Pittsburgh PIrates: Three Injured Prospects Who Will Return in 2023
By Noah Wright
RHP Max Kranick
Had it not been for a Tommy John surgery, Max Kranick may have been playing a swing-man-like role for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season. The right-hander had a poor first showing in the major leagues in 2021 but opened 2022 with a velocity bump.
Kranick was regularly hitting the upper-90s with his fastball. After topping out around 93-96 MPH in 2021, Kranick was hitting 97-98 MPH with Triple-A Indy to open the year. However, Kranick would only pitch 13.2 innings between the minor and major leagues before incurring his injury.
Along with his fastball, Kranick also throws a slider and curveball. The right-hander threw a change-up in 2021 but didn’t throw a single off-speed pitch in his brief 2022 stint in the major leagues. He also added some movement to his slider after reducing its active spin rate from 55% to 43%. But on the downside, despite adding some velo onto his fastball, he lost some movement as well, going from 13.6 inches of vertical drop and 6.6 inches of horizontal break to 11.7 inches of vertical drop and 4 inches of vertical break.
Since Kranick’s injury, Johan Oviedo and Luis Ortiz have joined the major league roster, Mitch Keller has turned a significant corner, and Roansy Contreras has turned in a solid rookie campaign. Kranick likely won’t come back until mid-season 2023, but he could be a nice addition to the Pirates bullpen down the stretch. He’d give the Pittsburgh Pirates a better multi-inning option than what Chase De Jong, Yohan Ramirez, and Zach Thompson provide.