Pittsburgh Pirates Draft: Three College Pitchers to Watch

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LHP Parker Messick

Parker Messick is a pitcher who could go to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the second round. Currently, he’s the 48th ranked prospect per MLB Pipeline 44th ranked by FanGraphs. The Florida State southpaw brings a whole lot of energy to the mound, as well as a solid pitch mix that gives him a starter’s outlook.

Messick was great in 2021. He worked 90 innings while posting a 3.10 ERA and 1.156 WHIP. He only allowed six home runs for a 0.6 HR/9. Messick is also a strikeout machine. Including the 5.2 innings he has pitched this year and 11.2 innings he tossed in 2020 Messick had a strikeout rate of 34.4%. This has also come with a 6% walk rate, showing he’s not just a big strikeout, big walk guy either.

He has a four-pitch mix, all of which he has a feel for. Messick isn’t a flamethrower as he only averages around 90-93 MPH and topping out at 95. His most used breaking pitch is a slider which plays to an above-average level. He also has a curveball, though it can get a bit loopier than you’d like to see. His off-speed offering, a changeup, might be his second-best pitch. He gets many of his swings-and-misses on it, and many softly hit grounders. His change sits in the low-80’s and is a quality offering.

Although Messick doesn’t throw very hard, his low arm slot and quick arm speed give him some deception on the mound. However, there is some downside to Messick. His delivery has a fair amount of moving parts. He’s also already thrown over 100 college innings and should continue to pitch more this year. His delivery also means that he’ll probably not add a significant amount of velocity anytime soon.

However, those are relatively minor risks for a lefty with plus control and good deception. Messick might be a slight under-slot pick, but you have to keep in mind that someone like Termarr Johnson or Drew Jones could fall to the Pittsburgh Pirates at no. 4. It would be far from the first time a consensus #1 pick fell past the top 3 teams. Plus, there’s more than enough talent within Messick to justify taking him early in the second round. He has a four-pitch mix, plus command, and oozes confidence on the mound.