the 20th round of this past draft Oller is a finesse righty. He is a big guy at 6' 4", 228 lbs but as a college guy he isn't too projectable so the high 80/ low 90s velocity is probably what you are going to get. He compliments his fastball with a good curve and changeup plus good command of all three pitches. His stuff isn't great but he isn't going to beat himself which is a plus. Limited upside here but he could develop into a depth starter in a few years (think Brandon Cumpton)

    Blake Cederlind - Taken in the 5th round Cederlind didn't make BA's top 500 prospects but itís easy to see his appeal as he is a live arm pitcher who thanks to being a JuCo guy is younger than a typical college pitcher. He throws in the mid 90s and the rest of his game is quite unrefined with a pair of secondary pitches that need work and control issues that need ironed out. His debut went alright before being shut down with a mild case of forearm tightness. Cederlind isn't really all that different than a prep arm as there is plenty of upside (think mid rotation starter) but also a real chance he never makes it past A ball.

    John Pomeroy - About as raw a pitcher as you are going to find Pomeroy threw less than 15 innings in college and pitched just 13.2 during his pro debut season. He is a very much a wild thing as he displays good velocity (96-97) but has no idea where the ball is going (he walked or hit over 34% of the batters he faced last year). If the Pirates are able to help him find some semblance of control (which given his limited time pitching may be possible) Pomeroy could become an interesting relief prospect.

    Matt Eckelman - A college senior drafted in the 21st round Eckelman was the best pitcher on the Bristol staff last year. Now the performance of college players is what amounts to not much more than rookie ball isn't much of an indicator of anything but he does possess a good 4 pitch mix and good command which does make him interesting. None of his pitches are plus which limits his upside but I could see him developing into a back of the rotation starter or at least a AA/AAA depth arm.

    Danny Beddes - Another senior taken in the 15th round of this past draft Beddes has good stuff getting his fastball up to 95 but has shown control issues. His pro debut resulted in him posting good numbers but he didn't strike out many people but on the flip side his control also wasn't as poor as his draft profile would suggest. There is certainly more upside here than with your typical college senior.

    Dylan Prohoroff - In what has become a bit of a trend at late Prohoroff is a pure relief prospect taken in this past draft. At first under Huntington the Pirates tended to avoid taking pitchers who looked like pure relief pitcher prospects but that has started to change a little the last couple of drafts. Prohoroff is a bit like Pomeroy just more refined as where he does still have control issues they are at a much more normal level than where Pomeroy finds himself. Prohoroff needs some work on his delivery, control and secondary pitches but as an arm that can throw in the mid 90s he isn't a bad project for an 8th round pick as he could develop into a back of the bullpen option.

    James Marvel - The Pirates took Marvel with their 36th round pick in 2015 which of course isn't typical prospect territory but Marvel has a bit of special circumstances as he missed the entire 2015 season due to Tommy John surgery. Before the injury Marvel was a quality college arm that probably would have been taken somewhere in the first 10 rounds but the injury cast concerns about him including signability. He got into some action this past season and though his numbers weren't great (they weren't terrible either) it was good to just have him pitching again.

    Luis Escobar - The best pitching prospect in this group Escobar was signed by the Pirates in the 2013 international signing period for 150K. His DSL debut was solid but it was with his state side debut that he started garnering some attention. During his time in rookie ball he was throwing in the mid 90s with a good feel for his secondary pitches and his control was markedly improved over his time in the DSL. His potential caused Keith law to rank him as the Pirates 12th best prospect. He followed that up by posting a sub 3 ERA in the New York Penn League as a 20 year old. His control tends to comes and god as sometimes he has it and other times he simply doesn't. He still has a long ways to go in his development but this is a young talented pitcher with plenty of upside. Escobar is a popular pick to be a breakout prospect for the Pirates this season.

    Matt Anderson - Taken in the 10th round and given a 10K signing bonus is not a sign of a prospect but Anderson was a senior which meant he had little leverage in negotiation so despite being ranked in the top 300 by Baseball America he had to settle for a tiny signing bonus. His fastball is inconsistent ranging from 88-94 but he has a history of missing bats due to deception. His ERA at Morgantown wasn't strong but he missed a lot of bats which was enough to capture my attention. To me he looks like a reliever in the making as I can imagine his fastball being consistently in his upper range and his curve acting a strong second pitch. He is someone I'm probably a little higher on than the consensus.

