Over the last few days, we have looked at some potential second rounds picks for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Here is who FanGraphs has ranked as the number 44 prospect in the draft.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have the seventh overall pick in this year’s draft. This puts General Manager Ben Cherington in a position to add an elite prospect. They also have the 31st pick in the Competitive Balance A round, this will also give them a chance to grab another high-end prospect. Having two picks inside the top 31 selections is a great place to be for the new regime.
However, with the change in the rules for qualifying offers, there are no longer compensatory picks after the first round. This means that the second round has moved up to higher picks than in the past. The Pittsburgh Pirates second-round pick actually comes at number 44 overall, which gives them another top 50 selection. The fact that they will make their third draft pick by 44th overall should allow Ben Cherington to get really creative with his first draft class in Pittsburgh.
Over the last few days, I have looked at the draft prospects ranked at number 44 on MLB Pipeline and Baseball America. MLB Pipeline has prep outfielder Petey Halpin and Baseball America ranked prep right-handed pitcher Victor Mederos. Both are toolsy upside players that would be really good picks if available at number 44.
Still, there is one other site to start considering when looking into draft rankings. FanGraphs has always been known for their advanced analytical coverage on Major League Players, however, they have started to invest more and more into their minor league and amateur coverage. FanGraphs also includes their future value grades on all their prospects, with an 80 being the best player in baseball and a 20 being an org player. This is the conventional 20-80 scouting scale.
Who does FanGraphs have ranked at number 44 on their draft board? According to the site, outfielder Heston Kjerstad is the 44th best player. Kjerstad is a projectable power-hitting corner outfielder who plays collegiately for the Arkansas Razorbacks. Here is FanGraphs’ scouting blurb on the 6’3” left-handed hitting outfielder:
"Prototypical college corner bat with plus raw power that looks like he’ll hit enough to be an everyday guy. Played a lot of 1B in the fall but likely stays in RF this spring and in pro ball.Future Value Ranking: 40+"
On MLB Pipeline, they have Kjerstad ranked as the 13th best prospect in the draft. MLB Pipeline’s list is expected to be updated soon and it obviously looks like the outfielder will move down their board as well. However, if anything, this speaks to the potential that some believe he possesses.
He is a projectable left-handed power bat that would play in PNC Park. Beyond that, the Pittsburgh Pirates need to acquire more power potential in their minor league system, and Kjerstad looks like he would fit that bill. He has his limitations, especially defensively, and being a power before hit type of batter. Still, if the Pittsburgh Pirates can acquire him at number 44 then Ben Cherington will be smiling.