The Pittsburgh Pirates have seen one of their mid-round picks from the 2018 draft put together a really strong season. He deserves a promotion to Double-A.
During the 2018 draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted a lot of college players with their mid-round picks. With their fourth round pick and the 114th overall pick, the Bucs selected pitcher Aaron Shortridge out of California Berkley.
Shortridge was known as a solid college starting pitching prospect, but his highest ranking on any of the major sites was 365th overall. Obviously, the Pittsburgh Pirates staff liked Shortridge a good bit to use such a high pick on the right-handed starter. Shortridge is currently listed a 6’3” and 195 pounds, so he, of course, has the projectable frame.
Well, so far it looks like the Pittsburgh Pirates were right for taking Shortridge with their fourth round pick. This year he has quietly put together a strong first full season after an impressive début last year. In fact, the MLB Pipeline now has Shortridge ranked inside their recently updated Top 30 Prospect lists. He actually ranks at number 26 overall, which shows how well he has pitched and how good he has looked. Here is their scouting report on the former Golden Bear:
"He commands his low-90s fastball well, allowing it to play up, and he complements it well with his solid changeup, his best secondary offering. He also mixes in a breaking ball that’s still developing, but has the chance to give him three usable pitches.Thanks to his ability to repeat his delivery, Shortridge has been a strike-throwing machine. There could be more to unlock here, which would allow him to reach a ceiling as a back-end starter."
Shortridge is not your classic power pitcher that fans are seeing more and more, but he has three solid offerings and knows how to command those pitches. Last year in his abbreviated first professional season, he pitched to a 2.67 ERA in eight starts. What was even more impressive was that he was striking out over 11 batters per nine innings and only walking two batters per nine innings.
This year, the Pittsburgh Pirates were aggressive with the now 22-year-old and placed him at High-A Bradenton. He quickly proved he belonged there and has put himself in line for a promotion to Double-A before the end of this season.
This year he has made 20 starts for the Mauraders and has thrown 110.2 innings. He has posted a 3.50 ERA with a solid 1.18 WHIP. Meanwhile, he continues to only walk about two batters per nine innings, but he has seen his strikeout rate go down to just seven per nine innings.
One thing that does stand out is that Shortridge has good command. Yes, he is not missing as many bats as one would hope, but he also proved last year that he can strike hitters out. When a player has great command they often are very good at inducing weak contact. Regardless, Shortridge is starting to catch some attention and hopefully he gets a chance to pitch for the Curve this year.