Pittsburgh Pirates Top 30 Prospects: Ranking from 18-13

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Pirates Edgar Santana
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

#14, Right-Handed Pitcher, Max Kranick

Kranick was the last of the big three prep pitchers who the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted and signed.  With that being said, he very well could be the quickest to the big leagues out of the three.  Although he was drafted in the eleventh round, Kranick was ranked by Baseball America as the 84th best prospect in the draft.  Getting him in the eleventh round could be a big time steal if he develops the way many expect.

The Pennsylvania high school arm was sent to the Gulf Coast League for his first taste of professional ball. Kranick appeared in nine games and made six starts.  He reached 33.1 innings pitched in these appearances.  He was quite impressive, pitching to a 2.43 ERA, 2.82 FIP, and struck out 21 while only walking 4.  This is a strikeout to walk ratio of 16.2 percent, a number that could rise as he learns how to strikeout batters.  The big thing is the command he showed.  For a young pitcher, it is quite impressive that he only walked four hitters in nine appearances.

His Pitches

Kranick has a general three pitch mix.  His fastball sits 90-93, but likely will end up sitting around 93 or 94 consistently as he matures.  He also has a plus changeup.  Like MacGregor, Kranick is ahead of most young pitchers who struggle to develop changeups early on.  Kranick focused on using a changeup and not a curveball in high school in hopes that it would keep his arm healthier in the long run.  Due to this, he has a below average breaking pitch right now.  Still, with a 6’3” frame and only weighing 175 pounds, there is a lot of room to grow yet.

#13, Right-Handed Pitcher, Edgar Santana

Santana has moved the fastest out of any prospect on this list.  Last season he pitched at three minor league levels, from High-A to Triple-A.  The Pittsburgh Pirates typically do not move players up through their ranks unless they are absolutely confident that he is mentally, physically, and in a pitcher’s case, mechanically ready.  Santana showed this as he dominated through High-A and Double-A.

Last year, Edgar Santana started the season at High-A throwing in nine games.  He was very impressive in his extended relief outings, throwing 22.1 innings while only giving up two earned runs.  With an ERA below one, the Bucs felt he was ready to move up to Double-A.  Santana proved he belonged there as well.  He spent the most time in Double-A in 2016, throwing 41.2 innings in 21 games. In those innings, he had a 2.86 earned run average, and he had a strikeout rate of 8.06 per nine innings pitched. Pretty solid numbers for an inexperienced pitcher who signed as a 21-year-old in 2014.

Santana finished the year in Triple-A where he did have some challenges. In just 16 innings he posted a 5.06 ERA, but his FIP was at 3.61 suggesting he pitched better than his ERA shows.  However, this was expected, as it is hard to climb up three levels, with little experience, and be effective.  However, this does show what the Pittsburgh Pirates feel they have in the young power righty.

His Pitches

Santana has the makeup of the back-end of the bullpen candidate.  He is a true power arm, that not only has a power fastball, but also a power slider.  His fastball this spring has been anywhere from 95 to 98 miles per hour.  On top of that, he has a wipeout slider, that as he continues to throw with more consistency with experience.  It definitely is a pitch that should allow him to pitch in the 7th inning or later in tight games.