Pittsburgh Pirates Top 30 Prospects: Ranking from 18-13
#18, Right-Handed Pitcher, Yeudy Garcia
Yeudy Garcia was signed by Rene Gayo out of the Dominican Republic in 2013. He signed as a 20-year-old, unlike most international players. The Pittsburgh Pirates were intrigued by Garcia’s power arm, and have used him as both a starting pitcher and out of the bullpen.
Last year Garcia started in 25 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates High-A affiliate. He did pitch one game out the bullpen also, but that was in long relief, which was an abnormal situation. Garcia is noted for his power fastball that has some sink on it. This pitch sits from 95-97 when he starts. In 2015, Garcia pitched nine games out of the bullpen. His fastball sat at 98-99, and unofficially hit 100 a few times. He also has a slider that should be a plus pitch at the next level. His last pitch is a changeup, but that still needs a lot of work if he wants to be an effective big league starter.
Garcia was quite impressive in his 2016 season. According to MLB Pipeline, he finished the season ranked in the top five for earned run average in his league. He posted an earned run average of 2.76. Although, he did have a FIP of 3.41 which still is solid, but suggests he did have some good defense and luck behind him. One thing he is known for is his ability to strikeout hitters. He averaged just about a strikeout per inning pitched, racking up 127 in 127.1 innings pitched. Also, he had a strikeout percentage of 22.7, while walking 9.7 percent of hitters.
With his power fastball and impressive strikeout rate, Garcia might be best suited as a back-end of the bullpen arm. His lack of an effective changeup will likely hold him back from being an effective starter. This is very similar to current Pittsburgh Pirate former starter turned reliever Juan Nicasio, who also lacks an effective third pitch. However, Garcia will continue to get a chance to develop as a starter in Double-A this year.
#17, Second Baseman, Kevin Kramer
The Pittsburgh Pirates made Kramer a second round draft pick in 2015. Kramer, who mainly played shortstop at UCLA, was moved to second base immediately due to 2015 first round pick Kevin Newman manning shortstop. Kramer also projects better at second base going forward anyhow.
Kevin Kramer was penciled in as the everyday second baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates High-A affiliate. In his first full season in the organization, Kramer had a successful campaign. On the year he posted a slash line of .277/.352/.378. Although he did not show a lot of power, he did show the ability to get on base. He had an above average wOBA of .342. Furthermore, his walk rate was relatively average at 9.4%, but he showed strong contact ability by only striking out 12.3% of the time.
Future Second Baseman?
Kramer does not project to be a future all-star player at the big league level. However, a good everyday player will do. He does play solid defense as a second base, and although does not have the best range, is a clean fielder on the plays he should make. Furthermore, he is a disciplined enough hitter to get on base and hit for an above average batting average. If he can continue to add muscle as he climbs the system, he should have a good shot at making the big leagues as an everyday second baseman. Kramer will likely start the year in Double-A Altoona.