Pirates All 40: What will Max Kranick look like after Tommy John?

This is the story in a series looking at the members of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 40-man roster.

Max Kranic He is an interesting pitcher to consider for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He pitches a basic combination of outfield with a four-seam, slider, curveball, and occasional changeup, with average to above-average speed at the four-seam.

However, Kranik has above average ingredients an arm The Pirates could use it during a grueling 162-game schedule in 2023.

Kranik, who was drafted in the 11th round of the 2016 draft out of high school near Scranton and, with a $300,000 signing bonus, decommitted from the University of Virginia and joined the professional circuit.

The 25-year-old Penn State native has found himself rising through the Pirates system, despite landing on the injured list more often than not, but 2020 is when everything will change for the youngster.

Since the pandemic wiped out any minor league season from taking place, Kranik was left with few options once he was invited to the Buccaneers’ camp in Altoona.

Former Pirates and Mets player Vic Black found himself with the Pirates again as pitching coach. After several conversations with Kranik, Black retools everything about Kranik’s delivery.

Kranick would then have a short arm approach, which helped his pesky shoulder issues in a big way, and even gave him a speed boost.

Fast forward to 2021, and Kranic made his major league debut on June 27 against the St. Louis Cardinals. Kranick was pitching five perfect innings, using the slider, curve ball, and four seam. Things started out as good as they could for the little ones.

Cranek’s shooting arsenal has been interesting to watch as the season goes on. His four seams batted to . 367, but his slider (. 240) and curveball (. 188) fared fairly well against major league competition.

One could argue that Cranick should rely more on his curve and slider and possibly reduce his use of four layers, which was at 48.5%.

When the ’21 season ended, Kranik blew things up in his face and finished the season with a ballooning 6.28 ERA in 38.2 innings pitched, but hope remained heading into the 2022 season.

The Pirates would only use Karnick for five full innings before ending up again on the IL all season, and it eventually emerged that he had Tommy John surgery.

It usually takes nine months to a year for a pitcher to fully recover from said surgery, but everyone’s body is different, so it’s hard to know whether or not Kranick will return to the mound in 2023.

If Cranky does indeed return, you can expect the pirate to use it sparingly and with the utmost caution. Another typical Tommy John side effect is increased velocity, so we might expect Kranick to bump towards the upper 90s instead of the typical 94-95.

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