The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed right-handed pitcher Holden Helmink to a minor league deal. He has a very unimpressive baseball resume in three years of pro ball after being signed out of San Jacinto College in the 12th round of the 2014 draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He pitched a total of 27.2 innings of Rookie ball in his two seasons with Arizona before being released. Helmink had 27 strikeouts, though that came with 21 walks and a 1.77 WHIP. In 2016, he pitched in independent ball and allowed 12 walks and eight runs in 6.2 innings over seven appearances.
Baseball America has this report on Helmink going into the 2012 draft:
“Helmink has a projectable frame and the makings of two plus future pitches, but he lacks the polish to get drafted early enough to sign him away from a Texas commitment. The 6-foot-4, 185-pounder first made his name at Willis as a slugging outfielder, and he’s still learning to pitch. He has a quick arm, an 88-92 mph fastball and shows aptitude for spinning his curveball.”
That report makes him interesting, but you have to remember that it’s from five years ago. He hasn’t pitched much since either, redshirting his freshman year at Texas, then seeing action in just nine games in 2014 at San Jacinto, where he was a teammate of Taylor Hearn.
This tweet might explain why the Pirates signed him:
— Kevin Poppe (@TheKevinPoppe) February 7, 2017
I’ll add in that he’s also very athletic and the low inning totals suggests he has a fresh arm and still some possible upside. He also threw a ball 106.6 MPH in January with a running start. We will try to get more information on him, or you will just get more once we see him in minor league camp.