Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Top Prospects: #9 – Kyle McPherson

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To recap the countdown so far:

20. Jin-De Jhang, C

19. Andrew Oliver, LHP

18. Vic Black, RHP

17. Adrian Sampson, RHP

16. Wyatt Mathisen, C

15. Bryan Morris, RHP

14. Justin Wilson, LHP

13. Tony Sanchez, C

12. Dilson Herrera, 2B

11. Clay Holmes, RHP

10. Nick Kingham, RHP

We continue the countdown with the number 9 prospect, Kyle McPherson.

Kyle McPherson
Kyle McPherson

9. Kyle McPherson, RHP

McPherson looked like a guy who could arrive in the majors by mid-season 2012. Instead, he went down late in Spring Training with a shoulder injury, and didn’t start his season until June. He went back to Double-A and struggled the first few starts, but eventually shook off the rust and found his groove. After a promotion to Triple-A, and three strong starts in Indianapolis, McPherson was called up to the majors. He made a few starts at the end of the year, showing a lot of promise, and putting himself in good position to win a job out of Spring Training in 2013.

The shoulder injury is a concern. McPherson was healthy at the end of the 2012 season, and went to the Dominican Winter League. He made one start, then came home with a sore shoulder. That shouldn’t impact him in 2013, but the fact that he’s had two shoulder issues in one year is a red flag. One positive is that he hasn’t lost any velocity. He still throws 92-93, topping out at 95, along with a plus curveball and a solid changeup. He also has some of the best command and control in the system.

McPherson’s command and three pitch mix give him the upside of a number three starter. He should get a shot at the rotation out of Spring Training, and his limited results in 2012 should give him the inside track for a job. The key will be staying healthy. If healthy, McPherson should play a big role in the rotation in 2013, with the chance for a breakout season in the majors.

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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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I’ve heard that the 2nd injury wasn’t related to Kyle’s shoulder at all. It was bicep tendinitis, so hopefully the shoulder injury and bicep injury are behind him and he comes out gunning in spring training for a spot in the rotation.

Ian Rothermund

Personally, I’d rather see Locke as the swing man/spot starter with McPherson as a starter starting off in AAA. Considering McPherson’s recent should issues, and the fact that they view him as a future starter, I think it would be best for his arm if they didn’t constantly switch his role and expectations. I just see Locke as having more flexibility at this point in time.

La Pirate

Personally I think McPherson’s stuff is much more impressive than Locke. I could see McPherson assuming the Brad Lincoln role in the pen and making spot starts. Hopefully his shoulder will hold up.


Wouldn’t it be great if we could pin point one player or reason why the Pirates faded in 1012, but there is not one reason, there were many.

da bux

At least holding runners wasn’t an issue. Seriously, they fix that bull squat!


I hope Kyle stays on the team. He could switch between long reliever and spot starter like Brad Lincoln did last year.

Notice our team was winning a lot before Lincoln was traded.

Lee Young

and before we acquired Wandy and after we traded Casey Mc and…..

NorCal Buc

and notice how well Lincoln, Gorkys and McGehee did AFTER we traded them.

Oh well, the BIG move of the 2012 mid-season was the acquisition of Wandy, the only significant talent of this whole bunch.

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