The Pittsburgh Pirates signed one the top high school pitching prospects in the 2022 MLB draft. His name is Michael Kennedy from Troy, New York. He is left-handed pitcher that has the stuff to become a top talent in this farm system. I had the pleasure to talk with Michael and ask him a few questions after he was drafted by the Pirates.
Going into the 2022 MLB Draft, left-handed pitcher Michael Kennedy, was ranked by MLB Pipeline as the no. 89 overall prospect. He was also the 3rd youngest prospect ranked on that list. The Pittsburgh Pirates took a chance and drafted in him in the 4th round in hopes that he would sign and withdraw from his commitment to LSU. Thankfully for the fans and the organization he accepted their over slot offer of $1 million.
Kennedy’s scouting grades according to MLB Pipeline had him at a 55 grade for his fastball, a 55 grade for his slider, and 50 grade for his changeup. Since he is one of the youngest prospects in the system, his potential to develop and grow as a pitcher in this system might be higher than anyone.
In his final year of high school, Kennedy finished the season starting 6 games with a 6-0 record. He pitched a total of 35 innings only allowing 3 earned runs with 65 strikeouts. He had just 3 walks in those 6 games and had an opponent batting average of .118. His ERA to end the season was 0.60.
Interview with Michael Kennedy
Kody:”What was your initial reaction when the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted you?”
Michael: “It was a dream come true, I had everyone in my support system there with me. It was nice to celebrate with them because they sacrificed so much for that moment. It almost felt like fate that I ended up a Pirate. Three weeks before the draft a family friend dropped off hats he no longer needed at my family’s bar/restaurant in my hometown. My mom told me to stop by and pick some out, but when I arrived there was only one left. A historic Pittsburgh Pirates hat with a Red Brim from back in the day. The hat was my exact size, and I actually wore it on draft day.”
Kody:”You were considered to be a tough sign because of your commitment to LSU, what made you change your mind and decide to go pro?”
Michael: “LSU in my mind is still and always has been the best college baseball program in the nation. Both Coach Johnsons (Wes and Jay) do a great job at what they do and I have no doubt in my mind they will win a national championship within 3 years. For me the decision came down to what my end goals are. To win World Series and get my name on a plaque in Cooperstown. Whether I went to school and made a pit stop there or got drafted I had these in my mind. This journey is extremely personal and individualized to each player. For me as a 17 year old, I am excited for professional development. I’ve always been able to pitch, throw strikes, and throw multiple plus pitches, but my physicality as a young kid is not where it needs to be…yet… So my decision was based on my individual needs and my development as a player and person.”
Kody: “You were one of the youngest guys taken in the draft, clearly the Pittsburgh Pirates thought extremely high of you, what are your own expectations in your first year of pro-ball?”
Michael: “I’m staying in Bradenton for the off season to get ready for next spring. I am excited to hit the ground running come spring training with all of the time I have to train here. Expectation: get better”
Kody: “You are now considered one of their best pitchers in the system, do you feel any pressure having that title attached to your name?”
Michael: “Pressure is a privilege. I’m completely fine with high or low expectations at 17 because I’m not a results driven person. It’s all about the process and what I’ll be like at 21/22 and so on. Each failure at 17/18 will prep me for what I hope to be a long career.”
Kody: “Do you know any of the young guys in the system? If so, how do you know them and have they reached out?”
Michael: “I’ve known Bubba Chandler and Jared Jones for some time now and they’ve done a fantastic job prepping me for what to expect. The system as a whole was super welcoming. Also, Termarr and I have played together at PDP and Team USA so we’ve already built that connection. I’m excited to turn around and see him turning my double play balls at PNC.”
Even though Kennedy is one of the youngest players in the farm system, he seems to have a good head on his shoulders and fans should be very excited about his future with this organization. Expect to see him start his professional career next season in the Florida Complex League.