Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Three Players Who Could Earn Promotions Soon
By Noah Wright
J.P. Massey might not be a major surprise if you read my recent article on the right-hander. A seventh-round pick out of the University of Minnesota, Massey wasn't any sort of high-profile college arm. Massey worked to a 6.52 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, and 1.62 K:BB ratio in his last year at Minnesota. Although he had a respectable 21.8% strikeout rate and 0.80 HR/9, he also gave up a free pass to 13.5% of opponents.
Massey has worked both as a starting pitcher and reliever, but his best work easily has to be as a starter. Over his last three starts, Massey has pitched 15 innings (five innings in each game), striking out 41.1% of the batters he's squared off against, a WHIP of just 0.80, and K:BB ratio of 3.29. Massey's 12.5% walk rate isn't great, but it's about the only thing you can knock him for. Massey's 53.8% ground ball rate on the season is another strong point to mention.
Massey's fastball velocity has increased in each of his last three starts. During his most recent game on May 13th, Massey threw the fastest pitch of the game, topping out at 96.2 MPH. Although he topped out there, he mostly worked around 90-94 MPH. Along with his four-seamer, Massey works with a sinker, slider, and curveball.
Massey was considered a projectable arm out of college with some potential because of his increasing velocity. At 23 and on a hot streak, it's only a matter of time until Massey outgrows Bradenton and Low-A competition, if he hasn't already, and gets the bump to Greensboro. With his age, the Pirates might want to consider outright giving him his next assignment at Altoona.