The Pirates Prospects 2016 Prospect Guide is now on sale. The book features prospect reports on everyone in the system, the 2016 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find. Subscribers to the site get free and discounted books, with Top Prospect subscribers getting the 2016 book for free, and Annual subscribers getting $10 off. Both levels of subscribers can also get the book for just $5. Details on all three promotions can be found on the products page, and you can subscribe to the site or upgrade your current plan on the subscriptions page.

While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, we will be releasing the top 20 prospects over the next few weeks. The reports will only be available to site subscribers, including those with a monthly plan. You can subscribe here, and if you like these reports, be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site to get much more analysis on every player in the system.

To recap the countdown so far:

20. Willy Garcia, RF

We continue the countdown with the number 19 prospect, Clay Holmes.

19. Clay Holmes, RHP

Holmes went down with Tommy John surgery before the 2014 season, causing him to miss the entire year. He was delayed in his return in 2015, in part due to the conservative approach that the Pirates have been taking with Tommy John recoveries, but also in part due to some setbacks that he had when returning during his rehab. He started his rehab work a few weeks before Jameson Taillon, but after a few months, Taillon had moved ahead of him as a result of having to shut down for a few brief times. Unlike Taillon, Holmes was able to make it back on the mound, with the Pirates limiting his innings.

He looked good in Bradenton, putting up strong numbers, and most importantly limiting the walks. At the end of the 2013 season, Holmes had shown a lot of improvements with his walk rate, and the hope was that this would carry over when he eventually returned. The rehab process allowed him to clean up his mechanics, and his walk rate was strong.

Holmes featured a fastball that was 90-93 MPH, touching 94-95 before the injury. He was consistently 92-95 MPH in his return, sitting in the 92-93 range. He also features a sharp curveball in the upper 80s which can get some outs, and has been working on his changeup during the rehab process. Holmes has the frame to not only continue adding velocity, but to pitch 200 innings a year.

The Pirates left Holmes unprotected in the Rule 5 draft, and he went without being taken, which might have been due to the long layoff and lack of experience above Low-A. He could move to Altoona in 2016, despite the lack of experience, just due to the quality of his stuff and his results in his limited time in 2015. He still has the upside of a mid-rotation starter, and could work his way back in the future rotation mix if he has a nice rebound season this year.

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26 COMMENTS

  1. I have been busy and haven’t had time to read much of the P2PH. I just got through the top 50 and realized I am only 40% through it. This is awesome!

  2. If I was a GM somewhere terrible I would have tried to grab him and stash him all year. He has the prototype body. Looks like he could throw 92-94 all day long. He and Brubaker are my breakout guys this year although I can’t wait to see if DuRapau can keep doing what he’s doing…or some semblance of it.

    • If I was them I would get Jim Tressel in the FO in some capacity: Consultant, president, coach…something. I think he is making nice bank at YSU though and he probably doesn’t want the hassle of the Browns destroying his legacy of success. Poor Browns. Plus there are so many other teams that need a coach that the Browns will probably get passed up by a lot of the best guys out there. I just hope the Titans pick Joey Bosa so I don’t have to watch him play 30 games aganst the Steelers the next 15 years. They didn’t get the first pick. They can’t even do that right.

  3. If a player is being promoted at his own “results” pace (and he isn’t injured along the way), then age gives a strong indication of talent. However, if a player loses two years to injury or armed service, it no longer gives an indication of talent.

    The age question is interesting in today’s free agent market. In the pre-free agent years, you wanted a player in the majors as early as possible so you had more years out of the athlete (and your investment). However, since players are unlikely to stick with the Pirates through their whole career, we only care about the 6.5 years that we will have them. In this environment, you want their peak playing years which would include physical and mental peaks. Nowadays, I wouldn’t want Bryce Harper at age 20 through 26, I would prefer him probably age 23-29 – a little wiser but pre-broken down body based on how he plays.

    A little side-tracked there but Holmes just needs to get healthy, he is not going to be bypassed because he is 24 in AAA ball next year.

  4. BuccosFan StuckinMD: I have been requested to collect on case of a formerly described case of beer from you to be delivered to Tim Williams. I put my best man on the collection efforts Jarod. Unfortunately on his way to Wheeling to get his instructions the chain broke on his bicycle. I then turned to NMR who usually handles the more extreme problems when collecting but he was on another assignment. So he recommended Artie Dayne. Art has been instructed to collect the recently described case of craft brew and deliver it to leefoo. Leefoo will deliver it to Tim Williams in Florida. Since Artie only drinks PBR we are assured that the package will be delivered. Please note that Artie went to the Seal Training School at Sea World.

