Pittsburgh Pirates Prospect News: Brandon Waddell Promoted

Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Pirates have promoted left-handed pitching prospect Brandon Waddell to the AA Altoona Curve.

Brandon Waddell has been talked about a lot on this site as he has really done well so far this year.  This news from the Pittsburgh Pirates comes after him being absolutely dominant in his last start.  He threw 6 strong innings for the High-A Marauders.  In those innings he struck out seven players while walking none. The thing that made him so effective last in his last start was his ability to get ahead in the count and keep the ball down.

On the year Waddell at High-A Bradenton he possessed a 0.93 ERA.  His strikeout to walk ratio was very impressive sitting at 26 strikeouts to two walks.  The Pirates tend to move players quickly through High-A, so with that the Pirates decided he did as much has he could at the High-A level.  Being Waddell pitched at a high-end college in Virginia and threw in a lot of post-season games, the Pirates definitely feel that he is ready for the next test at AA.

A report I wrote before the season started: “A quick scouting report on Waddell. His fastball is average, it sits around 90-92mph, but he possesses a deceptive arm angle with a plus slider as well.  If he can add another tick to his fastball and learn to keep his slider hard and sharp down in the zone he could continue to develop into a top 25 prospect in the organization. One pitch that needs a lot of work is his change-up.  It shows signs of being a plus pitch at times, but he has never thrown it consistently enough to become comfortable with the pitch. This is a pitch the Pirates try to develop in all their pitchers in the Minor Leagues.”

“If he cannot develop it into an average offering he will not be a starter at the Big League level.  With that being said, he could be an effective reliever.  However, the Bucs are going to give Waddell many opportunities to start in the Minors and to continue to develop his pitches. ”

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Obviously Waddell is proving that he can be an effective starter.  So far this year he has done a great job of keeping hitters off-balance with his deceptive delivery and keeping the ball down in the zone.  He has also shown more consistency in throwing his plus slider and has shown improvement in his change-up.  It will be interesting to see if he can continue that against more advanced hitters.

Waddell moving up to Double-A after only being drafted last year is encouraging.  As I mentioned above this is likely

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due to the amount of innings he pitched against high-level competition in college.  It is exciting to see that the Pirates are being aggressive and that we could potentially see him in the majors by next year.  The main reason this move was possible is because the Stephen Tarpley will be joining the High- A rotation finally.  Tarpley was dealing with a preseason injury.  Tarpley is a top 25 prospect and a lefty so it is good to see him getting back into action also.  So the Pirates will be promoting one talented lefty to AA and replacing him with another at High-A.