The Pittsburgh Pirates went very pitcher heavy in the 2022 draft, especially on the college side of things. While quite a few made an appearance or two in the complex league, only Mike Walsh and Cy Nielson made it to Bradenton by the end of the season.
While he may end up being the last pitcher to debut, second round pick Hunter Barco certainly has the potential to be the best from their most recent draft class.
One of the best pitchers in the nation entering his draft year, the lefty from Florida was off to a great start before an injury and eventual Tommy John surgery ended his season.
Up to that point, Barco was making a strong case to eventually be one of the first college pitchers taken in the draft. In nine starts last year, the lefty had a 5-2 record, 2.50 ERA, and struck out 69 batters (11 walks ) in 50.1 innings pitched.
He made quite the impact in his time with Florida, finishing among the school leaders in winning percentage, K/9, and opponent’s average.
When healthy, Barco features a fastball, slider, and changeup, with the latter two generally considered as at the very least above average.
With him getting Tommy John last May, it’s difficult to project when we could see Barco in 2023, or if we see much of him at all.
If we do see him, it will likely be with restrictions. There is a video of him throwing off of flat ground for the first time in December at Pirates City, so that at least is encouraging.
Although his impact this season may be minimal to none at all, there was talk that he was working his way into the conversation as being a first round pick before the injury. If he can return to that level of player, Barco could turn out to being a huge steal for the Pirates.
Highlight of the Day
Pirates Prospects Daily
By Tim Williams
**Missed yesterday? Anthony looked at infielder Maikol Escotto, who was acquired in the Jameson Taillon trade.
Song of the Day
Pirates Prospects Weekly
Check out Ethan Hullihen’s breakdown of what happens when a player gets designated for assignment.
We’ll have the latest article drop hitting the site Tuesday afternoon.
If he had the TJ surgery in May 2022, is it not too soon for Barco to be throwing 7 months later? Not sure what the exact rehab schedule is, and whether it differs case-to-case, but is this normal in the rehab progression?
Off topic, but did anyone else see the Fangraphs piece regarding Exit Velocity?
Seems many of the popular statistics cited by SABR dudes are less than reliable for predicting future performance. Go figure.
If you like wrc+, or maximum EV, or average EV as good barometers for how good of a hitter a player is, you shouldn’t read the article. In a nutshell, the two best statistics to gauge a hitter are:
1. 95% EV
2. Contact %
These two stats have the least variance from year to year.
Obviously trying to locate and develop hitters who excel in both areas would be ideal.
Be interested to see how our hitters rank in these two areas as the season progresses.
Do you (or anyone) know where you can find 95% EV? I couldn’t find it at Statcast or Fangraphs. (I was curious to see where Cruz ranked.)
Cruz is up there and hit the hardest hit ball in 2022: https://lookerstudio.google.com/u/0/reporting/d1c90230-cafd-4c85-b4c2-f23f6d38816e/page/p_urlxpxhwrc
Yeah that’s not what the article states. The article is about which metrics change the most, not which are most predictive of future overall production.
95% EV and Contact% don’t predict future performance, they predict future 95% EV and Contact%.
Until they change the rules and start handing out runs for those, they only measure one particular skill. Metrics like wRC+ measure the overall production of a player’s combined skills, which as the author explicitly notes will always be more variable than any individual skill on its own.
In terms of predicting overall performance, you would be comparing metrics such as batting average, OPS, and wRC. And among those, yes, wRC+ is most predictive.
I thought the article was fascinating because it both confirms what we know and dispels one of the biggest development myths we have.
It does not appear that players “grow into power”. We constantly here that so-and-so “grow into” more power in their late-20s. This alludes to strength, and therefor exit velocity, improvements that don’t actually seem to occur very often at all.
We also know that the league-wide power surge in the last half of the 2010s wasn’t due to players hitting the ball harder, it was from the “launch angle revolution”. Guys didn’t get stronger, they used their natural strength and optimized contact.
Kebryan Hayes had something like top 10-15% EV and 25% contact in all of baseball, but only something like 65% of the league actually performed better than him overall. It’s nearly exclusively because of the angle at which he makes said contact.
Developing power means changing swings, and very little else.
What I took from the article is wrc+ is a stat with a lot of variance from year to year, whereas EV95 & contact% are relatively static.
