Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: J.P. Massey's Recent Run of Strong Outings
By Noah Wright
Pittsburgh Pirates 2022 seventh-round draft pick J.P. Massey has had a recent run of strong outings that deserves more attention
The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted many college pitchers in the 2022 draft. Thomas Harrington was easily the best among them. He was the team’s first-round competitive balance pick. But one mid-round selection has recently strung together three very good starts. That’s seventh-round pick, J.P. Massey.
Massey’s first great outing of the season was on April 23rd. In 5 innings, Massey didn’t allow a single earned run while striking out seven batters. All told, he allowed just three base runners. Two reached base via hits, and the third was a walk. He only faced two more batters than the minimum. He was sitting between 90 and 94 with his four-seamer and sinker, topping out at 94.8 MPH.
His second good start was on May 6th. Massey was used out of the bullpen in between this outing and the previous one and struggled but rebounded astoundingly well. Massey once again pitched 5 innings without allowing an earned run. He struck out seven more batters and allowed a single hit. Although he did allow four free passes. Massey once again was topping out around 94 MPH. However, this time around, only two of his four-seamers dipped below 92 MPH. Even then, they were still clocked in at 91.9 MPH.
Massey’s third consecutive strong start was his most recent outing that one coming on Saturday, May 13th. For a third straight outing, Massey pitched 5 innings without allowing an earned run but struck out nine batters. He allowed five base runners again, with two hits, walks, and an HBP.
Massey was throwing some heat during this game. His 96.2 MPH four-seamer was the fastest pitch thrown all game and the fastest he’s thrown in these three starts. He was averaging out close to 92-94 MPH, which is a slight uptick from the first game in this hot streak.
The only times Massey has really struggled this year was when Bradenton used him out of the bullpen. Even in his worst start, he still struck out six batters in 3.2 innings. He’s gone 15 scoreless innings across three straight starts with a 3:29 BB:K ratio and 0.87 WHIP. None of the hits he has allowed have been home runs either. He’s seen a slight uptick in velocity in each and every start as well.
Massey was mostly about projection when the Pirates drafted him. He’s 6’5”, 205 pounds. He’s a loose arm, and his recent velocity uptick isn’t a first-time thing. He also saw an increase in velo last college season. That doesn’t mean that Massey will continue to climb the velocity ladder and throw 100 MPH by the end of next season, but he could start to maintain a mid-90s fastball in the future.
Massey is definitely pushing for a promotion. He is an older pitching prospect, especially for Bradenton, as he turned 23 on April 1st. Given his age, he could skip Greensboro altogether and go straight to Altoona. Either way, Massey’s recent hot streak is promising, not only because he's been dominant, but also because he has seen his velocity steadily go up, and hopefully, he can continue to pitch well.