The MLB draft begins tonight at 7:00 PM EST. I am going to tell you all you really need to know about what the Pirates should do.
We will also be having a pre-draft podcast today at 3:30. That can be found here.
Let’s start it off by saying that there are four guys who almost assuredly won’t be there.
Mark Appel, RHP Stanford
Carlos Correa, SS Puerto Rican Baseball Academy
Kyle Zimmer, RHP San Francisco
Byron Buxton, OF Appling County HS
So they are wiped right off the board for the Buccos.
That said I will not include them in my top picks.
There are quite a few guys who the Pirates may have a shot at in this draft because the first round is such a toss up. No one really seems to know where anyone is going to be drafted.
1. Mike Zunino, C – Florida – In my opinion he is the top prospect in the draft. Many mocks have him falling to the Pirates but I really don’t see it happening. Zunino is a two way player. A good defensive catcher with a very strong, middle of the order, type bat. He is also polished, possibly ready next year.
Now I’m not ranking him so high because of his ETA, it’s pure talent. I am a big proponent of taking the best player available, especially in the MLB draft. Zunino is that guy.
2. Albert Almora, OF – Mater Academy – I really like High School bats. They are definitely risky, but you have the potential for them to be better, longer. Almora is the toolsiest outfielder in the draft. His bat is extremely polished for his age. He flashes four of five tools right now, with a very good chance to add power as he grows up.
He has a big enough frame to project that power on, and like Zunino would become a top five prospect in the organization.
3. Chris Stratton, RHP – Mississippi State – I don’t know why more people don’t like Stratton. He has good velocity and four good pitches. He is another guy who is close to the big leagues already and would likely be ready with Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon.
Stratton’s stuff stands up to anyone else’s and his refinement is pretty rare.
4. Max Fried, LHP – Harvard-Westlake High School – A high school pitcher is right down Neal Huntington’s alley. Fried is the top lefty in the draft. He is a huge risk/ huge reward pick. His ceiling is enormous. He hits the mid-90s, which is pretty decent velocity for a lefty but he is definitely a ways away. He isn’t as polished as Taillon was but his ceiling is just as high.
5. Kevin Gausman, RHP – Louisiana State – Gausman has good stuff, but his secondary stuff isn’t that great. That’s the book on him. You’d like to see better secondary stuff from a college pitcher. He has the upside of a number two pitcher, but could very well end up in a bullpen due to his limited amount of above average pitches.
6. Gavin Cecchini, SS – Barbe High School – Another high school bat and possibly the best SS prospect in the draft. Cecchini will stick at the position, and will give you really good defense. He doesn’t really profile to have a ton of power, but he has quick hands, and is a very patient hitter who uses all fields.
Someone there has to be available for the Pirates but I’m going to add one more player.
Deven Marrero, SS – Arizona State – This is the guy that many people are saying the Pirates will draft. It screams drafting for need. Merrero wasn’t a whiz with the bat, definitely not enough to be drafted so high. There is a very real chance he turns into a no-stick shortstop. There is upside to be sure, and he could turn out to be a very very good pick. He just seems like the type of guy who is very likely to bust.
There are plenty of reports out there that many teams don’t even have him in their top 20. He also doesn’t enter the teams top five after being drafted. Something every one of the above listed players would do.
Click here for more of my thoughts on Marrero.
There you have it. That’s all you need to know about the Pirates first round selection.