Pittsburgh Pirates: A Look at Three 2017 Pitching Draft Picks


The Pittsburgh Pirates invested three high draft picks in prep pitchers in this past draft.  Let’s take a look at how they are performing thus far in their first taste of the minors.

Shane Baz, Steven Jennings, and Cody Bolton were three prep pitchers that the Pittsburgh Pirates heavily invested in in this past draft.  All three were viewed as high upside picks, and for good reason.  Baz, who is now ranked by Baseball America as the Pittsburgh Pirates number four prospect, was the 12th overall pick.  Meanwhile, Jennings would have been a higher pick if not for tearing his ACL this past fall.  Lastly, Bolton was considered one of the harder to sign players in the draft, but the Bucs were able to sway the right handed pitcher to sign anyhow. So far all three of these upside prep draft picks have had a lot of success.

Shane Baz

Shane Baz is pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates Gulf Coast affiliate.  Baz has made four starts so far, pitching 8.2 innings across the four games.  Through those games, he has posted a 2.08 ERA.  He also has struck out eight batters, but has walked six.  Three of the walks came in his second start.  However, he followed up his poor second start with his best start of the four.  He threw three innings of scoreless baseball in his third start.  He punched out two batters and only walked one.  At this point, it seems that Baz has good stuff but has command issues from time to time.  Now, this could be due to mentally adjusting to professional baseball.  Still, it is good to see Baz posting solid numbers so far.

Steven Jennings

Like Baz, Steven Jennings is also pitching in the Gulf Coast League.  The number 42 overall draft pick has made three starts so far, pitching 7.1 innings.  So far he has a 3.68 ERA, giving up three earned runs on the season.  He also has given up two unearned runs.

In his first two starts he pitched very well, throwing a combined five innings, striking out four while walking two, and he did not yield any earned runs.  However, his most recent start was a rough one.  In 2.1 innings, he gave up four runs including the three earned runs on his record.  One positive is that he did strike out three batters and did not walk any.  The biggest concern so far for Jennings is that he has given up a total of 11 hits through his 7.1 innings.  With that being said, the Pittsburgh Pirates teach their young pitchers to pitch to contact, him giving up a lot of hits could be a result of him throwing a lot of strikes.

Cody Bolton

The last pitcher is sixth round pick Cody Bolton.  Bolton is also part of the Gulf Coast team’s pitching rotation.  He has made the least amount of starts between the three, only starting two games thus far.  Nonetheless, he has the best earned run average of the three sporting a nice 1.80 ERA.  In his two starts, he has pitched five innings, going two innings in his first start, and three innings in his most recent game.  He has struck out five so far, and has only walked one.  It is hard to assess Bolton so far, but it is good to see that he is striking batters out and has not piled up any walks.

Next: Shortstop gets a promotion

Rotation to Watch

The Gulf Coast affiliate has a really impressive rotation.  All three pitchers have a ton of upside and are pitching well so far.  The Pittsburgh Pirates paid out over slot deals for all three pitchers so it is expected that all three should be pitching well.  This is definitely a team to continue to check up on as all three of these pitchers will be important prospects going forward.