Here’s our third 2021 draft class prospect, and he’s not our last. He’s also the third pitcher from the 2021 class that we’ll be examining here. However, unlike Solometo and Chandler, this will be Owen Kellington’s first extended look against professional opponents. Chandler made his pro debut last season but was injured and only pitched ten innings at the Pirate FCL affiliate.
Kellington, who just turned 20 in February, was the Pirates’ 4th-round selection. He hails from an uncommon place of baseball talent, that being the state of Vermont. Kellington had some other-worldly numbers at U-32, striking out 133 batters in just 49 innings. That’s a K/9 rate of 24.4. He also only had a 0.22 ERA. Now you should always take high school numbers with a grain of salt, especially in Vermont. But there isn’t a single person who wouldn’t be impressed if you struck out over 90% of the outs made against you.
Kellington throws even slower than Solometo. The right-hander topped out at 92.1 MPH in his first game of the season. He pairs that with a well-above-average curveball. He does throw with a little deception, with FanGraphs comparing his motion to Ubaldo Jimenez. However, in his second game, he racked up nine swings and misses, which was the highest total of the day for either team. In six innings, Kellington has only allowed two earned runs, but has yet to allow a home run, and currently sits with an 8:2 K:BB ratio.
The Pirates wouldn’t have drafted Kellington and signed him to an over-slot deal if they didn’t think it was worth it. That doesn’t mean I think he’s going to skyrocket up prospect boards and become a consensus top 100 guy, but he definitely could get a top 30 spotlight in the Pirates’ system if he shows off some decent stuff.