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Pirates claim former top prospect from Mariners, complete 40-man roster

Aaron Fletcher, 26, gave up 11 runs in eight innings for Seattle between 2020 and 2021.

Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The return of baseball not only guarantees another season of action on the diamond, but the return of dumpster diving by the Pittsburgh Pirates as well.

Earlier today, the team announced on Twitter that they have claimed LHP Aaron Fletcher off waivers from the Seattle Mariners, filling the remaining spot on their 40-man roster.

Fletcher, 26, was a former No. 23 prospect in the Mariners’ organization, but fell off the wagon while in the MLB after surrendering 11 earned runs in eight innings pitched between the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Opponents hit .359 between both seasons against him, notching seven hits in each.

The southpaw did earn kudos for his work during Spring Training last year, as according to the Minor League Report, farm director Andy McKay said Fletcher, among others, were “great in live BP and simulated games,” but judging by the aforementioned statistics, it did not carry over into the regular season.

Fletcher’s charts from Baseball Savant show that hitters ate up his pitches in the lower inside corner – judging from a catcher’s perspective – but saw some success pitching in other areas.

His main weakness: his pitch arsenal.

Fletcher brings a three-pitch menu to Pittsburgh consisting of a sinker, changeup and slider, with the latter showing the most success in terms of whiff rate of 80 percent last season. In addition, his velocity tops out in the lower 90s.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that his main goal will be to eat innings when things get really good or really bad, unless Oscar Marin can turn him into the second coming of Cy Young, which is doubtful. This is a low risk, high reward claim and it fills a need for the time being.

Despite the low outcome, all hopes are high for him to turn his career around in Pittsburgh.