Pittsburgh Pirates 2021 Outlook: Pitcher Max Kranick

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

After being added to the 40-man roster in the offseason, what could the 2021 season hold for Pittsburgh Pirates pitching prospect Max Kranick?

Prior to December’s virtual MLB Winter Meetings, the Pittsburgh Pirates added right-handed pitcher Max Kranick to their 40-man roster. This was done to protect Kranick from the Rule 5 Draft.

While Kranick has never pitched above the High-A level, keeping him protected from the Rule 5 Draft make sense. After all, due to his pithcing repetoire and his reputation as a prospect Kranick was liabel to be drafted in this past December’s Rule 5 Draft.

The last time Kranick pitched in professional baseball games he made 20 starts with High-A Bradenton in 2019. I nthese 20 stars Kranick posted a 3.79 ERA and a 4.23 FIP in 109.1 innings pitched. He walked 6.7% of batters faced, struckout 17.3% and allowed home runs at a 0.91 HR/9 rate.

While Kranick is now on the 40-man roster, he will not crack the Opening Day roster for the Pittsburgh Pirates. At first, it appeared he’d start the season in the starting rotation at Triple-A Indianapolis. Now that the Triple-A season will be delayed a month, Kranick could start the season at the Pirate alternate training site.

When the Triple-A season does begin, Kranick could join the likes of Miguel Yajure, Cody Bolton, Cody Ponce and Wil Crowe in their starting rotatiom. He could also be in the bullpen at Triple-A, the starting rotation at Double-A Altoona should not be ruled out, either.

Kranick made his 2021 spring debut in Tuesday’s loss against the Detroit Tigers. In the loss, Kranick allowed 2 runs on a hit, a pair of walks and a strikeout in his 1.0 inning of work.

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No matter where Kranick starts his 2021 season, the Pirates are high on him. If not, they would not have protected him from the Rule 5 Draft. Due to this, he will be a prospect to watch this season. Especially with a MLB debut being a real possbility.