Right-hander Paul Skenes generated all of the buzz when it came to the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 2023 draft class.
The LSU-product was selected with the first overall pick of the draft and came with plenty of hype as a prospect. Many in the industry said he was the best draft pitching prospect since Stephen Strasburg in 2009.
Even with Skenes dominating the headlines of the draft, the Pirates made 20 other picks in the ensuing rounds.
For one of those picks, the Pirates didn’t have to look very far for. In the fourth round (104th overall), the Pirates selected right-handed pitcher Carlson Reed from West Virginia University.
Reed, considered the No. 196 overall draft prospect in this year’s class according to MLB Pipeline, stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 200 pounds. The native of Marietta, Georgia is still only 20 years old, not turning 21 until the end of November.
Reed gives the Pirates an interesting arm to their crop of minor league pitchers.
For starters, the right-hander’s pitch mix is intriguing. He has a pair of above-average offerings which sits in a mid-90s fastball and a slider that has shown the ability to miss bats.
His best pitch, however, is a plus-changeup that registers in the mid-80s on the radar gun. According to Pipeline, his changeup is a 60-grade on the 20-80 scouting scale.
While with the Mountaineers, the majority of his time came out of the bullpen, and Reed put together the best season of his collegiate career in 2023.
In 25 appearances, Reed posted a 2-1 record and recorded seven saves to go along with a 2.61 ERA. He struck out 60 batters — by far his career high — in only 38 innings.
The one area of his game that he needs to improve upon at the next level is his control. In 110.1 career innings with West Virginia, Reed walked 64 batters (5.2 walks per nine innings). This last year, he walked nearly six batters per nine innings after issuing 25 free passes.
The good news for Reed is that he now gets to learn from professional coaches who will work with him to improve his control to try and maximize his value.
He already has the stuff as evident by his three impressive pitch arsenal, so harnessing everything will be the key for him as he looks to make his way up the Pirates’ minor league ranks.
The Pirates signed Reed to a $600K signing bonus as he was one of the first four draftees to sign in this year’s cycle.
As he starts his professional career, Reed is one to keep an eye for the Pirates.