Pittsburgh Pirates: Potential Fastest Rising Draft Picks

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Pittsburgh Pirates had an interesting 2022 draft class, but who could be the fastest risers among their selections?

The Pittsburgh Pirates 2022 draft was interesting, to say the least. But overall, they got some pretty good names. They added a good amount of new talent to the farm system, which will help them in the long run. Among the new arrivals to the Pirate minor league system, who will we see up first, and who will shoot up the prospect ranking boards the fastest?

Thomas Harrington is likely the first of the 2022 Pirate draft class we will see in the major leagues, as of right now at least. The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Harrington with the 36th overall selection, which was their competitive balance pick. Harrington wrapped up an impressive season with Campbell University, where he had a 2.53 ERA and sub-1.00 WHIP in 92.2 innings. Harrington struck out 30% of all batters faced on the dot while only letting 4.9% allowed on-base with a walk. He also gave up a singular home run.

Harrington can miss bats with his four-seamer. He isn’t a hard-throwing pitcher, but the right-hander can dial it up to 96 MPH when he needs to. His changeup is the best pitch in his arsenal. He usually sits in the low-80s with tumbling action. Harrington throws two breaking balls: a slider and a curveball. Between these two pitches, his mid-80s slider is the better of the two. His curveball is more of a get-me-over type pitch, but he does have a feel for the upper-70s offering.

Three of Harrington’s biggest strengths are his command, athleticism, and projectability. His athleticism helps him repeat his delivery, which in turn makes his command above average. The 21-year-old is 6’2” and weighs in at 185 pounds. He could add a little muscle by the time he is in the major leagues, which could help add a tick of velo.

Harrington has been trending upward since going to college. MLB Pipeline praises his development of sequencing his offerings and ability to keep batters off balance. With his lack of a glaring weakness in his arsenal and ability, Harrington has a good chance of being the first member of this draft class to make the major leagues.

Now the fastest riser throughout prospect rankings is Michael Kennedy. Kennedy was the Pittsburgh Pirates fourth-round selection, however, many ranked him as a top 100 draft prospect, including FanGraphs (no. 83) and MLB Pipeline (no. 89). The southpaw from Troy, New York is also one of the youngest prospects in the draft, being just 17-years-old.

Already standing at a solid 6’1’, 205, the southpaw consistently hits the low-90s and tops out at 94 MPH. Kennedy’s slider is a second offering that already projects to be above average, coming in around the upper-70s. Finally, there’s his low-80s changeup which he throws with good arm deception.

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Kennedy can repeat his delivery because of his athleticism, and FanGraphs projects him to have 60-grade command. They also praise his overall mechanics on the mound, which leads to a high ceiling projection. Kennedy won’t turn 18 until the very last day of November, so there’s quite some time until we see him in the big leagues. But Kennedy has everything you want from a guy that should rise quickly: good stuff, athleticism, good mechanics, and being a lefty is only a bonus. In two or three years, you might be looking at a guy who will be pushing for top-100 prospect status.