Pittsburgh Pirates: Top Five Relief Pitching Prospects

Aug 19, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Nick Mears (70) pitches against the Cleveland Indians during the ninth inning at PNC Park. The Indians won 6-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 19, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Nick Mears (70) pitches against the Cleveland Indians during the ninth inning at PNC Park. The Indians won 6-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Pirates
Jul 29, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates manager Derek Shelton looks on during batting practice before playing the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Travis MacGregor

The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Travis MacGregor with their 2nd round pick in the 2016 MLB Draft. MacGregor was originally drafted as a starter. So far in his minor league career, he’s started all 38 games he’s pitched  in. However, after undergoing Tommy John surgery, his future is likely be the bullpen. Especially with the plus stuff that MacGregor still possesses.

During the 2018 season, the last time he stepped on a professional mound, MacGregor pitched to the tune of a 3.18 ERA, 3.56 FIP and 1.21 WHIP across 70.2 innings. MacGregor showed some good strikeout stuff, getting 80 of the 302 batters he faced down on strike three. He also only walked 22 batters. His HR/9 was 1.0, which is something you’d like to see lower, but not a bad number in today’s game.

MacGregor works with three pitches including his fastball that sits in the mid-90s. He works in the 91-94 MPH range but tops out at 97 MPH. In terms of spin, he averaged around 2300 RPM. His primary breaking pitch is a slider which grades out around average with a 50-grade on FanGraphs and 2250 RPM. He also has a third pitch, a change up that is considered another 55-grade pitch.

With him coming off Tommy John surgery, the Bucs probably want to limit the right-hander’s workload. Not only would putting him in the pen help his stuff play up, but it would also keep him healthy.

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