Pirates Claim Right-Handed Pitcher Ashton Goudeau from the Rockies; DFA Will Craig

According to Robert Murray, the Pittsburgh Pirates are claiming 28-year-old right-handed pitcher Ashton Goudeau off waivers from the Colorado Rockies. He debuted in the majors this season, throwing 8.1 innings over four relief appearances. Goudeau allowed seven runs (7.56 ERA) on 15 hits, with two walks and two strikeouts.

Goudeau was a 27th round draft pick in 2012 by the Kansas City Royals. He has spent a good deal of his minor league time in Double-A, where he has a 4.25 ERA and a 237:66 SO/BB ratio in 279.1 innings. He has just 37.1 innings of Triple-A experience, posting an 8.20 ERA during that time. Goudreau had an impressive showing in the Arizona Fall League in 2019, throwing 13 shutout innings on four hits, no walks and 18 strikeouts.

Despite his age and lack of Triple-A success, Fangraphs rated him as the 13th best prospect for the Rockies coming into 2020. He sits low-90s, touching 96 MPH with his fastball and has what they describe as a plus curve, along with above average command. The real reason he made their top 30 is this quote from the linked article:

Goudeau epitomizes fastball spin efficiency, creating near perfect backspin and seam uniformity on his heater, giving it bat-missing carry at the top of the strike zone.

MLB Pipeline also said that he had an average changeup offering, though it improved due to a slight grip change.  His fastball was also helped by a grip change. Pipeline had Goudeau ranked 23rd in the Rockies system earlier this year.

Despite the praise, Goudeau was placed on waivers on November 20th. He had three stints with the Rockies this year, but he pitched just four times in 29 days total on the active roster.

UPDATE: The Pirates announced the deal and they DFA’d first baseman Will Craig to make room. That’s somewhat surprising considering no one would be excited about trading Craig for Goudeau, but the Pirates really handled Craig poorly during his two brief stints in the majors last year when there was nothing to lose by playing him over basically anyone on a 19-41 team. That was probably the writing on the wall for him. Maybe he sneaks through waivers, but who knows with a guy who was a first round pick four years ago.