Pittsburgh Pirates Prospect Watch: Brandon Waddell off to Hot Start

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

A former 2015 draft pick is quickly developing into a strong left-handed pitching prospect for the Pittsburgh Pirates

In the 5th round of the 2015 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected left-handed pitcher Brandon Waddell out of the University of Virginia. After having a strong, albeit injury-shortened, 2017 season for Double-A Altoona, Waddell is off to a hot start in 2018.

In 2017 Waddell pitched 66 innings in 15 starts for the Curve. He allowed just 60 hits and 3 home runs while averaging 3.68 BB/9 and 7.64 K/9. He generated groundballs at a 49.2 percent rate while posting a 3.55 ERA and a 3.53 FIP for the eventual Eastern League Champions.

So far in 2018, Brandon Waddell has picked up where he left off at last season. Waddell has made a pair of dominant starts for the Curve this season, and he should be knocking on the door of Triple-A sooner rather than later.

In his two starts this season Waddell has allowed just 6 hits and a single walk while striking out 13 batters in 11 innings pitched. He also owns a healthy 61.5 percent groundball rate and has not allowed a home run. In these two starts he owns a 0.77 ERA and a 1.34 FIP.

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Waddell is still just 23-years-old and will turn 24 in June. If he can reach Triple-A by June, then it would not be out of the question for him to reach the Major Leagues this season. To be honest, if not for his injury issues last season Waddell would most likely already be at Triple-A.

If not, then Waddell would still benefit from logging innings and starts for the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians. Waddell has the ability to be a solid left-handed Major League starting pitcher, and the next step in this process is reaching Triple-A.

If Waddell continues to pitch the way he did last season and in his first two starts this season, he will be at Triple-A sooner rather than later.