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.