Three bold predictions for Pirate prospects who could join top 100 lists in 2024

Which top Pirates prospects will be on top 100 lists at the end of this year?

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Michael Kennedy

After the Pirates took Brannigan in the third round, they then went on to take left-handed pitcher Michael Kennedy in the fourth round of the 2022 draft. Kennedy was a high school left-hander who signed for over slot value of $1 million. Kennedy was considered one of the best high school lefties in his draft class and made his debut last season. He pitched for both the Pirates’ FCL affiliate and Bradenton and was very effective in the small sample size.

In 46.2 innings, Kennedy pitched to the tune of a 2.12 ERA, 3.51 FIP, and 1.11 WHIP. Batters had a hard time making any sort of contact against him. The southpaw held opponents to a .169 batting average while striking out nearly a third of the time with a 33% strikeout rate. He also only allowed a single home run. Kennedy’s walk rate was all over the place. He walked 13 batters in his first 18.1 innings, then only seven in his next 25.1 innings. In his last game of the year, he would issue five more walks in 2.2 frames.

Kennedy is not a hard thrower and was only averaging out around 90-91 MPH and topping out at 93 with his sinker in his two games with Bradenton. Although Kennedy does not throw hard now, he was a recent high school pick. Anthony Solometo went from sitting 88-90 MPH when he was drafted to 91-94 MPH today. He also throws a change-up and slider. Kennedy’s arm slot is also similar to Solometo, but he has different overall mechanics. He brings the ball behind him with his arm facing the ground before going into his arm slot.

Kennedy might seem like less of an obvious pick to make top 100 lists next year over Jun-Seok Shim, or possibly even Zander Mueth. But Kennedy is only entering his age-19 season and will probably spend the entire year at a full-season level. It’s possible that if he keeps pitching well, he could end up at Greensboro before the end of the year. His stuff plays up because of his velocity, and even though he was inconsistent with walks last year, definitely has a feel for good command.

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