When the Tampa Bay Rays dealt Chris Archer to the Pittsburgh Pirates at the trade deadline, they received Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows and a third player to be named later (PTBNL). On Tuesday that player was named — right-handed pitching prospect Shane Baz.
Baz was Pittsburgh’s 12th overall selection in the 2017 MLB draft and signed for $4.1-million. He has performed to a 3.91 ERA in 20 professional starts (69 innings of work) while striking out 73 and walking 37 (1.97% K/BB). His 26.1% strikeout rate is good, however, his control is shaky.
Before coming over the Rays Baz, 19, was ranked fourth in the Pirates prospect system and 95th overall according to MLB Pipeline. The right-hander grades out at an overall 50, and has been lauded for his deep repertoire compared to most young pitchers. According to FanGraphs, he has high marks on his mid-90’s fastball (55/60) and also boasts a cutter (45/60) that he can manipulate to get sliding action, a curveball (50/60) and a changeup (60) which is his weakest option.
According to MLB Pipeline Baz should be able to find the strike zone consistently as he refines his approach:
Baz has a combination of deep repertoire and projection that gives him a very high ceiling. His fastball velocity picked up in his senior year. He’ll sit at 92-96 mph and can reach back for 98 mph, with the ability to run and sink it while not losing velocity deep into his starts. He can miss bats with a plus cutter that he can turn into a true slider, and he also spins a distinctly different curveball. His changeup gives him another potential Major League average pitch. A solid athlete, Baz should be able to find the strike zone consistently as he refines his delivery.
Tampa Bay assigned Baz to their Appalachian League team in Princeton, and next season he should be moved to Bowling Green where he can hone his potential for the Rays.
While it’s still technically too early to determine who won the trade between Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh, the Rays got Tyler Glasnow, who is already paying dividends, and Austin Meadows, who should be promoted to the big leagues in the near future. The Rays also got a high ceiling player in Baz, who could impact the team down the road. Meanwhile, the Pirates received Chris Archer, who has relinquished nine runs on 18 hits and six walks over 14-1/3 innings. I’ll let you decide.