Pittsburgh Pirates: A Look at the 2018 Draft Class
It has just been over a year since the Pittsburgh Pirates finalized their 2018 draft class. How are those prospects doing in their first full season?
The Pittsburgh Pirates and the rest of Major League Baseball saw the draft pick signing deadline pass this past Friday and now the 2019 draft is officially closed. So far the team’s top pick, Quinn Priester, has lived up the hype, and the team has seen a lot of their hitters hit for some power already.
With that being said, the 2018 draft class is officially halfway through their first full season in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. While most of the class got a cup of coffee for a few weeks last year, this year they are getting their first taste of full professional ball. How have the top prospects from last year’s class performed this year?
The Bucs first-round pick in 2018 was outfielder Travis Swaggerty. The team took Swaggerty with the 10th overall pick in the draft and the 21-year-old left-handed hitting center fielder got off to a slow start with High-A Bradenton.
During his first 58 games of the season, he was only hitting .221, but over the last 24 games, he is hitting a much more impressive .308. For the year, Swaggerty is batting .246/.334/.351 with six home runs and 16 stolen bases. Not exactly first-round numbers, but he has seemed to have turned the corner of late.
With their second-round pick, the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Texas prep right-handed pitcher Braxton Ashcraft. Ashcraft is a highly projectable and athletic starting pitcher, but he has not had a great first full season.
He has been pitching in Short-Season A with the West Virginia Black Bears. So far he has made six starts and has thrown 28.2 inningsm, where he has allowed 25 hits. Furthermore, Ashcraft has struck out a solid 20 hitters so far, but he has walked nine as well. Hopefully, he has a strong finish to the season.
One of the steals of the draft for the Pittsburgh Pirates was when they drafted pitcher Michael Burrows in the 11th round. The team selected Burrows out of a high school in Connecticut and paid him a large bonus of $500,000, which was $375,000 over-slot. This made sense as he was considered one of the top prep pitchers coming out of New England.
Burrows is also pitching with the Black Bears and has been solid through five starts. He has thrown 20.1 innings and owns a 3.54 ERA. Burrows also has struck out an impressive 25 hitters already.
The Pittsburgh Pirates brought in a lot more talent in this year’s draft class compared to last year. However, these three prospects are all very intriguing and should have the expectation to make impacts for the Bucs down the road.