Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Three Surprising Seasons Thus Far

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J.P. Massey

Typically a seventh round pick who had an ERA over 6.50 and WHIP above 1.70 in college doesn’t have any expectations. J.P. Massey was that college pitcher who was selected in the 7th round while posting some atrocious numbers in his final season. Massey wasn’t a big-time college arm, as the Pirates picked the University of Minnesota right-hander as an underslot draft pick. But his start to the season has definitely been much better than many expected.

Massey owns a 2.62 ERA, 3.60 FIP, and 1.28 WHIP across 34.1 innings. Massey is striking out his fair share of opponents with a 30.3% strikeout rate, and has allowed just two home runs. Massey is a ground ball machine who has a 56.8% ground ball rate. The only blemish on his otherwise outstanding start is his 10.3% walk rate, which isn’t even that terrible.

But these numbers undersell just how good Massey has been recently. Massey has allowed a single earned run over his last five starts and 26 innings. He’s rocking a walk rate just under 10% at 9.4% while striking out a third of opponents. He hasn’t allowed a home run, and the only two long balls he has surrendered have came in just one outing. Heck, only four of the 10 earned runs he has allowed have come during his starts. The other six earned runs have come in bullpen games.

Massey has decent velocity for a starting pitcher, working in the 91-94 MPH range and topping out at 96. He also throws a sinker, slider, curveball, and changeup. Massey’s velocity was trending upward in his final college season, which was one of the positives for him despite his poor numbers in his final season.

Massey is likely on the verge of getting a promotion to Greensboro, or maybe even Altoona. He’s in his age-23 season, so he’s plenty old enough to skip one level of the minor leagues entirely. The right-hander’s outstanding start makes him an interesting pitcher to watch for the rest of the season.