To cap off the end of the 2009 season, I’m going to be counting down my list of the top 50 prospects in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ system. I’ll be counting down one prospect per day, with an extensive recap on each player, until I reach number one. Check out the previous installments:
15. Brett Lorin, RHP
2009 Season: The 2009 season was Lorin’s first full year as a pro. He started off with the Seattle Mariners before coming over to the Pirates in the Jack Wilson trade, along with Jeff Clement, Ronny Cedeno, Aaron Pribanic, and Nathan Adcock. Lorin spent the entire season in low-A ball, and over the course of the 2009 season his stats look about as good as anyone in the Pirates’ system.
In his time with Seattle before the trade, Lorin had a 2.44 ERA in 88.2 innings pitched, with a 0.97 WHIP, an 8.8 K/9, a 2.5 BB/9, and an 0.9 HR/9 ratio. Lorin might have been a bit lucky in this stretch, with a .229 BABIP, well below the typical number for starting pitchers at .290-.300. Then again, Lorin was consistent with his performance all throughout his time with Seattle, so maybe he was just that much better than the competition at the low-A level.
Lorin remained in low-A after the trade, probably due to a Lynchburg rotation that included Jeff Locke, Bryan Morris, Rudy Owens, Justin Wilson, Ronald Uviedo, and Nathan Adcock. Lorin was able to get 34.1 innings with West Virginia after the trade, while Adcock, who also came over in the trade, and who went right to Lynchburg, saw ten fewer innings due to the crowded rotation in high-A.
Lorin continued his strong play with West Virginia, with a 1.57 ERA in 34.1 innings pitched, a 1.25 WHIP, a 7.6 K/9, a 2.6 BB/9, and a 0.5 HR/9 ratio. Lorin also had a .316 BABIP over this stretch, which is a bit on the unlucky side of things. Overall, Lorin pitched 123 innings and had a 2.20 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP, a 8.5 K/9, a 2.6 BB/9, and a 0.8 HR/9 ratio.
Information: Lorin was drafted by Seattle in the fifth round of the 2008 draft out of Long Beach State. In his time with Long Beach State in 2008, Lorin pitched 48.1 innings, posting a 2.61 ERA, a 5.8 K/9, a 2.6 BB/9, and a 0.7 HR/9 ratio. He signed quickly with Seattle and started his career in short season A-ball.
Lorin started his professional career off strong in the short season league, with a 2.82 ERA in 22.1 innings pitched, and very strong ratios with a 11.7 K/9, a 3.6 BB/9, and a 0.4 HR/9. He moved up to low-A ball for 30 innings, where he posted a 4.80 ERA, a 9.6 K/9, a 4.8 BB/9, and a 0.3 HR/9.
Coming in to the 2009 season, Baseball America rated Lorin the 28th best prospect in Seattle’s farm system, right behind Aaron Pribanic. Lorin’s 2009 numbers looked great, although you could make an argument that Lorin should have ended up in high-A by the end of the season. The Pirates have a no-touch policy, which means they don’t change the player’s mechanics until after this no-touch period, which is about the length of the short season leagues. I don’t know about the status of the Seattle farm system and why Lorin wasn’t in high-A, but my guess is that the Pirates wanted more time to evaluate Lorin after the trade, which is why they kept him in low-A.
The thing I like the most about Lorin is his size, and not so much the numbers we’ve seen. Lorin is a huge pitcher, at 6′ 7″ and 245 pounds. Lorin’s fastball ranges between 88 and 92 MPH, topping out at 94. His best pitch is a hard three quarters breaking ball. Lorin pitches on a steep downward plane, due to his size. He’s got a good feel for a changeup, which has led to strong numbers against left handers, with a .191 BAA in 2009, and a .216 BAA in 2008.
Lorin didn’t pitch much in college, serving as a reliever with Arizona in 2007 and pitching only 9.2 innings, followed by his 48.1 innings at Long Beach State in 2008. That makes his arm fresh for the pros. His size could allow him to add some velocity in the future, to the point where he could consistently pitch in the mid-90s.
2010 Expectations: Lorin spent the entire 2009 season in low-A ball. He should start off the 2010 season in the high-A rotation, and if he puts up similar numbers to what we saw in 2009, he could be in Altoona by the middle of the 2010 season.
Optimistic Projection: Lorin’s size will cause a lot of debate about his future, kind of like the split on the future of Tim Alderson (although Lorin is two levels lower and a year and a half older). I think Lorin can be a top of the rotation starter in the future, although that really depends on whether he can maintain his ratios at higher levels, which could be helped by adding some velocity to his fastball.
Conservative Projection: Lorin reminds me of another former Pirates’ farm hand: Chris Young. Young had the size (6′ 10″, 260 pounds), and at the age of 23 he put up a 3.11 ERA in 144.2 innings in low-A ball, with an 8.5 K/9, a 2.1 BB/9, and a 0.7 HR/9 ratio, similar to what Lorin put up this season at the age of 22. Young also didn’t pitch much in college, and had a low velocity for his size, making him a raw talent like Lorin. A lot of people would view Young as a top of the rotation starter, although he has struggled away from Petco Park, so I’d consider him
a 3-5 starter with any other team, which is my conservative projection for Lorin.
Check back tomorrow for prospect number 14…