    Scooter Hightower - A bit of an odd case here Hightower was taken as a JuCo player in the 15th round of the 2015 draft. He doesn't have good stuff as he struggles to hit 90 with his fastball but despite this he has shown great control and a good ability to miss bats in his time with the Pirates. His performance has been very good but the Pirates have been curiously hesitant to push him thus far. Usually when this is the case it turns out the team actually does know best but until he actually fails his performance to date makes him an interesting player to watch.

    Stephan Meyer - Personally I don't see much in Meyer but Pirates Prospects sees him as someone who stepped up this year and gotten on to the prospect radar. After middling success in 2015 and the first part of 2016 he switched to a two seam fastball in the later portion of this year and by accounts has taken to it well. His performance did improve after he made the switch so maybe there is something here; I guess we will see how he performs in 2017 but for now he is worth watching.

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    Default Re: Prospects By Position

    A: Bret Helton, Dario Agrazal, Eric Karch, Gage Hinsz, Jake Burnette, Jess Amedee, Julio Eusebio, Julio Vivas, Logan Sendelbach, Mitch Keller, Pedro Vasquez Seth McGarry, Yunior Montero

    A+: Austin Coley, Buddy Borden, Henry Hirsch, Jose Regalado, JT Brubaker, Junior Lopez, Justin Topa, Luis Heredia, Nick Neumann, Sam Street, Tanner Anderson, Tate Scioneaux, Yeudy Garcia

    Bret Helton - Helton is another pitcher that fits the mold of the low upside college pitcher. Nothing in particular stands out about him he throws in the low 90s with average at best secondary pitches and his control is at best ok. In fact the only reason I include him is due to him being a 9th round pick in 2015. The Pirates might see something here but to me his upside is a Cumpton/Sadler type AAA depth starter.

    Dario Agrazal - Signed out of Panama, Agrazal has the size (6' 3") and velocity (mid 90s) that the Pirates like to see in their pitchers. He has also usually been a ground ball pitcher which of course fits with what the Pirates like to do. On top of all this he has good control and will likely be at Bradenton next year at the very good age of 22. All of this is the profile of a very good pitching prospect but yet Agrazal really isn't one and that is because none of his secondary pitches appear to be all that good which means he ends up being a very contact heavy guy and that limits his upside.

    Gage Hinsz - Taken in the 11th round of the 2014 draft out of Montana Hinsz was viewed as a very raw pitcher in part because his high school didn't even have a baseball team (he played American Legion ball). Despite being raw he still displayed the typical tools the Pirates look for of a tall projectable arm that currently throws in the low 90s (with room to add more) and a couple of secondary pitches that need to be refined. His first two seasons progress decently and then last year he enjoyed a bit of a mini breakout but was largely over shadowed by someone we will get to shortly. Playing in full season ball he was getting his fastball up into the mid 90s and showing off a pretty good curve. His overall line was good especially considering how young he was for the level and he has now established himself as one of the Pirates better prospects.

    Logan Sendelbach - I'll be honest with you I often get Helton and Sendelbach confused with one another. They were both taken in the 2015 draft just one round apart (Sendelbach was the 10th round pick), both are college arms with limited upside and both have a similar arsenal of pitches. The primary differences are Helton has a bit more velocity (he can reach 94-95 whereas Sendelbach tops out at 92-93) whereas Sendelbach has the better command and I would say a better chance of reaching his limited upside.

    Mitch Keller - I imagine most of you know that it was Keller who overshadowed Hinsz last year as he broke out in a big way and is now considered one of the best prospects in baseball. Keller possesses a mid-90s fastball, a good curve and a changeup that needs work but is good for a player his age. Relying heavily on his fastball he dominated A ball last year and looked just as good in his few starts at Bradenton to end the year. Some people now even consider Keller the best prospect in the Pirates system which speaks to just how good his performance was and how much upside he has.

    Pedro Vasquez - I'm cheating a bit here as Vasquez didn't play last year at all for the Pirates but was acquired in the Caminero deal. He fits with the recent trend the Pirates have of older Latin American pitchers who have turned themselves into solid prospects. Vasquez who spent 2015 in the DSL started last year in rookie ball but was quickly pushed to full season ball where he pitched very well. His stuff isn't outstanding but he controls it well and his performance to date has been good enough that you have to take him seriously as a prospect. For some reason the Mariners limited his innings last year so I'm guessing the Pirates will have him pitching relief this year which is where his future probably is anyway.

