The Pittsburgh Pirates have two 18-year-old players from Australia making their pro debuts in the Gulf Coast League this year. If you follow the site closely, both players have been mentioned here often because they have played Winter ball, including stints in the Australian Baseball League, playing against competition that is usually much older and much more advanced. The league has some players with Major League experience, as well as many minor league veterans. That’s great experience for young players, but it also shows how advanced they are, because you don’t play in the ABL unless you’re good enough to help the team.
The first player from today is starting pitcher Nick Hutchings, who has made six starts so far. He has a 5.33 ERA in 25.1 innings, with a 9/16 BB/SO ratio and a 1.65 GO/AO ratio. The important thing to remember with the 6’2″, right-hander is that he is younger than many high school draft picks from 2014, so while the results might not look great, you have to keep them in perspective.
Below are four videos of Hutchings last outing, starting with him in the bullpen. All videos here are courtesy of the GCL Pirates fan page.
Hutchings mound warm-ups
Hutchings facing a righty
Facing a lefty
Sam Kennelly has seen limited action in his first year in the States. He has played 11 games, hitting .231 with two doubles(one shown below) and a 5/6 BB/SO ratio. He got in a lot of action in the off-season, playing tournament ball, seeing time with a club team and playing for the Perth Heat in the Australian Baseball League. He will likely play in the ABL again this year and of course, he will see time in the Fall Instructional League, so the limited playing time shouldn’t have an adverse effect on him. Kennelly signed for $225K in 2012, so he was one of the higher profile signings that year. Just like Hutchings, he finished out school before coming to the United States to play.
The three videos below are all we have on him, so while it starts off good with a double, there is also a ground out and the ever-popular walk. It’s still three chances to get to see a player at a level you normally get nothing from as far as video.
The double. This is a nice long at-bat that obviously ends good.
The ground out.
The 3-1 pitch here looked hard to lay off of…
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.