Brandon Waddell is the Pirates Prospects Pitcher of the Month for April

We’ve written about Brandon Waddell a lot this weekend. He had a great start on Friday for Bradenton, and I wrote what was working so well for him this year on Sunday. Hours after that article, Waddell was promoted to Altoona, which is an aggressive move for the Pirates. In fact, without looking it up, I can safely assume that Waddell reached Double-A faster than any college player drafted by the Pirates under Neal Huntington. The numbers and results that led to his promotion also have him as our Pitcher of the Month for April.

Waddell had five starts in Bradenton, and made it look easy, posting an 0.93 ERA in 29 innings of work, along with a 26:2 K/BB ratio. He got ahead of hitters on a consistent basis, pounded the strike zone, and didn’t look challenged at all by A-ball hitters. He rarely got to three ball counts, and did a good job of mixing his pitches, getting a good amount of strikeouts.

It will be interesting to see how Waddell fares in Double-A. He doesn’t have the best stuff, with none of his pitches grading out as more than above-average. He is successful because he changes speeds well, and also pounds the strike zone with great command and the ability to locate his fastball on both corners of the strike zone. He’s not a power pitcher, but he’s also not exactly a finesse guy either. So his results aren’t just the product of going against A-ball guys, and he should do well against upper level hitters.

Waddell had some tough competition this month. The next closest pitcher was Mitch Keller, who had an 0.86 ERA and a 28:1 K/BB ratio in 21 innings for West Virginia. Waddell benefited from having success over one extra start, making five starts to Keller’s four. He also had some competition from Indianapolis, with Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glasnow, and Chad Kuhl all posting impressive numbers in April. Waddell was just dominant, in a way that he beat out all of the other top performers, and earned himself a promotion in the process.


Indianapolis – Jameson Taillon, RHP (1.54 ERA, 23:2 K/BB, 23.1 IP)

Altoona – Tyler Eppler, RHP (3.33 ERA, 17:3 K/BB, 24.1 IP)

Bradenton – Brandon Waddell, LHP (0.93 ERA, 26:2 K/BB, 29.0 IP)

West Virginia – Mitch Keller, RHP (0.86 ERA, 28:1 K/BB, 21.0 IP)

  • I would imagine this has got to have been one of the most competitive awards you’ve had to make a decision on. Just the Indianapolis roster has 3 very worthy candidates. I was honestly surprised it wasn’t Keller, but Waddell certainly has a strong case as well.

    • John Dreker
      May 2, 2016 6:01 pm

      Last April, Altoona was ridiculous as a group, allowing six earned runs all month I believe, so there were five good choices on one team

  • BallHeadWonder
    May 2, 2016 1:34 pm

    When JT comes up, who do they option?? When Kuhl comes up, who do they option??? Glassnow ain’t coming till Sept….barring injury!! Is it Luebke, Lobstien, Voglesong or wait for it…Caminero????

    • Darkstone42
      May 2, 2016 1:39 pm

      Lobstein first, then Voglelsong would be my guess. I think they see something useful in Luebke. Locke takes Lobstein’s role, Nicasio perhaps takes Vogelsong’s. I’m not sure more than two of the AAA arms will find themselves in Pittsburgh at once.

    • Those types of decisions have always taken care of themselves.

      • It’s pretty safe to say that at some point at least one arm will have to take a DL stint and then no mo problems. At the very least I’m sure one of them will come down with some type of elbow or shoulder “fatigue”, if you catch my drift.

  • The Waddell reached AA faster than any college player drafted by Huntington statement is technically incorrect. Jacob Stallings appeared briefly in AA in September 2012 which was just a few months after he was drafted.

    The spirit of what you are saying is correct though as Stallings was there out of necessity and Waddell appears to be there due to performance.

    • John Dreker
      May 2, 2016 3:45 pm

      That is technically correct, although it’s the same as Bradenton using fill-ins from Extended Spring Training, who are actually short-season players. Stallings was only there due to injury, timing and proximity and not because of what he did on the field. If it happened even a few days earlier, someone else would have went there instead.

      • This is why I didn’t count Stallings. Thought of him right away, but that wasn’t really a promotion and definitely wasn’t a permanent assignment.

  • tcs3gobucs
    May 2, 2016 1:25 pm

    The K/BB for all four pitchers is ridiculous!

    • Absolutely agree, but if you want to be brought back down to earth quickly and painfully…

      Whitehead’s K:BB: 12:19

      • To me, Whitehead was just a throw-in for Morton so the deal wouldn’t look like a straight cash trade.

        I expect little out of him.

        • I’m with you on that. Total agreement. If he ever has a chance with the Pirates, I’m guessing the best he can hope for is a BP spot…and I’d put the odds of that at very slim.

  • Darkstone42
    May 2, 2016 12:49 pm

    I was thinking the Pirates might piggyback Taillon and Glasnow when they called them up, but if Kuhl keeps pitching well, maybe they pair him with Taillon instead. There’s a decent chance Kuhl ends up being a reliever anyway, and it would be a decent way to keep Taillon’s innings under control.

  • Quite an accomplishment with his competition and how his competition performed! Congrats Brandon