Rays Hope Third Time Is The Charm for 14th Rounder Chris Kirsch


It simply was not fair. You had a pro-caliber pitcher matching up against junior college hitters. And the results were staggering. Kirsch made 13 starts spanning 70 innings for Luckawanna Community College and allowed just 38 hits, striking out 101 while walking just 45. He tossed two no-hitters in an 8-day span. What could hitters do? He was just too good.

Kirch, a 6’2″, 185 left-handed pitcher was selected twice in the MLB Draft before being selected on Tuesday, by the Pirates in the 13th round of the 2010 draft, and in the 21st round in 2011 by the Cardinals. Both times he turned them down, putting himself back into the 2012 Draft, where the Rays made him their 14th round selection. They hope that Kirsch is finally willing to sign now.

Kirsch throws a low-90’s fastball that has touched 94 MPH with nice late bite, but that’s just the start with him as he throws four noteworthy pitches, with his secondary pitches being a curveball, a slider, and a changeup. His curveball is probably the best of the bunch, featuring sharp 1-to-7 break at times, but his other two pitches have the potential to be at least average moving forward. Kirsch does have his struggles with control and especially command of all his pitches, but he still has a very good arsenal. Kirsch also may have some projection remaining and could get his velocity on his fastball up a bit more. Kirsch probably has number three or even number two starter upside, and whether he gets there or anywhere near there will have to do with his command and the continued development of his secondary pitches. But will he finally sign?

Kirsch has leverage not to sign again as he is committed to transfer to VCU for 2012. People question his desire to play pro ball. But he has considerable potential and the Rays will go their best to get him in their organization.