    • Pretty funny stuff Bill W – and cleverly worded….good for you. I appreciate a good sense of humor, especially when its dreary and in the 20s outside!
      Please take no offense, but i wouldn’t trust any of you guys to safely and securely deliver a case of unconsumed bottles of beer to Tim, or anyone else for that matter! 🙂

  5. It might not be a bad idea to include the player’s age in the report. Holmes will be 23 to start the 2016 season. He’s still young, but he has to make the most of the next two years or get left behind.

    • If a player is being promoted at his own “results” pace (and he isn’t injured along the way), then age gives a strong indication of talent. However, if a player loses two years to injury or armed service, it no longer gives an indication of talent.

      The age question is interesting in today’s free agent market. In the pre-free agent years, you wanted a player in the majors as early as possible so you had more years out of the athlete (and your investment). However, since players are unlikely to stick with the Pirates through their whole career, we only care about the 6.5 years that we will have them. In this environment, you want their peak playing years which would include physical and mental peaks. Nowadays, I wouldn’t want Bryce Harper at age 20 through 26, I would prefer him probably age 23-29 – a little wiser but pre-broken down body based on how he plays.

      A little side-tracked there but Holmes just needs to get healthy, he is not going to be bypassed because he is 24 in AAA ball next year.

    • His age is not a factor right now, and I am anxiously awaiting his return to a regular schedule of pitching. Very rarely does a pitcher undergo TJ and come out the other end with much, much better control numbers, as he has done. Yes, a SSS, but Command and Control are almost always the last things that return to a TJ rehabbing pitcher. He has the velocity, and the pitches the Pirates love to feature – he could be a big part of the future of the Pirates if he can maintain the control numbers he has posted since completing his rehab.

  6. Obviously, 2016 will be a BIG year for Holmes, Taillon, and Kingham – to see if they can return to being top starting pitching prospects again.

    • Pretty much every month a Pirates Player or big name prospect (or 2 or 3) will either be getting promoted or coming back from major injury so there will be so many side stories this year. What will the Pirates do if one of Taillon or Glasnow start out just dominating their competition? What importance is super two when you know you have a kid that you might be able to win 60% or more of his starts?

      • Super 2 is always important when talking about a guy that can be a top of rotation starter. It’s just how it’s got to be for small market teams until new cba changes things.

          • Super 2 is different than service time for the extra year of control. CHC held Bryant down so they’d get an extra year of control thanks to 2 weeks down in the minors. Super 2 requires a few months of staying down to avoid the player getting into arb quicker.

      • “What importance is Super 2”

        Always, and i mean always, stop any thought/sentence right there and just go “oh yeah, really important.” If the new CBA doesnt take care of that problem, any prospect with “holy shit ace/superstar” upside will be arriving in PGH in June at earliest.

        • Well, yes…everyone knows that but it doesn’t make the practice of fielding a lesser team than you could be right. I don’t advocate rushing guys of course but having to spend an extra 10-20 mil on a guy over 3 years instead of winning games is a pretty bad practice for the most elite of prospects.

          • If i read it right, i just disagree on your last point. Giving him another arb year is at least 10 million and could be (for elite prospects) more like 15 in 1 year. Thats a substantial financial situation with the hope that he is better than an average rookie from day 1.

            Risk/reward might be close for some, but our current crop has plenty of reasons to not show up before Super 2 that are not money related. Kingham isnt healthy, Taillon needs reps against high level talent, Glasnow needs to refine his control. As we stand, we have both money and talent reasons to think throwing away money wouldnt result in more wins.

            • I’m just saying in certain situations trying to win is good. LOL. If Glasnow came up and gave you 2 WAR in 10-11 starts there’s your 10 mil right there. It’s a best case scenario but it’s something to consider if you had a pitcher or hitter who is just dominating AAA. I understand the Pirates aren’t the Cubs with Kris Bryant up mid-April. But in the right situation doing something like that is the right choice…unless you just don’t care about winning as much as you say you do. I am a guy that supports being smart with your money but there has to be a time when you take the risk and go for the wins…how much money did not getting a few more wins and not winning the division cost them last year?

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