Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Soft-Tossing Prospects to Watch in 2022

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Pittsburgh Pirates
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – AUGUST 09: A Pittsburgh Pirates hat, glove and bat sit in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 9, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Owen Kellington

Selected in the 4th round of the 2021 draft, Owen Kellington came out of U-32 High School in Vermont. Vermont isn’t known as one of the biggest states for baseball. In the history of the sport, there have only been 38 players from the state, the 6th lowest among all 50 states. For reference, there have been 134 MLB players from Pittsburgh alone. Still, regardless of the state’s reputation, Kellington stood out among high school pitchers in the country.

Kellington pitched 49 innings, posting a .22 ERA, and striking out 133 batters. He got a total of 147 batters out, and 133 of them went down on strike three. That is an insane 90.5%. Aroldis Chapman set the best single-season strikeout rate in 2014 in at least 50 innings pitched at 52.5%. He only got 65.4% of outs on strikeouts.

Kellington has a similar arsenal to Logan Hofmann. He has a four-seamer that comes in the low-90’s with a 12-6 curveball. He also throws a change-up to add to his arsenal. Among his pitches, Kellington’s curve is considered elite to near-elite by FanGraphs. It has a projected 60-grade.

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Kellington is still very young. After all, he was a high school pick. Next year will be the right-hander’s age-19 campaign. Currently, he is ranked as the organization’s 49th best prospect. He has a good shot at starting 2022 at Low-A Bradenton.