Pittsburgh Pirates: Five More Potential Rule 5 Draft Picks

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers' Korry Howell (11) makes a catch against the Quad Cities River Bandits during their baseball game Thursday, July 7, 2021, at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute, Wis. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers won 8-7.Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinApc Rattlersvsquad 0707210484djp
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers' Korry Howell (11) makes a catch against the Quad Cities River Bandits during their baseball game Thursday, July 7, 2021, at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute, Wis. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers won 8-7.Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinApc Rattlersvsquad 0707210484djp /
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Cody Laweryson

The next player to examine is Cody Laweryson. The Minnesota Twin pitching prospect is unranked but could be on radars when pre-season rankings start rolling out. Laweryson is coming off an outstanding season between High-A and Double-A and will definitely be on Rule 5 radars this year’s Winter Meetings.

The right-hander spent the year as a swingman, starting ten of the 35 games he appeared in. In total, he tossed 94.2 innings. However, those were very effective innings, as Laweryson owned a 1.62 ERA, 2.50 FIP, and 0.98 WHIP. Laweryson allowed just 7.3% of his opponents to draw a free pass. Batters had an extremely hard time even making contact, with a 30.2% strikeout rate and a .198 batting average.

Even better was his ability to limit home runs. In nearly 100 innings, Laweryson surrendered just two home runs. He wasn’t much of a ground ball pitcher, though, with a ground ball rate of just 38.5%. He had a 2% HR/FB ratio, which is a bit worrying. However, a 3.90 xFIP still isn’t terrible, and he makes up for it with decent command and strikeout rates.

He only sits in the 88-91 MPH range despite the overpowering numbers. His change-up is arguably his best pitch, given its extremely low spin rate. He primarily relies on deception and off-speed/breaking stuff to get outs. But he makes it work very well. It’s not as if 2022 was a breakout campaign for the right-hander. Laweryson also had a decent 2021 campaign and a great showing in 2019.

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