CONNER LOEPRICH, RIGHT-HANDED PITCHER
|Born: September 13,1997
Drafted: 20th Round, 594th Overall, 2018
How Acquired: Draft
College: St Mary’s College
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Loeprich was the fifth right-handed pitcher in a row selected by the Pirates out of college in the 2018 draft. He was mostly a reliever during his three years at St Mary’s College. As a freshman, he had just three appearances. Loeprich threw 52 innings as a junior, making six starts and ten relief appearances. He had a 4.15 ERA, holding the opposition to a .261 average while walking just ten batters, but he picked up only 36 strikeouts. As a junior, the ERA rose to 4.78 and batters hit .298 against him. Loeprich ended up pitching just 32 innings, making five starts and 14 relief appearances. Despite 20 fewer innings, his walks and home runs allowed both went up. The only good part was an increase in his strikeout rate, from 6.2 per nine innings in 2017 to 7.8. Loeprich throws in the low-90s, reaching 94. His main pitches are a cutter and curve, and he also throws a slider and change.
Pitching in short relief, often as the closer, Loeprich had a good debut season. He had some control issues, but opponents hit only .178 against him and he had a good K rate. He had a reverse platoon split, with an opponents’ OPS of .418 against left-handed hitters and .704 against right-handed.
Loeprich opened the season in Greensboro. He pitched in relief but made three spot starts. In July the Pirates moved him up to Bradenton and he pitched mostly as a starter. He was much more effective as a reliever: opponents had an OPS of .848 against him as a starter and .674 as a reliever. (The low ERA at Bradenton resulted from his last two outings, when he totaled 11.1 IP with just one run allowed in relief.) On the season he showed good control but got hit a little hard; opponents batted .286 against him at both levels. He had a minimal platoon split.
Loeprich seems to have become something of a utility pitcher. His role going forward will probably depend on need.
|2020: Minor league contract
MiLB Debut: 2018
MiLB FA Eligible: 2024
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: 2021
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 6, 2018: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 20th round, 594th overall pick; signed on June 13.|