Pittsburgh Pirates Draft: Ohio State Catcher on the Team’s Board?


The Pittsburgh Pirates Front Office was very vocal about adding catching talent to the organization.  They could use a top draft pick on one this year.

As this past offseason churned on, one thing became apparent: Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Ben Cherington wanted to add catching talent.  He commented on it numerous times over the offseason and many reports surfaced that the team was trying to acquire a top-flight catching prospect.

Many expected the team to acquire a top catching prospect as the centerpiece of the Starling Marte trade.  This is why many thought that trade took so long to develop.  There were talks that the New York Mets and the Arizona Diamondbacks were interested in Marte, with both teams having top 10 ranked catching prospects.

Instead, the team went a different route and did not acquire a catching prospect.  With the team wanting to add significant catching talent to the farm system, could they use one of their top draft picks on a catcher?  The team has three picks inside the top 45 selections which could position themselves to take a chance on a catcher.

One catcher that specifically is on the rise is Ohio State catcher Dillon Dingler.  Dinlger is a fast-rising catching prospect who could fall in between the Pittsburgh Pirates picks at number 31 and number 44 overall.  Entering the college season Dingler ranked as a late second-round type prospect, however, he raised his value this season hitting .340 with five home runs in his first 13 games of the year.

Dingler went from number 54 to number 24 on MLB Pipeline’s rankings and also has moved up FanGraphs draft board to number 42.  It seems like there is a wide gap of where Dingler could fall.  Teams always need catching, but it is also hard to draft a good catcher, so there is a lot of unpredictability of where he could fall.

If the team goes toward a larger bonus player with their seventh overall pick then they could try and save money at pick number 31.  Dingler could come in to play for the Bucs at number 31 since he is a college hitter.  College players are typically easier to sign due to a lack of leverage.  Also, 31 would be a good spot of Dingler based on his rankings anyhow.

Dingler is a highly athletic catcher who stands at 6’3” and weighs around 210 pounds.  When he first joined Ohio State he was a catcher.  However, the team used him as a centerfielder to get his bat into the lineup as a freshman.  The team moved him back behind the plate the next season.  Still, this shows the athleticism that Dingler possesses; being able to go from behind the plate to the most demanding outfield spot.  Here is more from FanGraphs on his tools:

"Emerging in the fall after a strong statistical 2019. Converted CF with plus raw power, above average athleticism, average speed, fringy arm that may improve with health after taking the summer off."

Dillon Dingler is one of the top catching prospects in this year’s draft class.  He is projected to be available around the Pittsburgh Pirates pick at number 31 and the team could likely consider taking him.  He is an athletic player who has the potential to be good both at and behind the plate.  Furthermore, he has a projectable frame that could give him a potential plus bat from the catching position.

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The Bucs need catching help in the minors.  Dingler would immediately become the team’s top catching prospect.  Also, being that he is a 21-year-old coming out of college, he would help the Pittsburgh Pirates sooner than later.