The Pittsburgh Pirates made a buzzer beater draft signing, landing southpaw Julian Bosnic. So what is the 14th rounder bringing to the Bucs?
The Pittsburgh Pirates rounded up their 2022 draft class signings with a buzzer beater deal, signing southpaw Julian Bosnic. Bosnic was the Pirates’ 14th round selection and will likely sign for over slot money. So what is the lefty bringing to the organization?
The University of South Carolina product had a phenomenal bounce back season after a 2019 Tommy John surgery procedure. Bosnic served as a long-relief/swingman type role this year, pitching 50.2 innings in 22 games, four of which were starts. He put up some phenomenal numbers which included a 2.84 ERA and WHIP just under 1.0, clocking in at 0.93. Bosnic only allowed two home runs, leading to a 0.36 HR/9 rate. He also struck out 78 of the 206 batters he faced. Bosnic’s strikeout rates were elite with a 37.9% strikeout rate and 13.9 K/9.
Bosnic entered the 2021 draft as a top draft prospect, ranking 187th overall per MLB Pipeline. However, some blister issues hurt his draft stock and he fell to the 16th round when the San Francisco Giants picked him 476th overall. Bosnic didn’t sign, which led to him going back to college.
Bosnic has a plus-plus fastball, one that already averages out in the low/mid-90s and can top out at 97 MPH. Bosnic is a spin rate darling who’s fastball has great peripheral stats and plus vertical movement. Bosnic’s four-seamer gets a ton of swinging strikes, but his high-spin curve gets even more K’s. Coming in the upper-70s, Bosnic’s primary breaking pitch has big looping action with horizontal movement. He tunnels both pitches very well. Then there’s his change-up. He has a decent feel for it and has shown some good movement, but he rarely uses it when he starts.
The issue with Bosnic is his mechanics and athleticism, which affects his command. Bosnic’s delivery can get out of sync because of the high-effort movements he makes. His so-so athleticism is another reason his wind-up/delivery can get thrown out of sync. This can throw off his command and led to a poor 12.1% walk rate this season.
The command and mechanic issues are a concern, but Bosnic is a power-lefty with a big curveball and a chance to be a starting pitcher. He can get away with the 10%+ walk rate if he can maintain his home run prevention skills and strikeout at least a quarter of the batters he faces.
Like most young arms who have two plus offerings and a third average offering, there is relief risk. But the Pittsburgh Pirates knew they were getting a bargain when they selected Bosnic in the 14th round. He could have went in the first five rounds of the 2021 draft. He’s already 22 years old, so he could rise through the system quickly if he can play up to his talent.