Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Michael Kennedy off to a solid start in 2024

Detroit Tigers v Pittsburgh Pirates
Detroit Tigers v Pittsburgh Pirates / Douglas P. DeFelice/GettyImages

Michael Kennedy, a promising talent within the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, is impressing in his debut full season of professional baseball at just 19 years old. As a left-handed pitcher, he has garnered attention for his solid performances on the mound after being a fourth-round pick in 2022. While he may have been just a fourth-round pick, he was given a large bonus of $1,000,000 which was nearly double the slotted bonus amount. Kennedy was committed to play at LSU.

Drafted by the Pirates in 2022, Kennedy has advanced through the rookie-level minor leagues, earning a spot with the Low-A Bradenton Marauders. In his first full season, Kennedy has demonstrated his ability to effectively control games, recording notable strikeout numbers and maintaining impressive earned run averages. The young lefty definitely has an upward arrow.

In the 2024 Minor League Baseball (MiLB) season, Michael Kennedy has demonstrated his potential with a mixed record. He holds a 0-1 record with a 3.71 earned run average (ERA) in four starts, pitching a total of 17.0 innings. Notably, he has recorded an impressive 22 strikeouts, showcasing his ability to overpower hitters on the mound. Now, his fastball only receives a 45 grade by FanGraphs, but it plays up.

He like others in the Organization has done a great job of producing swings and misses. Although speaking of his report on FanGraphs, maybe it needs updated some. They currently have his "Control" ranked as a 25/55, meanwhile, he has only issued 3 walks all season which is good for less than 2 per 9 innings pitched. Also, his xFIP is at 2.38, this is a pitching metric that shows what his ERA would be independent of his defense.

The Pirates did have Kennedy pitch in the Florida Complex League in 2023 and did reach Low-A for a couple of games.

Looking at his overall MiLB career, Kennedy boasts a 2-2 record with a stellar 2.54 ERA across 17 appearances. Over the course of his career, spanning 63.2 innings, he has maintained a consistent 1.12 WHIP. As he prepares for his next game against FTM on April 30th, Kennedy aims to build on his strengths and contribute positively to his team's success.

As Kennedy's career progresses, there is anticipation for the impact he will make at higher levels of the game. The Pirates have done a decent job of identifying pitchers in recent Drafts, as evidenced by Jared Jones, Carmen Mlodzinski, and rising prospect Bubba Chandler. If Kennedy's talent and development are an indicator thus far, he is poised to become a significant contributor to the Pirates organization in the future.