When the Pittsburgh Pirates took right-handed pitcher Gage Hinsz in the 11th round, there were no guarantees they would sign him. The 18-year-old was almost taken in the second round according to Hinsz himself, but he passed on a pre-draft offer. The Pirates ended up taking him nine rounds later and agreed to an over-slot bonus of $580,000, the maximum they could pay him without incurring heavy penalties for going over their draft bonus pool.

Baseball America released their draft grades today and named Hinsz the top late-round draft pick, which is anyone taken and signed after the tenth round. Hinsz is big and raw, but he already hits 93 MPH with his fastball and does it with a clean, easy delivery. He already has strong command of his fastball and he came from a high school that didn’t have a team. He is a highly projectable pitcher, with tons of upside and there is a chance that he ends up as the best pick the Pirates made this year. With his limited experience, room to grow and the abilities he already possesses, Hinsz could easily live up to Baseball America’s choice as the top late-round pick.

We have a recap of his first start as a pro, which includes video of every single pitch he made that day. You can view that here. He ended up making three appearances in the GCL this season, throwing a total of eight innings.

No other Pirates were on the various lists and Pittsburgh wasn’t ranked among the top five teams in the draft.

9 COMMENTS

  1. The 2nd round pre-offer must have been low ball to pay him under-slot money in the 2nd round by whoever offered it. This new system has changed the way players get drafted. The best players don’t get taken first. Even though Hinz might work out, I’d rather see them pick the best player in the early rounds than have them save money so they can say they got the best player after round 10.

  2. Given his current size, arm strength, and delivery I think it’s pretty unlikely to expect much projection as far as velocity goes. Rare for guys with such a high starting point in those areas to project even higher.

    But that starting point also means the organization can begin turning him into an actual pitcher even faster. I’ll take that any day. Love this kid’s story.

    John, he was obviously somewhat of a known commodity to receive pre-draft offers in the second round range, but do you know if he was big on the showcase circuit? Seems like a big hat tip to the scouting department for finding a kid in Montana that didn’t even play high school ball.

    • Definitely can’t be much projection with velocity, he already hits 93 MPH. The projection would be maintaining velocity later in starts while added a few MPH possibly. He has such an easy delivery and plenty of room to fill out, so you could have a workhorse pitcher that goes deep with 93-95 MPH velocity. He was first mentioned in the Arizona Fall Classic last year around this time as a pitcher that worked 89-91 MPH with that easy motion, but he gained some attention because his baseball season is basically the American Legion league and runs from May until early September, so there isn’t much time to get baseball in. That is what intrigued scouts at the Arizona Classic

  3. Just to comment on the lists. The only Pirates player that may have got snubbed is Eric Thomas Jr, who multiple scouts ranked as an 80 runner. If he is truly an 80 runner, then it is hard to believe there are five faster players. I’ve only seen a few videos of his batting in the GCL, so I can’t say for certain he should be there. I know he isn’t as fast as DSL Pirates Victor Fernandez, who was visibly faster than average in the two videos I saw. I would rank Fernandez as an 80 runner no doubt. As far as draft picks though, I don’t see any other Pirates besides Hinsz and Thomas that deserved consideration.

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