AARON PRIBANIC
RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
Born: September 1, 1986
Height: 6′ 4″
Weight: 200
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Drafted: 3rd Round, 98th Overall, 2008
How Acquired: Trade (for Jack Wilson/Ian Snell)
College: Nebraska
Agent: N/A

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

The Pirates obtained Pribanic and two other RHPs (Brett Lorin and Nathan Adcock) along with C/1B Jeff Clement and SS Ronny Cedeno for SS Jack Wilson and RHP Ian Snell.  Pribanic went to Hutchinson (KA) CC for two years before going to Nebraska.  Baseball America rated him Seattle’s 27th best prospect going into 2009.  Pribanic falls into a category that seems endlessly fascinating to some people in MLB, including the Pirates’ front office:  the one-pitch sinkerball pitcher.  He throws a heavy sinker that comes in at 91-94, occasionally harder.  He complements it with a slider and curve, and a splitter that he uses in place of a change.  None of his offspeed stuff needs work gets good movement, however, and he misses very few bats.  He’s mostly been an extreme groundball pitcher, with groundout to air out ratios ranging from 2.02 to 2.98, until 2011, when it was only 1.46.

2008
R:  1-2-0, 15.43 ERA, 2.79 WHIP, 4.2 IP, 9.6 BB/9, 9.6 K/9 

Pribanic pitched only briefly in short season ball in 2008.

2009
A (Sea):  7-6-0, 3.21 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 87 IP, 2.7 BB/9, 5.6 K/9
A (Pgh):  4-2-0, 2.15 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 37.2 IP, 1.2 BB/9, 4.3 K/9 

Pribanic pitched well with Seattle’s low A affiliate, allowing only one HR, but with a very low K rate.  After the trade, he got even better results for West Virginia, but with an even lower K rate.  Oddly, he allowed five HRs with the Power in fewer than half as many innings as he threw with the Mariners.

2010
A+:  7-6-0, 3.33 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 154 IP, 1.9 BB/9, 4.1 K/9 

Got off to a rough start at Bradenton.  In 12 starts prior to the FSL All-Star break, he had an ERA of 5.34 and allowed 12.3 hits per nine innings.  In his last 15 starts, though, his ERA was 2.03 and he allowed only 7.1 hits per nine.  His ERA in July and August was 1.60.  His K rate dropped even lower than previously.

2011
AA:  10-9-0, 3.88 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 153 IP, 1.6 BB/9, 4.2 K/9 

Pribanic had a highly variable season at Altoona.  He was outstanding in April and May, with a 2.29 ERA and 1.02 WHIP.  He struggled through June and July, with a 6.59 ERA, as opponents walloped him for a .353 average.  He rebounded after that, with a 2.37 ERA, as opponents hit just .223 against him.  Once again, he walked and struck out very few.  He had the most trouble with right-handed hitters, who batted .301 against him and averaged 1.1 HRs per nine innings.

2012
R:  1-1-0, 4.40 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 14.1 IP, 5.7 BB/9, 4.4 K/9
A+:  0-0-0, 0.00 ERA, 3.60 WHIP, 1.2 IP, 21.6 BB/9, 0.0 K/9
AA:  0-2-0, 7.36 ERA, 2.55 WHIP, 11.0 IP, 9.0 BB/9, 4.9 K/9

Pribanic was eligible for the Rule 5 draft but was not selected.  He opened the season in the Altoona rotation.  He struggled through three starts, then went on the disabled list with a sore shoulder.  He returned in July on a rehab assignment in the GCL, but he mostly struggled and the rehab stretched out through the end of the season, finishing with one appearance for Bradenton.  He had labrum surgery in the off-season.

2013-14
INJURED

Following the labrum surgery, Pribanic missed all of the next two seasons.

I’ve never really understood the obsession with sinkerball pitchers who don’t miss bats.  As Pribanic’s extreme inconsistency in 2010-11 suggests, the results are heavily dependent on chance.  This probably includes both the umpire’s strike zone and the likelihood, actually the certainty, that on some days a lot of the grounders will just go through.  A stretch of games Pribanic had starting in late July 2011 is an example.  On July 26, he threw seven shutout innings, allowing just four hits.  Five days later, he gave up twelve hits and six earned runs in three and a third innings.  Two starts later, he again threw seven four-hit, shutout innings.

In any event, Pribanic was expected back from labrum surgery late in the 2013 season, but did not make it back either then or the following year.  He’s now eligible for minor league free agency.

STATS
Baseball Reference–Minors
Fangraphs
MiLB.com
CONTRACT INFORMATION
2013: Minor League Contract
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: $390,000
MiLB Debut: 2008
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2014
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: 2011
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
TRANSACTIONS
June 5, 2008: Drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 3rd round, 98th overall pick; signed on July 25.
July 29, 2009: Acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Seattle Mariners along with Jeff Clement, Ronny Cedeno, Brett Lorin, and Nathan Adcock in exchange for Jack Wilson, Ian Snell, and cash.