Pittsburgh Pirates 2018 Draft: #51 Overall Pick
After taking a college outfielder and a high school right-handed pitcher, the Pittsburgh Pirates made their second-round pick at number 51 overall.
The Pittsburgh Pirates were able to add two very intriguing prospects with their first two picks in the draft. At pick number 10 they took college outfielder Travis Swaggerty. Then they added a big, power righty in Gunnar Hoglund with their Competitive Balance pick at number 36. The team had another high pick at number 51, which was their second-round pick. With this pick, the Pittsburgh Pirates took another big prep righty by the name of Braxton Ashcraft.
Ashcraft is a tall righty out of Robinson High School in Texas. He stands at 6’5” and weighs 195 pounds. Based on this frame, Ashcraft has a lot of room to continue and grow into as he gets older. When the Pittsburgh Pirates draft players like this they plan on them physically maturing into their bodies and therefore adding more miles per hour to their fastball. Ashcraft as of now is throwing in the high 80s and gets into the lower 90s, but with his frame should reach to the mid-90s when it is all said and done. Here is more of a scouting report from MLB Pipeline:
"“Ashcraft has a loose, quick arm yet there were games this spring when he was pitching at 85-88 mph in the late innings. He created excitement among scouts when he began sitting at 92 mph and topping out at 94 during the postseason, and his heater also features sink and his 6-foot-5 frame creates difficult extension and angle. He has promising tilt on his slider that currently sits in the upper 70s but should be at least a solid offering once he adds more consistent power.”"
Next: #36 Overall Pick Gunnar Hoglund
The first thing that pops out from his scouting report is that his fastball has sink to it. As many Pittsburgh Pirates fans know, the Bucs love to develop movement of their pitcher’s fastballs. The fact that Ashcraft is already throwing a sinking fastball gets him a little ahead of other pitchers in the Bucs lower minors. MLB Pipeline had the Baylor commit ranked as the number 64 best prospect available. Meanwhile, Baseball America had him ranked number 58. While he was a little bit of a reach at number 51, he has all the tools the Pittsburgh Pirates look for in young prep arms. The Bucs were allotted $1.38 million and while he has a strong commitment to Baylor, the team should be able to give him more money than he expected by reaching on him by a few picks.