With their fourth round selection in the 2018 MLB amateur draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected right-handed pitcher Aaron Shortridge from California.
Shortridge is a 21-year-old starter at California, after pitching in relief as a sophomore in 2017. Just like third round pick Connor Kaiser, Shortridge did not rank near his draft spot by MLB Pipeline or Baseball America. He didn’t make Pipeline’s top 200, while BA had him 365th in their top 500, although it’s noteworthy that he was at #449 before their last update. Just like each of the previous three picks by the Pirates, it appears he had a late jump in the rankings.
Shortridge had a 2.77 ERA in 91 innings this season, making 12 starts and five relief appearances. He had 74 strikeouts, 14 walks and batters hit .261 against him. He pitched just 22.2 innings last year, with 16 strikeouts and a 1.99 ERA over 14 appearances.
At 6’3″, 196 pounds, he has room to fill out still. That could help his fastball that tops out at 93 MPH. BA has his secondary pitch as a 78-81 MPH slider and they call it fringe-average. He also has a decent changeup and the ability to throw strikes. It’s not a great pitch arsenal for a fourth rounder out of college, but the Pirates must believe that there is still some projection left. While he’s mostly been a reliever, you would expect him to start at this point until he shows that it’s not a future option for him.