On Sunday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Pirates got a preview of the future. The Pirates No.26 prospect Max Kranick made his MLB debut and flirted with history. In a season in which the Pirates have struggled, Kranick showed why the future is bright. Against St. Louis, he was perfect as he earned his first Major league win. As the Pirates continue their rebuild, Kranick could be a piece out of the bullpen or rotation.
Against the Cardinals, Kranick went five innings and did allow a hit. He became the first player to record a debut start that ended with five or more perfect innings since 1893. With the Pirates looking for a series win, Kranick delivered one of the best performances by a Pirates starter this season.
Additionally, Kranick was not afraid to attack the strike zone. The twenty-three-year-old produced eight outs in the air while striking out three batters. The Pirates righty only needed 50 pitches to get through five innings. His bid for history was derailed when a 64- minute rain delay forced him from the game. Regardless it was still a day he will never forget.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 27, 2021
Before this season, Kranick had never pitched above the High-A levels of the minors. His work in the offseason however caught the Pirates eye. On Sunday he was rewarded the Pirates faith and earned praise from his teammates.
When asked about Kranick’s start, Pirates outfielder Ben Gamel told the media, “His tempo, he was making (great) pitches. How do you not rally behind that?” Gamel said. “He was quick, 1-2-3, 1-2-3. If you blink, you miss it.”
Will Kranick get another start?
With the All-Star break less than a month away, the Pirates have said they will use a six-man rotation into the break. It is unknown who the six-man will be, but Kranick made a good case on Sunday. If he isn’t sent back to Indianapolis, his next start would be during the weekend of July Fourth in Pittsburgh. For the Pennsylvania native, it would be a dream come true.
Regardless of what the Pirates decide, Kranick’s debut will be one of the top highlights of the 2021 season. He will get more opportunities in the majors. It’s only a question of when.
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-Jamie Gatlin (JamieGatlin17)