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Monday, November 28, 2022

Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Top Prospects: #9 – Kyle McPherson

The Pirates Prospects 2012 Prospect Guide will be released later this week, featuring over 250 prospect reports, the 2012 top 50 prospects, a feature on the top four pitching prospects in the system, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find.  While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, we will be releasing the top ten prospects over the next week.  Be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site.

To recap the countdown so far:

10. Nick Kingham

We continue the countdown with the number nine prospect, Kyle McPherson.

Kyle McPherson was the Pirates Prospects 2011 Pitcher of the Year.

9. Kyle McPherson, RHP

McPherson’s 2011 season was all about showing he could have success in the upper levels of the minors. He had great numbers in West Virginia in 2010, but they came in his second run through the level, and at the age of 22. He was promoted to Bradenton at the end of the year, but only saw four innings at the level.

McPherson returned to Bradenton in 2011, and got off to a great start. He had an amazing 0.8 BB/9 ratio in 71.2 innings, leading to a WHIP below 1.00. He was moved up to Altoona mid-season, and didn’t miss a beat. His walks returned to a realistic level, but were still low. His other numbers were very similar to his performance in high-A, with an increase in his strikeouts.

He sits in the 92-93 MPH range with his fastball, and tops out at 95. He has a plus curveball and a solid changeup, giving him a great three pitch mix. All of this is offered up with excellent control, leading to less than two walks per nine innings in his career. A conservative projection puts McPherson as a number three starter who can throw 200 innings a year. He could become a number two starter if he doesn’t see a drop off in AAA during the 2012 season.

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Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.


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Really nice season for Kyle. It’s a little unfortunate for both Kingham and McPherson not to be rated higher, but a testament to what’s available, as noted by Lee Young.

If he starts at AAA in ’12 does he project to be first in the ‘wave’ of pitching prospects to hit the MLB rotation full time?

Shohei Matsuda

Thanks for these great reports!

1 Question: When you say number 3 starter … does that mean number 3 starter for the Pirates, or number 3 starter for any ML team?  Or to clarify it further … would that mean number 3 starter compared to what the Pirates have now, or some future scenario?


Nothing to do with Kyle…
…Where would Alex Dickerson rank?  Does he have any chance of being legit?  What kind of time table would it be for him?


How does he compare to Rudy Owens going into 2011?

Ian Rothermund

I’d say they aren’t very close.  Owens has acceptable stuff for a lefty, while McPherson has good stuff for a pitcher.  Better fastball, better control, better curve.  I agree with Lee Young as well, it’s really nice to see a guy like this stuck at #9 .

Lee Young

Your first two prospects make me excited and we haven’t even gotten to the big guns yet. I remember the days when guys like Kingham and McPh were in our top 5.

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