    Seth McGarry - Drafted in the 8th round of the 2015 draft McGarry was cited as someone who could move through the system quickly if the Pirates opted to develop him as a relief pitcher. The Pirates have opted not to go that direction having him start in rookie ball and the New York Penn League in 2015 and then having him pitch in a long relief role in 2016. McGarry throws 96-97 but the Pirates switched him to a two seamer before 2016 to get more movement on the pitch. His numbers so far have been solid though he has shown some walk issues. He still looks like someone who could turn into a solid relief pitcher prospect as early as this upcoming season.

    Austin Coley - Taken in the 8th round of the 2014 draft Coley got some attention after his 2015 season when he recorded 16 wins in the South Atlantic League. As you know wins are not a good way to judge a pitcher and Coley is no exception. He is a fastball/change up guy who relies on good control of his pitches to succeed. His stuff isn't great which means he allows a lot of contact and he is a fly ball pitcher so this often has very negative results. He is another guy who maybe could develop into a back of the rotation arm if everything breaks right.

    JT Brubaker - Another pitcher in the mold of a later half of the top 10 rounds college arm with low 90s velocity and a back of the rotation upside Brubaker was taken in the 6th round of the 2015 draft. I have him a bit above the others listed here due to his ability to get ground balls and the fact that he did manage to strike out a lot of hitters this year while with the West Virginia Power (he didn't fare nearly as well once he was promoted).

    Luis Heredia - I'm including Heredia here basically just out of obligation due to his name and signing bonus. Quite simply Heredia never developed as the Pirates hoped he would and will be a minor league free agent after the 2017 season which will likely mark his end of the line with the Pirates. He did show a bit of promise last year in the first half of the season when he was posting good numbers thanks to a 93-94 mph sinking fastball but then the command of that pitch he had disappeared in the second half. If he can start commanding that pitch on a consistent basis there is still probably a chance he could turn into a Jared Hughes type reliever but his days as a top prospect are long gone and never coming back. Amazingly 2017 will be just his age 22 season.

    Sam Street - Ok so calling Street any kind of prospect is probably a bit of a stretch but come on this is an Australian side arm pitcher. How could I not include him here? Street has trouble reaching the upper 80s let alone 90 and relies on his unusual delivery to be successful. Street has actually posted good numbers throughout his pro career but obviously there just isn't much upside here and it is a bit worrying he started showing some control issues last year which never were an issue before. There is a good chance he'll be with Altoona this year and despite not being much of a prospect I'm hoping to get a good look at him.

    Tanner Anderson - Anderson is essentially what Luis Heredia would be if he had more control of his sinking fastball. Anderson has a sinking fastball that he gets up to 94 which he relies on to generate a lot of ground balls to make up for the fact that he doesn't miss many bats. Anderson also relies on an unusual delivery (he has a high leg kick) to keep batters off balance. He still needs to find a good compliment to his fastball but he is an interesting relief pitcher prospect.

    Tate Scioneaux - Early on I was much more excited for Scioneaux than I was as when he was drafted it was stated he was throwing in the mid 90s and when he followed that up by posting great strike out rates I thought there might a future closer here. When I got a chance to see him and read reports of others who actually saw him pitch in pro ball the excitement faded some as that kind of velocity just isn't there. From what I seen and read he maxes out at 92-93. Still he has shown a good ability to miss bats and his walk numbers have been quite low so there might be something here. He should be in AA this season and if his success carries over he'll become an interesting prospect despite the velocity not being as advertised.

    Yeudy Garcia - Garcia seemingly came out of nowhere in 2015 when he posted outstanding numbers in A ball and quickly established himself as a real prospect. He was easily considered one of the Pirates top 20 prospects after the season which considering he was non-descript DSL guy before the season represented a huge jump. His 2016 on paper looks like a decent follow up to his 2015 breakout performance but it was actually a bit of a disappoint. The consistent mid 90s velocity he displayed wasn't there (he still reached it but not on a consistent basis), he struggled to put batters away at times and his control seemed to take a step back. Most concerning at all he was sent to Pittsburgh to have his shoulder examined after the season and nothing has been heard about how that went. Still he remains someone with back of the bullpen or even potentially middle of the rotation upside.

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