Pittsburgh Pirates 2015 Top Prospects: #16 – Gage Hinsz

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To recap the countdown so far:

20. Luis Heredia, RHP
19. JaCoby Jones, SS
18. Willy Garcia, OF
17. Clay Holmes, RHP

We continue the countdown with the number 16 prospect, Gage Hinsz.

16. Gage Hinsz, RHP

Gage Hinsz was one of the best ranked players selected after the 10th round of the 2014 draft. Photo Credit: Mike Farnham
Gage Hinsz was one of the best ranked players selected after the 10th round of the 2014 draft. Photo Credit: Mike Farnham

The Pirates considered Hinsz with one of their second round picks, but ultimately felt he was too hard to sign. That is a reflection on the draft bonus pool rules that went in place under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2012. Prior to the new rules, the Pirates would have just taken Hinsz and signed him. Taking him in the second round under the new system poses a risk, since you could potentially lose all of the available bonus money if he decides not to sign.

The solution was taking him in the 11th round, which was the first round the Pirates could take him without putting any of their bonus money at risk. They ended up signing Hinsz last, and gave him all of the remaining money they had to spend before losing a draft pick in a future draft. The bonus meant that the Pirates had to pay a tax of $261,525 for exceeding their bonus pool by less than 5%.

Hinsz was one of the best picks in the entire draft after the top ten rounds, and for the Pirates, he was one of the top five picks out of their selections. He’s your typical projectable prep pitcher, with a big frame, a fastball that sits 90-93 MPH, and room to add more velocity. He throws on a downward plane from a three-quarters arm slot.

An interesting thing about Hinsz is that he came from a high school that didn’t have a baseball program. That could be a benefit, as it limited his usage before pro ball, in a time where the game is seeing an epidemic in Tommy John surgeries due to overuse at a young age. It also means that Hinsz is very inexperienced, needing improvements on his secondary stuff, along with better fastball command.

Hinsz signed late, which meant he didn’t get much action in the GCL. He did pitch during the fall instructional league, but the lack of overall innings could lead to a conservative approach next year. The Pirates have been holding their prep pitchers back from aggressive promotions in the last two years, and it’s possible that Hinsz could end up back in the GCL, or in Bristol, rather than jumping to Morgantown.

It’s hard to predict an upside here, since Hinsz is so raw and inexperienced. He’s mostly graded high due to the fact that he’s got the makings of a great fastball, along with a good frame. Add in the fact that he is showing potential with very little experience and he becomes almost a blank slate for the Pirates to work with.

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  • From the picture above he looks like he is going to be a horse in the Nolan Ryan, Schilling, Josh Beckett, Cole mold…at least if only in in that body type.

  • Another Pirates cookie cutter pitching prospect. Glad I don’t have to rank some of these guys.

    • We do put a lot into the ranking but it is fun to compare the lists we put together, get a composite list, then discuss which guys seem too high/low and eventually decide on this list. While I talk to plenty of scouts and others around the team that see the players often, I don’t talk to everyone, so the discussion part of it at the end is usually the most fun/interest part.

  • It still makes me giddy, the amount of talent and the depth of the pirates organization. I remember well the days of who’s the best bad prospect the pirates have that they can call up to play poorly or they can trade for a player who is even worse. Much nicer this way and a lot less stressful.

  • It might get lost here in the comments, but you can see every pitch of his second pro start right here.

    • Has to be a tough kind of prospect to rank.

      • You can never get it right because we can’t account for desire, future growth, injury, etc, but we try to get as close as possible using all the info we know/hear/see and comparing the players to what we’ve seen in the past. Getting a video of him in his first start isn’t much to go on, but it’s a lot better than what was out there before this start.

  • Lee Foo Young
    January 9, 2015 11:49 am

    High upside with high risk. Sure beats the Littlefield era “low upside, low risk” types of picks.

    • You have something against drafting College Seniors? Or drafting hitters in the top 5 and making them pitchers?

    • An eleventh round pick is not high risk.

      • Prospect risk refers to the chances of reaching their potential rather than the position they were drafted.

      • His future is. Good FB, solid frame and motion but with totally raw secondary pitches and experience. Paid him solid money but did so knowing its high risk high reward. Consider also that they likely took Connor Joe in part because they thought he would save them money to spend on exactly a Hinsz type.

        • Kid has some legit arm strength. Very raw delivery, at least in the video John posted, generating little momentum or torque. No question he’ll be able to add at least a few mph as he progresses.

      • The money he got makes the risk higher. Although if he doesn’t pan out it doesn’t hurt the Pirates as far as wasting the top part of the draft on a guy. Anytime a GM can get a guy with as much potential as Hinsz that late in this current system he is very happy I’m sure.

  • Also what secondary stuff does Hinsz have now?

  • What draft pick did they lose?

    • They didn’t. They just paid all the remaining money they could before losing a draft pick. I think if they paid a dollar more then you lose a draft pick I believe.

    • They didn’t–they didn’t cross that tax threshold. And, yes, a system that penalizes the Pirates for spending, say 300K , more punitively than it punishes the Dodgers or Red Sox for spending leventy-leven million dollars is foolish.