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
16. Max Kranick, RHP
We continue the countdown with the number 13 prospect, Clay Holmes.
13. Clay Holmes, RHP
Holmes made his return from Tommy John in 2015, making nine rehab starts between the GCL and High-A before being shut down for the year. The Pirates didn’t protect him from the Rule 5 draft that offseason, but he went unselected, possibly due to the uncertainty with his health. After watching him make 26 starts in Altoona during the 2016 season, they didn’t take any chances, and added him to the 40-man roster to protect him from the 2016 Rule 5 draft.
The numbers from Holmes weren’t great on the surface, although that can partially be explained by the rehab process. His command wasn’t fully there early in the season, and started making some positive strides in the second half. He wasn’t consistent from start-to-start, with a few bad outings with control that threw off the numbers. He was much more effective in the second half and showed more consistent stuff, and was difficult to hit.
Holmes added a two-seam fastball this year, and showed promise with the pitch by the end of the year, using it as his primary fastball and getting high ground ball totals. The four-seamer sits 92-95, touching 96, while the two-seamer is 90-92. He also showed improvements with his changeup throughout the year, although he doesn’t use it often in games. At the end of the season, the Pirates added another pitch to his arsenal, giving Holmes a power slider/cutter that was coming in around 88-91 MPH. The pitch was aimed at getting a better breaking pitch. He will still have his low-to-mid 80s curveball, but the hope is that the new slider will be his best secondary pitch, complementing the two-seamer well. His stuff is difficult to hit, generating some of the softest contact in the system.
Holmes has a big frame and the stuff to be a number three or four starter in the majors. The big focus for him will be consistent command, which could come the further he gets from Tommy John.