SEAN KESELICA, LEFT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: June 14, 1993
Drafted: 33rd Round, 997th Overall, 2015
How Acquired: Draft
College: Virginia Tech
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|The Pirates drafted mainly pitchers in the late rounds of the 2015 draft, including Keselica, whom they drafted as a college senior. Besides making 28 starts and 12 relief appearances over his four seasons at Virginia Tech, he has also had 599 at-bats and put up a .294/.369/.377 slash line. He concentrated on pitching his senior year and the Pirates announced him as a pitcher, so his days at the plate are likely done. Keselica made 12 starts in 2015 and had a 3.47 ERA in 72.2 innings, with a .242 BAA and a 30:55 BB/SO ratio. Those numbers were improvements across the board over his previous two seasons. At least initially, Keselica’s fastball topped out at 92 mph and sat in the 87-91 range. By 2017, though, he was sitting in the low-90s and reaching 94. Baseball America ranked him 33rd in the state, during an average year for players in Virginia. He signed just before the short-season leagues started play.
Keselica pitched out of the bullpen for Morgantown. He was extremely erratic due to control issues, but he did strike out a lot of hitters. He finished strongly, striking out nine hitters in four innings in his last two outings without allowing a hit or walk. He had a reverse platoon split, with left-handed hitters posting an .837 OPS against him and right-handed hitters .707.
The Pirates kept Keselica in extended spring training until late May, then sent him to West Virginia. He pitched mainly in long relief outings, showing much better control, striking out over a batter an inning and holding opponents to a .180 average. He again had a reverse platoon split, but not a large one; left-handed hitters had an OPS of .531 against him, right-handed hitters .483. The Pirates moved him up to Bradenton at the end of the year and he got into one regular season game before pitching in the playoffs.
Keselica moved up to Altoona and pitched well, especially considering how limited his time was at lower levels. He showed some ability to get swings and misses, and dominated left-handed hitters, holding them to an OPS of just .490. Right-handed hitters, on the other hand, had a .746 OPS against him, largely due to a very high walk rate. He didn’t finish the season strongly and had an especially bad July, with a 7.82 ERA and .916 opponents’ OPS. Command generally was an issue and Keselica walked 18 in his last 27 innings.
Keselica returned to Altoona and had increased control problems. His season could have been worse, but he had a very low batting average on balls in play of .235. The control issues mainly occurred in the season’s second half, when his walk rate went from 5.1 per nine innings to 8.6, so you wonder whether he was healthy. He had only a slight platoon split.
Keselica opened the season at Indianapolis, but the Pirates sent him to Altoona after he’d been in one game. At the beginning of May he returned to AAA for the rest of the season. He didn’t pitch well overall, mainly due to control problems. He was very tough on left-handed hitters, limiting them to 135/293/162. Right-handed hitters, though, put up a 308/409/468 line.
Keselica’s is very tough on left-handed hitters, but control issues are holding him back and the Pirates don’t employ lefty specialists anyway. He still has another two seasons before free agency.
|2020: Minor League Contract
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2015
MiLB FA Eligible: 2021
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: 2018
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 10, 2015: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 33rd round, 997th overall pick; signed on June 19.|