On Wednesday in the Gulf Coast League, Gage Hinsz made his first start as a pro. The 11th round draft pick from this year, had made one relief appearance last Wednesday, which was his pro debut. In that brief outing, he threw 1.2 innings, giving up two runs(one earned) on two hits, with one walk and one strikeout.
We talk about pitchers being projectable all the time here because the Pittsburgh Pirates take chances on a lot of high school arms. Hinsz fits that mold and then some. He was the last player they signed from this draft class, inking a deal for $580K, which was $480,000 over his slot amount. Though you can’t put it all on him because it also depended on the bonuses given to other players, the bonus given to Hinsz put the Pirates over their draft pool by 5%, which cost the team a penalty tax as well.
When the draft picks were all said and done, in my opinion, Hinsz was the fourth best player they picked, behind first rounder Cole Tucker and the two million dollar pitchers, Mitch Keller and Trey Supak. There wasn’t a big difference in that group though and there is a decent chance that Hinsz could end up as the best pick because of his projections. There was even some word after the draft that the Pirates considered picking Hinsz in the second round and that doesn’t seem like a stretch based on his upside.
Hinsz has already shown strong velocity for a high school player, sitting low-90’s, hitting 93 MPH and he does it with an easy motion. The thing about him is, he may have been drafted out of high school, but his school didn’t even have a team. So here you have a 6’4″, 210 pound, 18-year-old that throws 93 MPH and he is raw even for a high school player. His command is also supposed to be above average. He throws strikes and does it with strong velocity already. That is upside you can dream on and a steal with an 11th round pick.
Below we have video from Wednesday’s outing courtesy of the GCL Pirates fan page. Hinsz threw 2.1 innings, facing a total of ten batters. He allowed one run on two hits, with one walk and one strikeout. Basically it was very similar to his first outing. The stats won’t matter much for him at this point. It’s just getting him into the system and on a pro schedule to pitch. Hinsz will put in more time in the Fall Instructional League than he does during this regular season. His placement next year will depend more on how he does during Extended Spring Training next year. If he shows he can handle it, then you will see him with Bristol, but don’t be surprised if next season he is working on fastball command and his secondary pitches in the GCL again.
Every pitch of the outing is here, as well as his bullpen and warm-up pitches prior to the first inning. The catcher is Yoel Gonzalez.
Hinsz Warming up Before First Pitch
Second Batter of the First Inning
RBI Ground Out
Strikeout to End the First
Retires the Lead-Off Batter in the Second
Grounder to Second Base…Two Brushback Pitches
Ends a 1-2-3 Second Inning
Walk to Begin the Third
Note: Batter is Magglio Ordonez Jr and Hinsz misses low on four straight pitches
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.