Two potential Wake Forest pitching prospects who should be on the Pirates’ draft radar

With Wake Forest having some of the best pitching talent in this year's draft class, the Pirates should have some of their pitchers on their radar.
Jun 19, 2023; Omaha, NE, USA;  Wake Forest Demon Deacons pitcher Josh Hartle (23) throws against the
Jun 19, 2023; Omaha, NE, USA; Wake Forest Demon Deacons pitcher Josh Hartle (23) throws against the / Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
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Potential Pirates Target: Michael Massey

Michael Massey (not to be confused with the Kansas City Royals infielder of the same name) is one of the other multiple highly talented pitchers from Wake Forest's pitching factory. Massey transferred from Tulane to Wake Forest after his freshman season and has been a major cog in their pitching staff for two years now.

Massey joined Wake Forest's rotation after mostly pitching out of the bullpen in a long relief role in 2023 and excelling. The right-hander is performing even better than last year with a 1.88 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 2.69 K:BB ratio through 24 innings of work. Walks have given Massey some trouble this year with a 12.9% BB%, but he has counteracted that with a K% of 34.7%, and posted a HR/9 of 0.75.

Massey has an elite fastball/slider combo. He typically sits mid-90s with excellent ride through the strike zone. His slider is another pitch with plus potential. It's a low-80s breaking offering that tunnels his fastball extremely well but with late break. However, how his change-up develops will decide his long-term future in pro baseball, whether that be as a starting pitcher or a reliever.

Massey's motion on the mound is quick and deceptive. He keeps an extremely short arm with a late release point, which makes his fastball, an offering with already good attributes, play up even more. Massey stands at a strongly built 6'5", 230 pounds, giving him the potential for good durability in the long term.

While his third pitch needs some refining, Massey is definitely a potential long-term starting pitcher. At worst, he'll end up in the bullpen long term where his slider and fastball will play up even more. But any team that drafts Massey will give him every chance to start until he proves otherwise. Maybe that team could be the Pittsburgh Pirates.