The Pirates might not take much risk with Dorsey or Mathews, but Ethan Flanagan might present a little more risk. The UCLA left-hander did pretty well last year, but started to show signs of weakness in the later-half of the season. But he’s a prospect where if things work out, he could end up being a decent pitcher in the future.
Flanagan pitched 60.1 innings in a swing-man role, starting seven of the 25 games he pitched in. Flanagan had a solid 3.28 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. Flanagan had a so-so 10.6% walk rate and 0.90 HR/9 rate, but he did manage to whiff his fair share of batters. At the end of the year, Flanagan had a 28.8% strikeout rate. He’ll likely get a look at a starting pitcher this year for the Bruins.
Flanagan isn’t a flamethrower, only averaging out in the low-90s, but has topped out at 94 MPH. He throws his mid-80s slider more often than his four-seamer. His third offering is a big, looping curveball that comes in around the low-70s. He can take a lot off from it compared to his fastball and slider. He also throws a change-up with average potential.
Flanagan has a high-effort delivery, which could point to a future in the bullpen. However, he’s still a young arm; a slight tweak here or there could absolve his wind-up and command issues. He has a slightly high three-quarters arm slot and could end up as a decent LHP starter.