The Pittsburgh Pirates do not have to draft for a few months, but there are mock drafts already coming out. The most recent one has the team selecting a pitcher.
The Pittsburgh Pirates and the rest of Major League Baseball will be drafting their next top prospects come the first week of June. While that seems a long ways off, preparation for the upcoming event is already underway. Multiple sites are already putting out top draft prospect lists and mock drafts.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have the 18th overall pick in this year’s draft after finishing in the top half of the league in terms of record. Last season the team had the tenth pick and selected a college outfielder by the name of Travis Swaggerty, who was considered the best all-around college outfielder available. So who will the team look to grab in this year’s draft?
Baseball America is one of, if not the, best sites when it comes to draft analysis. Every year they put out numerous mocks with in-depth analysis and by draft time have a top 500 prospect list compiled. So naturally, they already have put out their first mock draft of the new year.
Carlos Collazo of Baseball America projects the Pittsburgh Pirates to take a college pitcher at number 18 overall. Collazo is projecting right-handed starter Tyler Dyson of the University of Florida to go the Pittsburgh Pirates. Dyson is physically what the Pittsburgh Pirates look for in righty starters, standing at 6’3” and weighing 210 pounds. Here is some of Baseball America’s scouting report on Dyson:
"“At his best, Dyson can be as electric as his former Gators teammates. He can run his fastball into the mid-90s and mixes in a sharp slider and an effective changeup. Listed at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, he has the size, stuff and control to start.”"
Dyson makes sense for a lot of reasons. First, as Collazo states, the team has not drafted a college pitcher since they took Mark Appel in the first round of the 2012 draft. Keep in mind the Pittsburgh Pirates did not sign Appel, which means it really has not been since Gerrit Cole in 2011. Also, he notes that the University of Florida has become a pipeline for producing starting pitcher prospects.
However, there is more to it than just those reasons. The way the Pittsburgh Pirates operated last year proves that they need to bring in some quality pitching prospects. First off, they drafted prep pitcher Gunnar Hoglund with the Competitive Balance pick but were unable to sign him. Next, they traded away two top 10 pitching prospects in Taylor Hearn and Shane Baz (first round pick from 2017). Furthermore, they saw top pitching prospect Mitch Keller reach Triple-A, meaning he could be up as soon as this June.
With the Bucs window seemingly starting to open with so much young talent of the roster, it might make sense to get an upside college arm that could move up the system quicker. Also, Dyson could help put another quality pitching prospect in the system to make up for the pitching prospects that have been taken out of the system at last year’s deadline.