Also, give me the guy who makes contact and hits the ball hard over the guy who had an outlier season with a high wrc+ due to BABIP luck or HR/FB luck.
wrc+ measures outcomes, while EV95 and contact % are event/skill based stats. You never want to chase outcomes. They’re just results, and this process is called resulting. You want to chase the skills that provide the highest probabilities of favorable outcomes, which is what I’m assuming the author is suggesting in EV95 and contact %.
I like using xwOBA as an all-in-one predictive stat, which mostly focuses on EV and launch angle, i.e., quality of contact. It’s relies on historic batted ball data and filters out a lot of noise. If the quality of contact is strong, relatively speaking, this increases the probability of favorable outcomes.
I was looking over some of the league’s best hitters launch angle’s vs Key’s the other day. With just even 3 degrees more in launch angle, Hayes could jump easily jump into the upper echelon of offensive production. Dude hits the shit out of the ball.
Yelich was that way, he credited Bonds with helping him lift the ball, he was a lazy and bad hitting instructor for the Marlins, but at least he fixed Yelich.
if you haven’t, watch MVP: The fall of Berlinger and Yelich on YouTube. Good stuff.
The Cubs adding Belli and Swanson who I think peaked offensively should backfire I believe that Horner is the exact same player as Swanson and that was a big commitment!
Hayes would have similar batted ball data to Manny Machado if he tripled his launch angle. It’s a tall ask and he’s unlikely to ever do it.
Does anyone have an idea where Jun-Seok Shim will begin?
They said he’s going to the Dominican initially but will move to Bradenton soon after. Wasn’t clear whether he was actually going to pitch in the DSL or just going there for training. Also wasn’t clear whether “Bradenton” meant the FCL or FSL.
I’d be inclined to treat him like a HS draftee, given his age, and have him go straight to Bradenton.
Now that’s a cultural whirlwind.
It’s possible they have more extensive “cultural acclimatization” resources in the DR. Or maybe they’re better able, in the spring, to get him some ABs against rookie-level hitters.
I went to bed last night thinking of a myriad of things. One of them being Barry Bonds playing for the Pirates. And how we haven’t had a player hit more than 40 home runs since 1973. And how Bonds went crazy in San Fran. But because of a group called BALCO. And then I thought of acronyms for it for awhile. Bay Area League of Corruption. Bad Apples League Company. Barry Admits Lying Cheating Org. Anyway I fell asleep. Go Hunter BALCO
You must have saw the Codify tweet.
Codify tweeted out this exact stat last week, showing the last year each team had a player that hit 40 HRs. The Pirates were dead last, by over thirty years.
A friend of mine sent it to me! I claimed that the 1972 Clean Water Act took out the superpowers out of our water system. Willie was the last man to get that toxic tap water that gave him HR power.
Looks like Roansy will pitch for the DR in the WBC.
I am unenthused.
Hitters, fine. Pitchers, no. Let the Cards and Brewers provide all the pitchers.
I disagree. Hope he pitches well, and it gives him the jolt of confidence he needs to be dominant SP for Pirates this season.
It’s not the experience part, it’s the tendency of WBC pitchers to get hurt that I could do without.
Can’t put guys in bubble wrap. It’s an honor to represent your country. I’m definitely in the camp of those who say any and all Pirates invited to play should be encouraged to play. Even those coming off injury if medically cleared.
I disagree as well. Roansy hasn’t exactly pitched in big games. Although, I don’t think he’ll see many innings as the DR pitching staff is deep and loaded.
Isn’t this a “thing” now, stress pitches? Endocrine system ripping, adrenaline and cortisol pumping, big game environment. This is what athletes lives for, I get it, but I think the timing couldn’t be worse.
Amazing that he needed time in AAA last season yet makes DR’s roster for the WBC!
Seriously, though, I’m glad he’s getting the chance to pitch in meaningful games, and it could help him when he’s pitching in meaningful games for the Pirates. What other Pirates are participating? I would guess Cruz and Reynolds. Anyone else?
Neither Cruz or Reynolds.
Final rosters I believe need to be submitted Thursday.
*Choi was on Korea’s roster, but the Pirates removed him due to medicals. Apparently, Choi is devastated.
f*cking bush league treatment of Choi.
These mfrs could care less about winning big league games but are gonna rob a guy the honor of playing for his country because of injury risk?
Not sure of the facts, but it sure solidifies the current opinion of the Pirates – a chicken shit organization! BTW, is mfrs short for manufacturers?
Hahaha, m*otherf*ckers. I stole it from the kids these days, trying to clean up my language on here.
