A Pair Of Under-The-Radar Prospects For The Pittsburgh Pirates

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Here is a look at a pair of under-the-radar prospects that could make a positive impact for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2017.

During each Major League Baseball season there are players that come out of seemingly nowhere to impact their teams. Each team benefits from players like this and the Pittsburgh Pirates are no different from any other team in this aspect.

In recent years a variety of players have fit this bill for the Pirates. In 2016 there were players such as Adam Frazier and A.J. Schugel that came out of seemingly nowhere to play big roles for the Pirates. In 2015 it was Jung Ho Kang.

As we look ahead to 2017, there are a pair of prospects that are flying under the radar that I believe can impact the Pirates. Both of these players are relief pitchers and could help the Pirates find that extra bullpen arm they need. These two players are Dovydas Neverauskas and Jhondaniel Medina.

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Both Neverauskas and Medina are right-handed relief pitchers. Additionally, both started the 2016 season at Double-A Altoona and then finished the season with Triple-A Indianapolis. And both pitchers found success in 2016.

Dovydas Neverauskas is a 23-year old native of Lithuania. In 2016 he pitched 28 innings at Double-A and 30 at Triple-A. Additionally, he was named an International League All-Star while pitching for Indianapolis.

At Double-A Neverauskas averaged 10.29 K/9, 3.54 BB/9, and he did not allow a home run. He had a phenomenal 0.82 WHIP, he held opposing hitters to just a .192 batting average against, and he posted a 2.57 ERA and a 2.25 FIP. This led to him earning a promotion to Triple-A, where he would continue to succeed.

With Indianapolis he averaged 7.20 K/9, 3.30 BB/9, and he allowed just one home run. His WHIP was 1.57, his ERA was 3.60, and his FIP was 3.20. If not for a suspension due to an off the field issue, Neverauskas probably would have earned a September call up in 2016.

Dovydas Neverauskas throws a fastball, slider, and a change up. His fastball sits in the low 90s, but he does need to improve his fastball command. His slider has hard bite and is extremely effective against left-handed hitters.

Jhondaniel Medina pitched 56 innings at Double-A and 13 2/3 at Triple-A. At Double-A he averaged 9.64 K/9, 4.98 BB/9, and he allowed just three home runs. Medina owned a 1.30 WHIP, a 3.70 ERA, and he held opposing hitters to just a .211 batting average.

During the summer months Medina bounced around between Double-A and Triple-A. In his 13 2/3 innings pitched at Triple-A he averaged 6.59 K/9, 4.61 BB/9, and he allowed one home run. His WHIP was 1.39 and he held opposing hitters to a .235 batting average.

Obviously, Medina needs to improve his control. However, the lack of base hits he allows (54 in 69 2/3 MiLB innings in 2016) helps to offset this. If he can improve his control he can become a solid bullpen option for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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Jhondaniel Medina throws a fastball that sits in the low-to-mid 90s. This past season it topped out at 97 miles per hour. He also has an above average splitter, and a curve ball that has good potential. However, his curve ball is a pitch that will require some work to improve his control of it.

The biggest issue with Medina is his control. His splitter is a good out pitch against left-handed hitters, and his fastball can be tough for hitters to handle. Until his command improves, though, it will be tough for him to cut it as a Major League reliever.

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ bullpen is shaping up to be a good one in 2017. However, they still need another arm or two down there to go with the core four. Both Dovydas Neverauskas and Jhondaniel Medina could be this pitcher and both are under-the-radar prospects to keep an eye on this season.

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