The Pirates Prospects 2015 Prospect Guide is now on sale. The book features prospect reports on everyone in the system, the 2015 top 50 prospects, 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 20 prospects over the next few weeks. Be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site.
To recap the countdown so far:
We continue the countdown with the number 16 prospect, Gage Hinsz.
16. Gage Hinsz, RHP
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.