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Pirates All 40: An Important Spring Awaits Max Kranick



Pittsburgh Pirates, Max Kranick

This is one in a series of stories breaking down members of the Pittsburgh Pirates 40-man roster.

Max Kranick has been away from the major leagues for 19 months. However, that doesn’t mean the Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander should be forgotten.

Recovered from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery, the 26-year-old figures to compete for what currently looks like two open spots in the Pirates’ rotation during spring training.

Kranick had his surgery on June 3, 2022, and did not pitch in a professional game until Aug. 13, 2023. While he did not return to the big leagues this year, Kranick finished strongly at Triple-A Indianapolis.

Kranick was 0-1 with a 2.76 ERA in seven starts for Indianapolis. He allowed zero or one run in six of those outings. He also finished the year on a good note by pitching 3.1 innings against Rochester.

Kranick started his comeback with Low-A Bradenton and showed some rust. He was tagged for six runs (five earned) in 1.1 innings by Fort Myers with three walks and no strikeouts.

However, Kranick pitched three scoreless innings against Lakeland six days later and was promoted to Triple-A. He allowed just seven hits in 16.1 innings overall for Indy while striking out 12 and walking six.

Kranick made his major-league debut with the Pirates in 2021, going 2-3 with a 5.68 ERA in nine starts and finishing the season in the big leagues. His first game was quite memorable as he pitched five perfect innings against the Cardinals in St. Louis.

After starting the 2022 season in the minor leagues, Kranick was called to Pittsburgh in early May. He made two scoreless relief appearances covering five innings but did not pitch after a three-inning stint against the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 11 before having surgery.

The Pirates have had high hopes for Kranick since selecting him in the 11th round of the 2016 amateur draft from Valley View High School in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area. They signed him to a $300,000 bonus to get him to give up a scholarship to the University of Virginia.

Kranick is out of minor-league options, so he must make the team in spring training or be exposed to waivers.

The Pirates’ first three starters appear set with Mitch Keller and left-handers Martin Perez and Marco Gonzales. However, Kranick figures to be a group of pitchers fighting for the last two spots that could include lefties Bailey Falter and Jackson Wolf and right-handers Luis Ortiz, Quinn Priester, Kyle Nicolas and Paul Skenes.

If Kranick doesn’t crack the rotation, the Pirates could use him as a multi-inning reliever.

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