Pittsburgh Pirates Draft: A Look at Some College Pitchers
The Pittsburg Pirates have the 18th overall pick in this year’s Major League Baseball Draft. The draft is just about a month away.
Last year, the Pittsburgh Pirates put together a solid season, finishing over .500. They had a record of 82-79 which did not get them into the playoffs but showed that the team had some talent. One way that is often stressed for the Pittsburgh Pirates is that they need to find talent through the Major League Baseball Draft.
This year the team will have the 18th overall pick in the draft. While it is kind of middle of the road, they still should have an opportunity to add a high-end prospect. Could this be the year that the Pittsburgh Pirates try to add a high-end starting pitching prospect? They have not drafted a starter in the first round since 2012 when they took Mark Appel (whom they did not sign). Who are some of the pitchers that could be available?
Alek Manoah is the first pitcher that could be potentially there at pick number 18. Baseball America had Manoah actually mocked to the Pittsburgh Pirates in their most recent mock draft. He is a big frame college pitcher standing at 6’6” and weighing 260 pounds. So the West Virginia Mountaineer has physically filled out already, meaning he could move relatively quickly through the system. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and has sink to it, something that Bucs like in their pitchers. He has a 1.61 ERA and 95 strikeouts in 69.2 innings.
Zack Thompson would be an interesting pick for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is a big left-handed starter from the University of Kentucky. This would be interesting because the Pittsburgh Pirates have tended to stay away from left-handed pitching prospects for some reason. Thompson stands at 6’3” and weighs 225 pounds. His fastball sits 92-94, but he can flash it into the mid-90s at times. This year in 10 starts he has a 2.15 ERA with 91 strikeouts in 62.2 innings pitched.
The last player to talk about is another college pitcher from a smaller school. George Kirby is a starting pitcher from Elon University (North Carolina) and is rising up draft boards. This is mainly because of his projectability. Kirby stands at 6’4” and weighs 200 pounds. He has a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and a changeup that is considered advanced. Also, he throws a curveball and a slider. So far this year Kirby has 2.64 ERA in 10 starts to go along with 76 strikeouts in 64.2 innings.
All three of these pitchers are college arms. The reason is that the Pittsburgh Pirates may get creative with their draft pool this year. They have four picks inside the Top 80 overall picks. Taking college players can often lead to savings against the draft pool to use on later picks. Plus, this team is close to contending, college players could help this team much sooner than a projectable prep player.