5:15 PM: Right-hander Geoff Hartlieb will be optioned to Triple-A tomorrow to make room for Kranick, tweets Mackey. The 27-year-old has appeared three times out of the pen, struggling with his control, issuing five free passes en route to four earned runs in 3 2/3 innings. Control was Hartlieb’s bugaboo last season as well when he walked 18.8 percent of opposing hitters in 22 1/3 innings.
1:06 PM: The Pirates will promote right-hander Max Kranick to the majors tomorrow, according to Alex Stumpf of DK Pittsburgh Sports. Kranick will make his MLB debut as the Pirates’ starting pitcher for their game against the Cardinals. (Mackey also shared the amusing way that Triple-A manager Brian Esposito and pitching coach Joel Hanrahan told Kranick about the promotion in prank form.)
A Pennsylvania product born in Scranton, Kranick was an 11th-round pick for the Bucs in the 2016 draft, as the team went well above slot price to land him at a $300K bonus. He has started 54 of 58 career games in the minors, posting a 3.47 ERA over 280 overall innings, and he reached both the Double-A and Triple-A levels for the first time this season. Kranick has a cumulative 4.37 ERA, 24.65% strikeout rate, and 6.16% walk rate over 35 total innings (19 1/3 at Triple-A, 15 2/3 at Double-A) in 2021.
“While he doesn’t have one pitch that jumps off the page, Kranick does have good feel and has shown an ability to throw strikes with all of them,” according to MLB Pipeline’s scouting report, with Pipeline ranking him as the 26th-best prospect in Pittsburgh’s farm system. His fastball has the highest grade (55 on the 20-80 scouting scale) of any of his three offerings, and Kranick regularly hits the 94mph plateau with the ability to get up to 98mph on occasion.
Since the Pirates are firmly in rebuild mode, taking a look at a 23-year-old arm fits right into the organization’s plans about focusing on the future. Room opened up in the rotation when Trevor Cahill was placed on the injured list and Mitch Keller was optioned to the minors, so it makes sense that the Bucs would take a shot with Kranick after his solid (if unspectacular) showing at Triple-A.
Does this guy have any fantasy value? Is he worth picking up and starting in a 20-team league that doesn’t have many free agent starting pitchers available? He sounds like a decent prospect but the fact that he doesn’t have a great pitch, his career minor league ERA is over 4.00 and he pitches for the terrible Pirates makes me worry he might post negative fantasy value in his first career start. Is he worth keeping longer than 1 start if I do pick him up or is he a streaming option at best? Any advice?
Make your own decisions don’t wait for someone to tell you what to do
Blake. I was asking because I figured some Pirates fans would look at this article and they would know way more about him than me. I am in a 20-team league and all the analytical advice for minor leaguers with no MLB experience is based on the assumption you are in a 10-team league. This guy doesn’t get mentioned or followed by anyone in terms of fantasy value at all. I’m just trying to ask some friendly advice from Pirates fans about a Pirate. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Many non-Braves fans asked me advice about Tucker Davidson and Kyle Muller already this season. I was happy to share that information with them.
I have no crystal ball but…it’s a guy no one has ever heard of…and the Pirates are tanking.
FWJBT, you may be on to something.
In a league that deep, he’s definitely worth taking a flier. I’d personally give him a start or two before you trust him to put in your lineup, but stash him now and see how it plays out. What do you have to lose?
I have one of Kolby Allard or Pete Fairbanks to lose. Allard just became a starter and is doing decent and my league counts holds so as a solid set up man Fairbanks has some value. I could always drop Jorge Soler because he is terrible but his roster percentage is over 44% and he would far and away become the most rostered healthy free agent in my league so I haven’t had the heart to drop him.
He isn’t going to strike out a bunch of people but he rarely gets hammered either. I’d imagine he’s gonna end up being a fairly reliable #4 type starter with some really good starts and some bad ones but generally end a season with around a 3.7-4.2 ERA, 1.2ish WHIP and around 10-12 wins (but I’d subtract 2 or 3 cuz he plays for the Pirates after all). For one game in his MLB debut though, who knows. For what it’s worth I doubt the moment will be too big for him to crack under the pressure or anything and it’s a Sunday start so maybe some of the Cardinals’ regulars will get the day off.
Alot of backends prospects I would say don’t get to 5 ip to qualify for win.
Hope you picked him up. He’s dealing through 5 innings.
Hope you picked him up. Just don’t expect this type of performance ever again.
Scranton is not “local” to Pittsburgh.
It’s just in the same state.
It’s local to Phillies
It’s not really even local to the Phillies to be honest
Yeah it’s funny how people think this, Buffalo, Baltimore, and Columbus are more local. lol
Pittsburgh and Scranton are the border cities to Pennsyltucky.
Scranton is more than a 6 hour drive from Pittsburgh. I’ve done it.
I grew up and still live in Pgh and my dad was from Wilkes Barre-Scranton area so we’d go up to my grandparents place for Easter and Christmas a good bit. If you take a 5 hour nap on the way it’s not a bad ride.
Fun fact! Archbald, PA is closer to Fenway Park in Boston than it is to PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Therefore, not sure if he’s the Pirates’ “local product” haha
Google Maps says it’s 287 miles from Fenway to Kranick’s high school in Archbald, whereas PNC Park is 297 miles from his high school.
Maybe he wore red socks with his Pirates gear. 😉
Excited to see what he does. He has seen an increase in velocity thus year, but he’s probably better suited as a RP.
I saw this guy pitch against the Memphis Cardinals 8 days ago. He got routed hard and fast. I suspect same thing in the bigs.
He comes out like Chad Kuhl in his major league debut and then turns out to be another Archer or Brault
Well I know at least one positive from this move: it got Hartlieb off of the major league roster. I hope we’ve seen the last of him.