In our 5th installment in the series, today we have Chad Kuhl’s (New Market 2012) prospect writeups by three outlets. Chad had an excellent season in Double-A for the Altoona Curve in 2015, finishing the year 11-5, 2.48 in 152 2/3 innings pitched, along with a 1.14 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9, and 6.0 K/9.
Kuhl is getting some love as a starter prospect, but I like him more as a potential bullpen arm. The command is fringy for the rotation, although there’s enough potential that he may be able to ground ball and weak contact his way into a fifth-starter role.
Over the last couple of years, top pitching prospects like Tyler Glasnow and Jameson Taillon have understandably gotten much of the Pirates’ prospect-related ink. Quietly, a bit under the radar, Kuhl has progressed and is knocking on the big league door.
The 2013 draftee out of the University of Delaware has been effective everywhere he’s pitched. He led the organization in wins and finished sixth in the Florida State League in ERA in 2014, his first full season. The jump to Double-A? No problem. Kuhl finished third in the Eastern League in ERA there and finished with a strong start in the Triple-A International League playoffs. He does this largely with an outstanding sinking fastball. The Pirates covet pitchers who can put the ball on the ground and Kuhl does that about as well as anyone in the system. His secondary stuff — a slider and a changeup — continue to develop and both could be Major League-average pitches when all is said and done.
Kuhl has proven to be very durable, topping 150 innings in each of his two full seasons of pro ball. He has the chance to be a mid-rotation starter who logs a lot of meaningful innings for a big league rotation.
And lastly, John Sickels ranks him #19:
Age 23, posted 2.48 ERA with 101/41 K/BB in 153 innings in Double-A, 1.69 GO/AO, ninth round pick in 2013 from University of Delaware, sleeper prospect has emerged as real rotation candidate with low-90s sinker, average slider and change.
Interesting. Fangraphs sees him in the bullpen, but Sickels sees him as a “real rotation candidate.” One thing is for sure, though; if he continues to perform like he did in 2015, he will force his way to the major leagues!