Rounds 16-20: Pirates Go Heavy on Pitching

The Pittsburgh Pirates went heavy on right handed pitchers in rounds 16-20, taking a pitcher in four of their five picks. Below are the reports on each player. For more information, click their names to go to their player pages.

16th Round, 496th Overall: Max Moroff, SS, Prep

Moroff is a switch hitting shortstop from Trinity Prep in Orlando, Florida. He’s 6′ 0″, 175 pounds, and a switch hitting shortstop. Moroff has a high effort swing, and swings hard. He’s got better bat speed from the right side, and drives the ball hard, with a big load to his swing. His high effort swing might need some cleaning up in the future, as he attacks the ball, which could be exposed once he sees tougher breaking balls. He has gap power and is a fast runner. He also has the arm strength to stick at shortstop. Moroff has a commitment to Central Florida.

17th Round, 526th Overall: Hayden Hurst, RHP, Prep

Hurst is a big power arm from Jacksonville, Florida. He’s 6′ 5″, 225 pounds and throws 88-92 MPH, touching 95 at times. He’s had Tommy John surgery before, making him the second player the Pirates have drafted this year who has had the procedure, with the other one being fifth round pick Adrian Sampson. Hurst also throws a slurvy breaking ball, although the pitch isn’t much at this point. Hurst was also a first baseman, hitting for a .327/.393/.582 line in 55 at-bats this year. He had a big outing on the mound in early February against Bishop high school, striking out 13 in five shutout innings, allowing one hit and no walks. He has a commitment to Florida State.

18th Round, 556th Overall, John Kuchno, RHP, Ohio State

Kuchno is a red shirt sophomore from Ohio State, joining the team after starting his career as a walk on at Wake Forest. Prior to that he only played one year of high school baseball. He throws anywhere from 87-95 MPH, touching the upper end of that range in relief. He also has a power curveball, and both pitches have the potential to be plus offerings. Kuchno had a 4.38 ERA in 74 innings this past year, with a 59:30 K/BB ratio. He profiles more as a reliever, needing to control his breaking ball and keep his fastball velocity in the mid-90s for success.

19th Round, 586th Overall, Michael Peterson, RHP, Prep

Peterson is a tall, lean pitcher who is very athletic and projectable. He currently throws his fastball in the 89-90 MPH range, and has a lot of separation on his changeup, throwing it in the low 70s. He uses the changeup as a swing and miss pitch. He was used as a reliever in 2012, but put up pretty good numbers. No word on his college commitment. With his size, and the fastball/changeup combo, plus his limited numbers, he looks like an interesting project.

20th Round, 616th Overall, Kyle Haynes, RHP, VCU

Haynes was the best starter at VCU heading in to the 2012 season. He ended up posting a 4.45 ERA in 93 innings, with a 73:30 K/BB ratio. Haynes throws his fastball in the 90-92 MPh range with late life. He has a loose arm, and a good frame at 6′ 2″, 185. He also has a sharp slider and a plus changeup, with the latter being his best pitch.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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