Pittsburgh Pirates: Team Set To Call Up Max Kranick
The Pittsburgh Pirates are set to call up one of their top pitching prospects from Triple A Indianapolis to make his MLB debut.
During this past offseason, the Pittsburgh Pirates decided to protect two players from the rule five draft. Infielder Rodolfo Castro was one, and he is a second base prospect with power and is a Kiley utility player. He has already made his Major League debut this season but has mostly played in Double A Altoona this season. The other is right handed pitcher Max Kranick.
Kranick was an 11th round draft pick who was expected to be a tough to sign prospect. He signed for $300,000 to pass on his commitment to Virginia. His fastball at the time was more low 90s but he was 6’3” and a very projectable young arm. By being taken after the 10th round only the amount over slot counted against the Pirates bonus pool. It was a risk but the team was able to sign him.
After dealing with injuries to his throwing arm while in the minors, Kranick pitched last year at the alternate training site. He revamped his arm action to make it shorter. As a result his velocity has creeped up to the upper 90s and his spin rate has also improved. He worked a lot with Joel Hanrahan on this arm action, who has also worked with Wil Crowe and now Mitch Keller. He has 4.37 ERA this year with Altoona and Indianapolis but a 3.67 FIP. FanGraphs projects him more as a reliever than a starter. However, he is set to be called up by the club per Alex Stumpf of DK Pittsburgh Sports.
The expected move is that Geoff Hartlieb will be optioned to Triple A. Hartlieb has consistently struggled with his command and has given up a lot of runs out of the Pirates bullpen. Kranick is the third player from the 2016 draft class to debut behind Will Craig and Blake Cederlind.