The Domination Before The Storm: Max Kranick
|Photo Credit- Jeff Curry USA Today|
I'm rarely able to watch a game live anymore between school, work, and life in general but yesterday, June 27th, 2021, I made sure I got all my chores and life out of the way in order to watch this Pirates game. You may ask why and if you do, I must ask, ARE YOU LIVING UNDER A ROCK?! Max Kranick, the Scranton native, was set to make his MLB debut, and before we get into this game, I felt it necessary to talk about how Kranick even got here.
Kranick was drafted out of high school in 2016 in the 11th round. Kranick, who came out of Valley View High School, had a very traditional delivery and was a classic over slot pick with upside. For as much crap Neal Huntington got, the man knew how to draft. It's the development aspect that failed the previous regime.
Back in 2017, Fangraphs talked about Kranick, and in fact, this is what Longenhagen had to say about the young man. "A projectable righty from a cold-weather climate with a low-90s fastball, Kranick also has some breaking-ball feel and hides the ball well. The delivery has some effort, and the change needs to develop. A No. 4 or 5 extreme ceiling for me."
Little did we all know Kranick would revamp his entire mechanics. Thanks to former Pirates pitcher Vic Black Kranick had somewhat of a revitalization by not only feeling healthy, but we saw a short arm action with a big velo jump. Kranick has turned to some of the brightest minds the Pirates have in not only Vic Black but the fast-rising Joel Hanrahan.
Kranick's Old Delivery
Kranick's New Delivery and Mechanics
In a way, we all could say that the pandemic was a blessing in disguise for a lot of players but especially Mr. Max Kranick, who has built himself up and has tasted major league baseball at the very young age of 23. Will he be here to stay with the Pirates, mentioning a 6-man rotation, or will he be sent back down? Only time will tell, but I think it's now time to discuss this (ahem) perfect outing of his.
To start things off, I think it's crazy that Max Kranick had his first Major League AB before he even threw his first pitch. Hats off to the Pirates batters to give this young man an early lead and make him a little less nervous. I remember thinking if Kranick delivers a base hit and drives in at least two runs, he will forever be a legend no matter what he does from there on out.
We finally see Kranick throw his first pitch for a strike, and honestly, the rest was history for him. The storm was not only brewing for the St. Louis area in the sky, but it was also brewing for the Cards batters in Max Joseph Kranick. The young man attacked the strike zone and didn't seem fazed at all, with names like Goldshmidt and Arenado licking their chops to hammer the 23-year-old greenhorn.
Kranick went on to retire 15 batters in a row, tossing a perfect game before mother nature mercifully halted the game for the Cardinals, and the delay lasted about an hour and change. To answer your question, no, Derek Shelton should not have thrown Kranick back out there. You don't risk a player's health for "history" or for the fans. Give the young man the traditional hug and vote confidence and let him rest.
Kranick's final line yesterday read 5.0 IP, 0 hits, 0 ER's, 0 BB's, and 3K's. The craziest stat for me was how efficient and aggressive he was yesterday. He threw just 50 pitches, and 36 of them were for strikes; basic math should tell you he threw exactly a 72% strike rate. Nothing short of perfection, and to boot, he became the first Pirate since Paul Maholm to get his first W in his MLB debut.
Now, the biggest question to everyone, including me, is, do you keep Kranick in the Majors, or do you send him back down? I personally would like to see Kranick stay and be a part of that 6-man rotation and continue to develop in the majors. We all should realize he will face bumps in the road, and I would rather those bumps happen up here and have PC Marin and company teach him than for it to happen in Indy.
Let me know what you guys think down in the comments. Is Kranick going to be a mainstay when the Pirates make a push? Is he a back-end starter? Will Kranick be sent back down? Loads of questions, and hopefully, we get those answers sooner rather than later.