Pittsburgh Pirates Prospect: Four Potential Triple-A Promotions by Season’s End

May 11, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Ben Cherington observes batting practice before the Pirates host the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
May 11, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Ben Cherington observes batting practice before the Pirates host the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jun 30, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; A general view of a Pittsburgh Pirates glove and hat in the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

Pitcher Travis MacGregor

Travis MacGregor was a pretty highly thought of prospect a few years ago. The Pittsburgh Pirates selected him with their second-round pick in the 2016 draft, but missed 2019 because of Tommy John surgery, and didn’t appear in any games in 2020 because there was no minor league season and he never got a call to the bigs.

So far, MacGregor has pitched 36.2 solid innings this year. He has a 3.68 ERA, 4.08 FIP, and 1.17 WHP. MacGregor has struck out over a quarter of the batters he’s faced this season. He currently holds a 25.8% strikeout rate. Walks have been a bit of an issue, but not a massive one as he sits with a 9.7% walk rate. However, he has a career-best HR/9 mark of .74.

MacGregor’s good home run numbers come from the fact he’s induced ground balls at a 54.3% rate, his best mark in at least 30 innings since his 2016 pro debut season. He’s kept opponents to a line drive rate of just 13% while having a 32.6% flyball rate.

MacGregor’s overall numbers would look better had it not been for one blow-up start where he went just 1.2 innings and allowed 5 earned runs. A third of his ER allowed have come from that game alone. Outside of that one outing, he has a 2.57 ERA and 3.39 FIP.

MacGregor has a three-pitch offering and all three pitches are seen as at least average. His four-seam fastball and change-up are considered 55-grade offerings in the future while his curveball is seen as a 50-grade offering.

As long as MacGregor doesn’t have more outings as he did on the 9th of June, then the 23-year-old should be looking at a promotion soon. He could get a similar treatment to Max Kranick, an older prospect who started at Double-A but moved up through the system fast.

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