According to Baseball America, the Pittsburgh Pirates have re-signed relief pitcher Jared Lakind before he reached minor league free agency this off-season. Lakind was signed by the Pirates for $400,000 after they took him in the 23rd round of the 2010 draft. He began his pro career as a first baseman, but after topping out at State College in 2012, where he put up a .445 OPS in 40 games, he was switched to the mound.
Lakind showed nice results in 2015 in limited time with West Virginia. There were also reports of him hitting low-90s with a fastball, while showing good deception that made the pitch look faster to batters. The Pirates skipped him over Bradenton this season and pushed him to Altoona. He pitched a career-high 66 innings and solid results across the board. Lakind posted a 2.59 ERA, with a .216 BAA and 62 strikeouts. He showed an improved breaking ball and an uptick in velocity, hitting 94 MPH late in the season. He had much better results in the first half of the season, posting a 1.80 ERA before the All-Star break, compared to 4.29 after.
Lakind pitched in the WBC qualifier a few weeks ago and looked rusty, throwing a lot of pitches in his only inning, while not showing the same velocity we saw during the season.
The 24-year-old Lakind was signed to a minor league deal, so unless the Pirates add him to the 40-man roster, he will be Rule 5 eligible. While a lefty with Double-A success has a slight shot at being selected, he will probably be available in the draft. He’s an inexperienced pitcher and doesn’t have any plus pitches, so it would be tough for him to stick with an MLB team all season, and probably a year too early for the Pirates to add him to the 40-man roster.