The Pirates Prospects 2017 Prospect Guide is now available for pre-sales. The book will be released the week before Spring Training, and we are currently in the process of making the final changes with editing and formatting.
The book features prospect reports on everyone in the system, the 2017 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find. Subscribers to the site get discounted books, with Top Prospect subscribers getting $10 off, and Annual subscribers getting $5 off. The eBook will be released when the book is released, and will also come with discounts. Details on the 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 as a countdown to the start of Spring Training, and to give a preview of the release of the book. We will be wrapping up on Monday, February 13th. 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. Alen Hanson, 2B
17. Elias Diaz, C
We continue the countdown with the number 16 prospect, Max Kranick.
16. Max Kranick, RHP
The Pirates have gone over-slot in the 11th round in almost every year since the new draft spending rules have been imposed. They continued that trend in 2016, selecting Kranick in the 11th round and giving him a $300,000 signing bonus. That amount was much lower than what we heard Kranick was asking for on day two of the draft, with his seven-figure demand chasing away some teams that wanted to take him much higher. The Pirates stuck with him, and used the rest of their bonus pool money to sign him, potentially getting a steal in the process.
While fellow 2016 prep pitcher Braeden Ogle has better stuff now, Kranick could easily end up being the best pitcher of the Pirates’ 2016 class. He already has outstanding command, leading to a 21:4 K/BB ratio in 33.1 innings in his pro debut. He also has an easy delivery and good downward movement on his fastball, along with a frame that could add velocity as he fills out. He’s already consistently in the 89-93 MPH range, and has touched mid-90s in the past. That breaks down as 89-92 MPH for his two-seamer, and 92-93 for his four-seamer, touching higher. If he can sit in the mid-90s in the future, and low-90s with the two-seamer, he could reach a very high ceiling.
Kranick doesn’t necessarily need the added velocity to be successful, since his command and stuff are already good enough. What he does need is improvement on his curveball. He exclusively threw a fastball/changeup combo up until high school, due to his parents wanting to keep his arm healthy by restricting breaking pitches at an early age. That gave him an advanced feel for a changeup, but the breaking pitch was lagging. He added a slider in high school, but switched to a curveball in 2016, due to the inconsistent release point on the slider.
The new curveball was easier for Kranick to find a consistent release point. The pitch was wild at the start of his pro debut, and he didn’t show much confidence in it during games. It has a 12-to-6 break, and he was having issues commanding it early, often spiking it. By the end of the year, the pitch had come a long way, and Kranick was using it in games, after getting comfortable with the release point.
It’s hard to place an exact ceiling on Kranick right now, but he’s got a lot of upside. If the curveball turns into a good third pitch, he could make it as a starter in the big leagues. He has a shot to be a top of the rotation guy if he adds velocity and the curveball continues developing well.