The Pirates drafted Mike Walsh in the 9th round of the 2022 draft. He was an Ivy League pick out of Yale. Walsh didn’t pitch all that well in college, but he looked good in the Cape Cod League. 2023 was supposed to be his first full season, and he got off to a good start, but an injury in early May caused him to miss the rest of the season.
Walsh pitched 9.1 innings before his injury, serving as Low-A Bradenton’s closer as he saved four games. Walsh only allowed two earned runs with 11 strikeouts. He also only walked three batters (one intentional) and didn’t allow a single home run. Walsh’s ground ball rate was over 60% in the small sample size.
Walsh doesn’t rely on big velocity to overpower hitters. Instead, he is a spin-rate darling. All of his offerings, including his fastball, sinker, slider, and cutter, averaged out above 2500 RPM. Of his four pitches, his cutter hits the most RPM, around 2700-2800. Walsh struggled with command throughout college but looked decent in his brief time spent at Bradenton.
Walsh is entering his age-23 season next year. The relief prospect should open the year at Greensboro, but if he pitches anything like he did at Bradenton, he will quickly get moved to Altoona. It will be interesting to see how Walsh handles an entire season above Low-A, given he showed off some talent last year.