Pittsburgh Pirates Prospect Report: Gage Hinsz


Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Number 29 on the Top 30 Prospects list from MLB.com is right-hander Gage Hinsz.

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Hinsz is still far away from being major league ready as not only was he just drafted in 2014 (11th round), he came out of high school at the time. He was paid $580,000 to bypass his commitment to Oregon State and become a professional. The 19 year old has the potential to be the next Gerrit Cole for the Pirates and could be one of the big steals from the 2014 draft.

The young man has impressive stature at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds which allows him to use his length to release the ball closer to home plate and overpower batters. His fastball is already a consistent mid-90s and will likely climb to an upper-90s heater as he gets older. He has a very basic repertoire – only a changeup and curveball to go with the fastball – that will need some fine tuning in the coming years.

One thing the scouts like is that, although his secondary pitches aren’t perfect he has shown confidence in using them. In his first two years of rookie ball, Hinsz has proven that he will attack the zone; this is one reason he’s given up a lot of hits but as he learns control and develops other pitches, he could be blowing batters away in the majors someday.

A testament to his overpowering stuff is the fact that he has only allowed 1 home run in 46 career innings. Even if he never develops dominant strikeout stuff, a pitcher who can keep the ball in the park like that can be very successful in Pittsburgh.

Hinsz has the benefit of youth on many of the guys around him. He is already playing at a high level and is still developing his adult body. It is very possible Hinsz will add 1-2 mph to his fastball this season and maybe start to work on a slider if he envisions a career as a starter.

Regardless, Hinsz will probably test the waters of Single-A in 2016 and unless he absolutely sets the league on fire, shouldn’t get much higher than that. The Pirates have no plans to get this guy to the majors for at least another 2 seasons and maybe even longer if he expands his pitch selection. If not, there is a chance he could convert to a reliever at some point to expedite his trip to the majors. Not only would he get there faster, but it could possibly save him from learning a new pitch and letting his natural velocity guide him.

We’ve seen in the past few years how valuable a flamethrower out of the pen can be and if Hinsz can reach upwards of 96mph with even a decent curveball or change, I can see him winding up at the end of games.

It is still far too early to tell and we’ll have to monitor the progress of Gage Hinsz throughout the 2016 season.