Links: The Amazing John Holdzkom Story, and a Guide to Scouting

The Pittsburgh Pirates are about to take on the Chicago Cubs this afternoon, opening a series where they hope to turn things around and capitalize on the recent slide by Milwaukee and the .500 play by Atlanta. While you wait for the opening game of the series, here are some interesting links to check out.

**J.J. Cooper wrote an amazing article at Baseball America about how John Holdzkom went from indy ball to the big leagues. Cooper talks about¬†some of the changes that led to the tall right-hander fixing his control issues, while also detailing how the Pirates noticed him. It’s a great read if you want to learn more about one of the Pirates’ newest relievers.

**Kiley McDaniel has a great guide to scouting over at FanGraphs, along with some handy charts that show you the qualifications for the 20-80 scale. Wondering what constitutes a “plus-plus” fastball? What a runner has to get for 80 speed? Or what about overall player grades? All of this is in there, along with some good explanations on the process.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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Hurdle had some major stones putting Holdzcom out there for the 2-run save today. Consider it’s likely neither Melancon nor Watson can go Sunday, might be seeing Holdzcom again in a key situation.


Very good article on Holdzkom


Great article. I knew there had to be a back story. He just seemed to appear out of nowhere as a full-blown major league pitcher.


Agreed, that is a great story on Holdzkom, it might as well be Ricky Vaughn if he had just spent time in jail.


Great story, thanks Tim

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