Brett Lorin, 22, made his minor league debut in 2008 after being drafted in the fifth round by the Seattle Mariners.
Lorin had a 1.94 ERA and a no-hitter as a senior at Dana Hills (CA) high school, where he was a teammate of Tanner Scheppers. He was also a talented hoopster, averaging 15 points and 8 boards per game, and led the league in blocked shots. Oh, did we mention he was 6-7?
He decided to cast his fate in baseball, but struggled at the University of Arizona. After a medical redshirt in 2006, he had a 9.31 ERA in 10 innings of work in '07. Lorin transferred to Cal State Long Beach, and was 5-3 with a 2.61 ERA as a junior. The M's figured good enough, and took him in the draft, inking him for $170K.
Starting out in short-season ball and then advancing to low Class A in the Seattle organization, he was 1-2 with a 3.96 ERA. He worked 51-1/3 frames, fanning 61 but walking 25. Lorin was named Everett's Pitcher of the Year in the short-season Northwest League, the equivalent of the Pirates' State College nine.
Lorin started 2009 strong, going 5-4 with a 2.44 ERA for the Clinton Lumber Kings in low Class A, fanning 87 in 88-2/3 innings with an opponent batting average of .192.
He came to Pittsburgh in the Jack Wilson/Ian Snell deal, and was assigned to the same level at West Virginia. Lorin kept on keepin' on, going 3-1 with a 1.57 ERA in 5 starts.
Overall, the righty put together an 8-5 record with a 2.20 ERA, 116 K's in 123 innings, and slashed his walk rate from 4.3/9IP in 2008 to 2.6 in 2009, issuing 35 free passes. It showed in his WHIP of 1.049, pretty good stuff for a starter, albeit in the low bushes.
Lorin is a big guy at 6' 7" and 245 pounds. Because of his size, lack of experience - his college career consisted of 58 innings - and performance so far, he's an intriguing prospect in regards to his upside, drawing comparisons to Chris Young, the 6-10 Padre pitcher that started in the Pirate organization.
His fastball ranges between 88 and 92 MPH, topping out at 94, and scouts believe because of his height and rawness, he could add some velocity over time to his heat, perhaps getting it up to a consistent mid-90s range.
Lorin's best pitch is a sharp three quarters breaking ball. He's got a decent but still developing changeup. It's helped him master left handed batters, who hit him for a .191 average in 2009, and a .216 clip in 2008.
Lorin throws on a downward plane that gets the ball on hitters in a hurry, and that angle leads to missed bats and grounders. A key for him will be his command; it was terrible his rookie season, but improved greatly in 2009. He'll have to keep ahead of hitters to continue his rise, though, unless his heat becomes a little hotter.
According to MLB Prospect Watch, Lorin has the best chance to succeed of the Pirates trio of pitchers (Lorin, Nate Adcock and Aaron Pribanic) snagged from the M's, while Matthew Pouliot of NBC Sports considered him the sleeper of the trade. Baseball America rated him Seattle's 28th best prospect in 2009. Lorin's projected as a middle of the rotation arm.
Pittsburgh kept him at West Virginia last year instead of moving him up to Lynchburg to guarantee him some steady work. Lorin should start at High A Bradenton in 2010.
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