“ These mfrs could care less about winning …”
“These mfrs could *not* care less …”
– That Guy
*furiously clicks edit button*
Chicken sh*t move.
He is recovering from elbow surgery
Between not allowing Choi to play and having to go to arbitration, they don’t seem to be getting off on the right foot with him.
From everything I read on Choi is he’s a real good dude. Teammates love him, fan favorite, funny and loves his country.
They denied him because of bone chips that were removed from his right elbow in November. Something doesn’t pass the smell test here.
Not that I know much about it, but removal of bone chips doesn’t seem like the type of thing that would put him at higher risk by playing.
Didn’t Taillon pitch for Canada well before he made the majors with the Pirates? Or am I thinking of someone else?
He did, but Canada doesn’t have the depth to choose from as does the DR. If he actually pitches meaningful innings for the DR, that would be pretty impressive. I’m sure they expect to win the WBC or at least be in the finals.
He did, I remember him striking out Braun with a nasty curve!
Didn’t the Pirates gain an extra year of service (or should I say not lose a year of service) by keeping Roansy in the minors long enough? If so, is it possible Luiz Ortiz gets the same treatment in 2023, assuming he is the real deal?
It was pretty clear that was why Roansy was in AAA and I don’t disagree with teams doing such, especially when you have an owner who won’t pay market rates to extend players. But the official word from the Pirates was that he had some things to work on. At least one report indicated that he wasn’t very happy about it, and he shouldn’t have been even if he understood that it’s the nature of the business.
He pitched a total of 60 innings in 2021 lol.
I’m sure he wasn’t happy (see also Bryant, K.), but until the union starts to look out for the young guys and not just the established players, and the CBA gets changed to reflect it, every team is going to do service time manipulation to some extent.
The way I understood it, the bargaining team had veterans that recommended the players vote against it. But since there was a nice raise on minimum salary, the players(mostly young) voted to accept it. I could be wrong though.
It was a central part of the players platform and the owners literally locked them out and made it non-negotiable in their terms.
No LOL needed. I know the owners locked the players out. I am talking about the older players vs the younger players when it came to agreeing to a contract. Max Scherzer, a lead negotiator, was 100% against the players agreeing to the contract in March because of issues such as service time, teams tankings, teams not spending money etc. In March Scherzer and the team advised the players to vote down the owners proposal. The players union however(which is made up of 1200 members and 60% were at minimum salary). Since the owners offered a nice raise in minimum salary, the players voted to accept against the negotiation teams wishes. This is one reason why teams like the Pirates will not have to spend money. Don’t blame the older players. Blame the younger players.
Ohhhh sorry buddy, you were one step ahead of me. My bad.
Yeah, I was really hoping the new CBA would be a big step forward in reducing manipulation of service time. Instead we got a few baby steps.
I mean, is that really as good as you think Roansy can be?
He clearly has a lot to work on, including most importantly enough stamina to be a starter. Dude was gassed by end of the year even with a reduced workload they were able to manage better through use of the minors.
They needed to manage his workload; it did not need to happen in AAA. But again, I don’t disagree with the Pirates managing his service time. I don’t like it for the players, but it’s part of the business.
What about this is “unfair” to the player?
Why does Roansy deserve to accrue service time before – as you admit – he’s ready to be a big leaguer and not other prospects?
By how many players are you suggesting they expand the 25-man roster to support prospects who aren’t finished with their development?
I just don’t get this one, man.
He was ready for the majors–lots of major league pitchers have their workloads managed and development doesn’t end once they reach the majors. We see differently on this one and you’re not going to be convinced otherwise and neither am I.
Not gonna lie dude, horrible take on this one…
It would just never occur to me to call someone’s take on a baseball move “horrible”. I know that’s par for the course on internet comment sections but this site had largely stayed above such for many years. It’s usually not a big issue, but I’m dealing with significant loss right now and don’t have the emotional energy to deal with attacks (not to be confused with disagreements), so this will be the last comment of yours I’ll pay attention to.
I truly don’t get it. This rebuild has broken everyone’s brains.
See me comment above, just replace “horrible” with “broken everyone’s brains”. I expected better once you’d been given the chance to write for the site.
He needs to prove he can throw 160 innings and keep the velo in the upper 90’s in September instead of the low 90’s we saw last season.
Whoa, whoa. This is new-age baseball. 150 innings.
Bryant was the best hitter in all off AAA baseball and spent half of 2014 at the level before being held back for a week in 2015 and then immediately turned in the 10th most valuable hitter performance his rookie year.
