When the Pittsburgh Pirates traded Jack Wilson and Ian Snell to the Seattle Mariners in 2009, they paid the remainder of Wilson and Snell’s 2009 salaries in order to get a better return. The return came in two parts. There was the part that was close to the majors, with Jeff Clement and Ronny Cedeno. This part obviously got more attention, as Clement and Cedeno were almost immediately thrown in to the major league mix. The real value of the trade came with the three pitchers the Pirates got from the lower levels: Brett Lorin, Nathan Adcock, and Aaron Pribanic.
At the time of the trade, Lorin looked like the best of the trio of pitches. He had a huge 6′ 7, 245 frame, and used it, with an 88-92 MPH fastball that topped out at 94. He also had some impressive numbers, with a 2.44 ERA in 88.2 innings in low-A prior to the trade, and a 1.57 ERA in 34.1 innings in low-A with the Pirates after the trade. The stage looked set for Lorin to move up to high-A to start the 2010 season. However, a pre-season injury cost him the first half of the year, and he remained with West Virginia for the duration of the second half in 2010, throwing mostly fastballs.
Lorin made the jump to high-A in 2011, and looks to be back on track. After last night’s start, he has a 2.76 ERA in 65.1 innings, with a 65:12 K/BB ratio. After the 2009 season it looked like Lorin was ready for the high-A level. At this point, it’s almost a necessity for Lorin to move up to AA. He only has 65.1 innings in high-A, but he’s 24 years old, definitely too old for the level. It’s almost a similar situation to Phillip Irwin, who is 24, and was promoted to Altoona after just 53.1 innings in high-A this year.
Lorin has a good three pitch mix, with a nice, hard three quarters breaking ball, and a changeup that gives him success against left handers (.161 BAA in 2011). He profiles as a back of the rotation starter, or a late inning reliever. However, the clock is ticking on his development. He’s eligible for the Rule 5 draft this December, and the Pirates can’t afford to make the same mistake they made with Nathan Adcock. That mistake wasn’t leaving Adcock unprotected, but leaving him in high-A all year, and not seeing what he could do in the upper levels. After last night’s outing (6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 0 HR), Lorin is looking like he’s ready to move up to the next level.