Pittsburgh Pirates: A Look at a few Mock Drafts

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Pirates have the 12th overall pick in the MLB Draft this year.  The draft will take place on June 12th this year.  Here are some mock drafts from around the internet.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are drafting higher than they have over the last few seasons.  This year, the Pirates will be drafting at number 12 overall.  Originally the Pirates we picking at 13, but they moved up a spot when the Rockies signed Ian Desmond, who was given a qualifying offer.  The Pirates farm system is still in the top half of the league, but they also have graduated a lot of top prospects over the last few seasons.  There is a lot of different directions they could go in, so here are the latest projections from some of the mock drafts around the internet.

Call to the Pen

The first mock draft comes from FanSided’s MLB page Call to the Pen.  They put out their newest mock draft early last week.  With the 12th pick, they have the Pittsburgh Pirates selecting first baseman Pavin Smith.  Smith is a college bat from the University of Virginia. He is largely considered the most advanced college bat in the draft as in terms of being a pure hitter.  The one main issue is the Pittsburgh Pirates rarely draft first baseman.

Normally, the Pirates look for the most projectable pitchers or the position player at the most valuable position.  The Pirates aim for players who are normally either shortstops or center fielders because they are likely athletic enough to play most other positions.  Also, the Pirates took a first baseman last year with their first-round pick.  It is unlikely that the Bucs go back in that direction for the second year in a row.

Baseball America

The second mock draft is from Baseball America.  They are taking more of the approach that I just wrote about above.  The third version of Baseball America’s mock draft has the Pittsburgh Pirates selecting a second baseman/outfielder.  The player is Keston Hiura, who is a college bat from the University of California Irvine.  The Pittsburgh Pirates love to draft athletic players, but they also look for players who have high contact rates and show plate discipline.  Hiura’s biggest fault is he is not particular a great defender at any certain position. Because of this, he is ranked to go lower in the first round compared to where the Bucs are picking.  Still, the Bucs may feel his advanced bat is too good to pass on, and they will be able to develop him at a certain position. Plus they could save some money to spend later in the draft.

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MLB Pipeline

The last mock draft is from MLB Pipeline’s Jonathan Mayo.  Mayo is typically one of the draft analysts that is on the set during MLB Network’s televised portion of the draft. He thinks that the Pittsburgh Pirates may stray away from their recent draft strategy by taking a player who may not be an on-base type of guy.  Mayo projects the Pirates to take Jeren Kendall, an athletic outfielder from Vanderbilt.  In a way, he fits the Pittsburgh Pirates standard of taking highly athletic players.

Right now Kendall is a center fielder, which is generally what the Pirates take when they draft outfielders.  The fact that he can play center now means he can shift to a corner spot down the road if need be.  Mayo does write about the major flaw in Kendall’s game.  He is prone to strikeouts, something that the Pittsburgh Pirates as an organization have tried to get away from.  The Bucs last two drafts were Kevin Newman and Will Craig, both low strikeout and high on-base type players.  Kendall would look to be more of power bat with a lower contact rate.

Next: Huntington on Spending

Thoughts on Mock Drafts

Will the Pittsburgh Pirates draft any of these prospects?  Chances are that it is not highly likely.  Mock drafts in baseball are very hard to predict, mainly because of prep players being involved.  There are a lot of players who rise late in the process.  Also, with the draft bonus limitations, some teams pass on certain players due to their overall strategy.  The best thing about mock drafts in baseball is just learning some of the names that are likely to be available around the time the Pittsburgh Pirates are picking.  So take these for what they are worth, but the draft is three weeks away and the Bucs will be adding another premium prospect to their system.