The MLB Draft completed on June 11th with rounds 11-40. The Pittsburgh Pirates made all their picks for those rounds. Through that, they made plenty of picks that could lead to some potential future prospects.
Many solid players have come from day three of the draft. Two of the Pittsburgh Pirates current position players were taken on on day three, John Jaso and Christ Stewart were both 12th round picks. There are also the extreme cases. Future Hall of Fame player Albert Pujols was drafted in the 13th round in 1999. Most recently elected Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza was a 62nd round pick.
After the first two days many experts speculate that the Pirates would save money with their third 10 rounds of selections. In doing so they would be able to take chances on prospects who slid to the third day. The Pirates draft strategy seems to be quantity over quality. The Pirates rather draft a lot of players with upside, than specific players who are being viewed as potential, future stars.
With all that being said, it took a few days to read, and watch scouting reports on the players the Pirates selected on three. Finally, with research being done let us take a look at the three best picks made by the Pirates on day three.
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The Highest Upside Pick:
Max Kranick, 11th Round, Right-Handed Pitcher, Valley View High School (PA)
Kranick is obviously the most intriguing pick on day three, and he was the first one for the Pirates. At the end of day two, RumBunter wrote about how the Pirates would likely be aggressive in the 11th round due to draft regulations be less strict on day three. We suggested with numerous upside, prep players falling to day three that they would be able to grab one in the 11th round. They did this two drafts ago when they selected Gage Hinsz who was projected as a top 5 round pick.
Kranick was ranked #84 on Baseball America’s top 500 draft prospect list. He was ranked much lower on MLB Pipeline at #179, but even with that the Pirates still got a quality prospect at pick #345. Kranick is your classic right-handed pitcher standing at 6’3” and 185 pounds. He has a strong commitment to the University of Virginia. However, being draft by a home state team and with the Pirates ability to get creative with their draft bonus pool, they maybe able to lure him away from the Cavaliers.
A quick scouting report on the right-handed pitcher from Pennsylvania. His fastball consistently sits at 91-92 miles per hour, what makes his fastball intriguing is that he is able to maintain his velocity deep in pitch counts. He has a plus change-up and a developing curve-ball. One thing that does concern scouts is his arm motion, some believe that he needs to clean his arm action up to stay healthy. One reason Kranick may have fell to the 11th round other than his commitment to Virginia is that he was considered one of the more raw prep arms in the top 200 ranks, and will need plenty of time to develop. Even so the Pirates got a highly rated prospect with an 11th round pick, he has upside and the Pirates will have the ability to give him as much time as needed to develop in the minor leagues.
The Pick with the Most Ties:
Kevin Mahala, 18th Round, Shortstop, George Washington University:
The Pirates selected four short stops on day three of the draft. The most intriguing one was 18th round pick Kevin Mahala. Mahala is a 6’3” and 190 pound athlete from George Washington University. Mahala is an interesting pick because he is very athletic and big. He has the ability to play short stop, but may be better suited for the outfield or second base.
The most intriguing thing about Mahala is he comes from George Washington University. There are two Pirate ties to that school. First comes from former Pirate’s hitting coach Gregg Ritchie, who is the Colonies current head coach. Second, is 2015 draft pick right-handed pitcher Shane Kemp. The Pirates’ staff most likely noticed Mahala’s play last year while scouting Kemp. How did they know to even go there? Most likely Ritchie invited a few of his former colleagues to come take a look at Kemp and other players on the team. Mahala obviously caught the eye of the Pirate scouts who were there. He was the Colonials best hitter this year putting together a .286 batting average and had 20 doubles with 47 RBI in 55 games played.
Best Late Round Pick:
Austin Shields, 33rd Round, Right-Handed Pitcher, St. Mary Catholic Secondary School, Canada:
Now obviously there is not a lot of information available on the very late round picks. However, the one player who is most intriguing is 33rd round pick Austin Shields. Shields is a big right-handed pitcher at 6’5” and 225 pounds. He hails from St. Mary Catholic Secondary School is a high school in Toronto, Canada. Shields is one of the better players in Canada currently, and he pitches for the National Junior Team. In fact, he appeared against some team’s minor leaguers during Spring Training as teams play some international teams as they prepare for the season.
The best thing about Shields is his fastball, which already has been clocked as high as 94 milers per hour. With his size, and strong arm, Shields has the potential to be a future power bullpen arm as he works his way through the minor leagues. He could develop as a starter, but with only having one true pitch as of now he likely will not be able to develop a three or four pitch mix to make it as one. Shields was ranked as the 6th best prospect in the draft out Canada, the Pirates got him the 33rd round. He will be a tough sign as he is committed to the University of British Columbia.
These three players are the most intriguing players from day three of the draft. It would be near impossible to cover all the picks from 11-40, and after a while it would become monotonous. Kranick is the biggest name for the Bucs on day three, he could have been a potential day one pick, but the Pirates will have a shot at signing him as a day three player. Mahala, may have never been drafted by the Pirates if not for the ties with George Washington head coach Gregg Ritchie. Austin Shields sounds like he could be a really big time arm for such a late draft pick, but the Pirates will have to be able to sign him away from his commitment and put the time in on him to develop him.
All Numbers are Courtesy of Baseball Cube and Baseball Reference