Pittsburgh Pirates Draft: Team Selects High Upside Pitcher Quinn Priester

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The 2019 Major League Baseball Draft has officially kicked off!  Who did the Pittsburgh Pirates take with their first-round selection?

The Pittsburgh Pirates and the 29 other Major League Baseball teams started their 2019 Draft tonight.  The Baltimore Orioles had the first overall pick and as expected and took super catcher prospect Adley Rutschman.  This was followed by Bobby Witt Jr, Andrew Vaughn, J.J. Bleday, and Riley Greene rounding out of the top five picks.  This pretty much went the way all the scouting experts thought it would go.

The Pittsburgh Pirates had the 18th overall pick in the first round of the Draft.  The Bucs decided to take right-handed prep starter, Quinn Priester.  Priester is one of the top prep arms in the draft and the Bucs actually made him the first prep pitcher to be taken in the draft. Priester will already be considered one of the Top 10 Prospects in the Buc’s system.

Priester comes from the high school ranks out of Illinois.  He stands at 6’3” and weighs around 195 pounds, giving himself some room to fill out.  However, he will not need to do much filling out to add to his fastball, which can reach as high as 97 miles per hour already.  Although, he will need to continue to physically fill out to continue and hold that velocity deeper into starts.

Also, what could be his best pitch is one that the Bucs love their pitchers to throw, a two-seam fastball.  His two-seamer sits 93-94 and is a plus pitch with good movement on it.  Here is more from MLB Pipeline on Priester’s curveball and changeup:

"“Gatorade’s 2019 Illinois high school player of the year, he also owns one of the better curveballs in the 2019 prep class, sitting around 80 mph with tight spin and good depth. Priester hasn’t had much need for a changeup to this point and will need to achieve greater velocity separation from his fastball, but his athleticism and intelligence should help him develop it into an effective third pitch.”"

To sign him, the Pittsburgh Pirates were given a bonus slot allotment of $3.48 million.  This is a big part of their overall draft bonus allotment of $9.94 million.  The team can give Priester an over-slot deal if need be, but they will have to save money elsewhere in the draft.  This could be the case being he is coming from the high school ranks.  Priester is committed to TCU, who the Pittsburgh Pirates lost left-handed pitcher Nick Lodolo to a few years ago.  Still, Priester is not expected to be a tough sign.

Priester makes a lot of sense for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  He was one of the top prep arms if not the top prep arm available in the draft.  The Bucs always seem to favor prep pitchers over college pitchers because they are able to mold them more at a younger age, but also monitor the workload better.

He also helps fill the void that Neal Huntington opened when he traded away 2017 first round pick, prep pitcher Shane Baz.  Also, that he has a plus two-seam fastball, should help him move a little quicker than most prep pitchers the Bucs draft.

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The Bucs will be on the board next at pick number 37 overall.  This is technically a first round pick.  They were granted this pick after failing to sign Gunnar Hoglund in last year’s draft.  The team will make that pick along with two more picks tonight.  Be sure to check back for updates on the other prospects the Pittsburgh Pirates draft.