First Pitch: Max Kranick Shows Improvements Without Games

I’m sure if we went through all of the pitchers in the system, you would find out some type of improvement in their game. Maybe a sharper breaking ball, more velocity or better control. Max Kranick was focused on this morning because someone sent me a video from his bullpen last night.

After seeing this, I reached out to Kranick and had a brief talk about the velocity. The 98.7 MPH pitch here is a personal best and it came with a 2600 spin rate. A week or so ago in a bullpen, Kranick hit 98.0, with a 2553 spin rate as his best pitch. According to Kranick, he gives a ton of credit to new coach/former player Victor Black, who has been working closely with Kranick and helped shorten his arm path.

Kranick is throwing two bullpens a week, 30 pitches each time, and he’s been working on a curveball. There’s a little back story there. He originally threw a curve, then started throwing a slider too, then slowly scrapped the curve, only to bring it back…sort of. He said they’re just calling the pitch a breaking ball and he’s been working on it to get a pitch with sharper bite. He’s been throwing a lot of curves during his bullpens and the results are positive. Kranick also noted that his changeup has been solid during this time away from games.

Kranick has slowly increased his velocity over the years, sitting low-90s at first, then touching 96 MPH in 2018 and bumping that high up to 97 last year with Bradenton. He was scheduled to start the season with Altoona this year. Maybe we see him in fall ball, which could be expanded this year according to earlier reports. He would be a top candidate for the Arizona Fall League (or a similar league on a bigger scale) even without rosters likely being expanded.

Here’s another video from Victor Black’s Twitter

and another

** We finally got a non-drafted free agent signing yesterday. Possibly we hear more today. Maybe we will finally get those draft dollar figures. If I had to guess, I’d say all five players have agreed already and we are just waiting on physicals.

Hopefully we will hear some more news today. As for the articles coming up today already on the schedule…

This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History – One of the best pure hitters in baseball history spent part of a season with the Pirates. He’s more famous for his nickname.

Card of the Day – A look at a popular card of a player I should have featured a long time ago.

1979 Season Recap – Pirates try to sweep the Dodgers.

Happy Birthday to both of my parents today (born in different years). Have a good Wednesday.




Pirates catching prospect Daniel Angulo was 5’10”, 164 pounds when he signed. He’s no longer 164 pounds…

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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