Pittsburgh Pirates News: Max Kranick Undergoes Tommy John Surgery

Sep 19, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Max Kranick (45) pitches against the Miami Marlins during the first inning at loanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 19, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Max Kranick (45) pitches against the Miami Marlins during the first inning at loanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Pittsburgh Pirates will lose rigth-hander Max Kranick for the rest of the year as he has undergone Tommy John surgery.

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ pitching depth has took a blow on Saturday afternoon. Right-handed pitching prospect Max Kranick recently underwent Tommy John surgery, taking him out for the rest of the year, and likely part of next season as well. Kranick has spent the last few weeks on the minor league injury list, but will now undergo the dreaded surgery. The news of Kranick’s surgery was first reported by Jason Mackey:

Kranick opened the season on the injury list because of a forearm strain. When he returned, the right-hander saw a noticable uptick in velocity. He was sitting in the upper-90s during his rehab stints with A-Ball Bradenton and Triple-A Indianapolis. Kranick did appear in the major leagues this year, tossing 5 shutout innings between two bullpen outings.

The pitching prospect also saw time in the major leagues last year. Although he started his career off with five perfect innings against the divison rival St. Louis Cardinals, Kranick would end the year with a poor 6.28 ERA, 4.64 FIP, and 1.71 WHIP in 38.2 total innings of work. Although he had a quality .93 HR/9, he allowed 10.4% of batters to reach via free pass while having a strikeout rate of a lowly 17.6% mark.

Kranick, who ranks as the Pirates’ 44th best prospect and 17th best pitching prospect per FanGraphs, had a shot to secure a rotation spot this season. Roansy Contreras, JT Brubaker, Jose Quintana, and Zach Thompson have put things together over the past month, but the fifth spot still remains a bit of a mystery. Mitch Keller has gotten the bulk of starts in the last rotation spot, but has also played second fiddle to a multi-inning opener. Dillon Peters has been used as a multi-inning opener a handful of times, and Wil Crowe made a two-inning open against the Chicago Cubs earlier this year. It’s been a bit of a musical chairs act in the back of the rotation.

This deals a notable blow to the Pirates’ pitching depth. Kranick was on the 40-man roster and was likely one of the players the Pirates would have called up in the event of an injury. Kranick will miss all of this season and a decent chunk of 2023 as well. So here’s to Max Kranick in the hopes of a speedy recovery.

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