Pittsburgh Pirates: Examining New Prospect Drake Fellows

The Pittsburgh Pirates have added quite a few prospects over the last week from the Joe Musgrove and Jameson Taillon trades.  Here’s what new prospect Drake Fellows offers the club.

With the Pittsburgh Pirates kick starting their rebuild process, the club dealt away right-handed pitcher Joe Musgrove to his hometown San Diego Padres.  In return, the Pirates received Hudson Head, Omar Cruz, David Bednar and Drake Fellows, along with Endy Rodrigeuz from the Mets.  At RumBunter we’ve looked at these prospects with it now being Fellow’s turn.

The right-hander stands at 6’5″ and 216 pounds, showing off a good frame for a starting pitcher.  The right-hander was a three year player at Vanderbilt, posting a career 3.85 ERA in 275.2 innings.  Because of his production, Fellows was drafted in the sixth round of the 2019 MLB Draft, but he was shutdown and with the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, he still has not thrown a pitch in professional baseball.

At the time of the 2019 MLB Draft, MLB Pipeline wrote the following:

“His pitches may be better, but Fellows hasn’t harnessed them as well as he had previously. He has been hit harder and battled his control more than in his first two seasons. He’ll need to regain his previous command to reach his ceiling as a No. 4 starter, but teams do value his competitiveness and long track record of success in the Southeastern Conference”

The new Pirates prospect has good stuff, receiving grades of 55 on his fastball, 55 on the slider, and 50 on the changeup, giving him three average offerings.  This gives him the chance to be a starting pitcher, though FanGraphs notes he hit 17 batters his junior year in college and is more of a development project.

Baseball America might be more bullish, writing that

“It gives him a reasonable fallback option as a reliever if his fastball command and his fringe-average changeup don’t improve. Fellows’ lengthy track record of starting in a tough conference and solid Trackman numbers should help him go relatively quickly on Day 2 of the draft.”

Fellows having solid Trackman further shows where the Pirates are heading in player development, utilizing more analytics than the previous regime.  The stuff should allow the franchise to continue to develop the right-hander as a starter but he does represent an option for relief depth if the command doesn’t come.

Drake Fellows adds to the Pirates growing depth of pitchers in the system that can use more development time.  He has a good frame and has the potential to have three average or better pitches with the biggest question being the command.  The Pirates will look to develop a new wave of pitching depth and Fellows represents a project to the club.