Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Underrated Player to Watch at Each Level

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Low-A Bradenton - RHP Owen Kellington

The 2021 Pirate draft was one that significantly boosted their farm system. They essentially got three first-round talents in Bubba Chandler, Henry Davis, and Anthony Solmeto. Chandler and Solometo, along with Lonnie White Jr. and Braylon Bishop, were four of their five over-slot signings, but one that gets overlooked is Owen Kellington.

Kellington was selected out of Vermont by the Pirates in the fourth round. Kellington is the first alumni from U-32 High School to get drafted by a Major League Baseball team. There have also been just two MLB players born after 1960 from Vermont to play, ironically, one is Chris Duffy, who was a former Pirate draftee back in 2001.

Kellington absolutely mowed down opposing hitters. While Vermont isn’t a hotbed for baseball talent, you can’t help but still be impressed by his insane strikeout numbers in college. Kellington struck 133 batters in 49 innings. That is a K/9 ratio of 24.4, and 90.5% of outs made were strikeouts. 

Kellington only has ten innings under his belt as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was injured for a good portion of last season, so he didn’t get the extended look he deserves. The right-hander is not a hard-throwing pitcher, as he tops out at just 92 MPH. His high-spin, upper-70s curveball is his best weapon. Kellington’s delivery is slightly unorthodox, and FanGraphs drew comparisons to Ubaldo Jimenez.

2023 will be Kellington’s age-20 season. If he’s healthy, he’ll likely start the year at Bradenton. A healthy season for Kellington could be what he needs to establish himself. The Pittsburgh Pirates signed him to an over-slot deal for a reason, and an extended look from the right-hander is something to keep an eye on.