Roansy had one AAA start in ’21 and then performed worse than 74% of all big league pitchers as a rookie in ’22.
Maybe it’s me, I’m the problem it’s me, but these two scenarios are nothing alike.
Well, he did not pitch in winter ball so should not be a big deal as he would be subbing ST games for WBC games. For 2 weeks. I would rather him be in camp but I am sure they will have someone monitoring the games for the team to watch for issues.
Barco was nasty in the games i watched last year. The SEC is loaded with great hitters, so he was very impressive. Will be interesting how they clean up his delivery bc it definitely adds deception, but might have been adding stress to the elbow.
It’s kinda frustrating. We haven’t seen hide nor hair of the three big pitching draftees from 2022. Barco couldn’t be helped, but it would’ve been nice to see Harrington and Kennedy. Very curious where they’ll start this year.
I feel precedent would have Harrington in Greensboro, and Kennedy in extended ST before debuting with Bradenton.
What happened to Owen Kellington? Stats don’t show he pitched very much. Not sure if he had been hurt. Hanging with Harrington and Kennedy?
This has absolutely no bearing on OK’s prospects, but thinking of him always reminds me if the 1999 New England Babe Ruth tourney, in which the VT team was no-hit in both of its games. Larger point, it’s a small, sparsely populated state where the competition level doesn’t begin to match up even to ME (where I live) or NH.
My son was always one of the best players in our area but then, when he saw the guys on the winning CT team, he got a hot dose of reality.
I wonder if OK’s early struggles may stem from never or seldom having faced any serious competition growing up. I don’t recall reading about him in any showcase events.
Good response. I always wanted to visit/live in the Green Mountain State and was excited when they drafted him. I went to Pitt 98-02 and didn’t even think of college baseball. Then moved to SC and SEC country and realized that it was actually a sport. And here they have non stop showcase events, travel leagues, bush league, and anything else you can think of league. Thanks for the story.
I’m pretty sure OK hurt his hamstring while pitching in Ft. Myers against the Red Sox in one of his first outings and was out for awhile. As a native Vermonter, I followed him pretty close. I think he had one real good start in Sarasota striking out four of the six in two perfect innings but I saw him get lit up a couple of times at PC against the same Orioles that shot up his ERA. Would have loved to have you in Vermont!
Will get there someday. Try to find old Champy. A lot closer than Loch Ness. We occasionally look for land to start a homestead on up that way. Gets hot in SC and sooner or later think I will move north. If you know of any good spots let me know.
He wasn’t good, spent most of the season in the back fields.
Thanks. Saw his limited numbers. Read a recent article from a paper in VT saying he was focusing on being his best self.
Let’s hope they’re cooking up wonders in Baker’s back field laboratory!
Right. And then they’ll be ready in 2028.
But what free agents they’ll be!
How do the Bucs approach pitchers in their first pro year? How do other teams? Would be an interesting art.
I’ve looked at Bucs’ and Guardians’ complex rosters, and first-year pro pitchers either didn’t pitch or barely pitched.
With the later draft date this seems pretty standard across the league,
Yeah, I went thru the early P picks for the rest of the NLC and very few guys pitched at all. The Cards’ top three picks were all Ps and none appeared in a game.
There may be a good argument for running the FCL season into October, pretty much absorbing what used to be the fall instructs schedule.
I wonder how much of this is teams becoming more secretive about low-level prospects, which is definitely happening. They’ve pretty much stopped fall instructs games. The last one I remember going to had a crowd of scouts behind home plate.
Oh man, great point to think about.
Fairly early round collegians as well.
Cases like this is when I hope nobody worries about the age of a prospect. Let’s not worry if he is in AA at 25 as long as he is progressing and still looks like a legitimate rotation piece (of course that is best case scenario). Whether a prospect establishes themselves in the rotation at 22 or 26 doesn’t always matter in the long term picture, it is more the years of success and level of success.
Age matters much less for pitchers, for sure. If he gets any time this year, I’d guess it’s at high A and then the AFL. And then he starts 2024 in high A.
“ Age matters much less for pitchers, for sure.”
And for Lefties even more so.
See deGrom, Jacob.
I’m not saying Barco is the next JdG, mind you. Just saying that he fits your scenario perfectly.
Guy’s had one of the strangest careers ever. Debuted at nearly 26. Nothing special in the minors. How do you go from 7.9 K/9 in the minors to 10.9 in the bigs without moving to relief?