Pittsburgh Pirates Report: College Hitter Most Likely at Number Seven
According to a recent mock draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates are leaning towards a college bat with their first-round pick. Who are some options?
The MLB Draft will start on June 10, 2020. The draft will span over two days and have five total rounds. The Pittsburgh Pirates will have the seventh overall pick in the first round and will have an opportunity to add a potential future all-star.
Over the last few weeks, we have covered multiple players who the team could look to take at number seven. Some of these have come from mock drafts while others have just looked at players that are projected to go around the seventh pick. Out of all the drafts in the major sports, the MLB Draft might be the toughest to predict.
However, a recent report suggests that the Pittsburgh Pirates might be targeting a specific type of player at number seven. According to Kiley McDaniel, ESPN’s prospect guru, the Pittsburgh Pirates are looking to add a college hitter with their first-round pick. McDaniel said:
"“…They didn’t have a clear preferences or types for the Blue Jays, but the heavy buzz here is ‘” college'” and “‘hitter”‘. Kjerstad and NC State catcher Patrick Bailey make the most sense given what’s available in this scenario”."
As far as Kjerstad does, this should not be surprising. He is likely to go in the five-to-ten range. He is a power-hitting corner outfielder who has the potential to be a middle of the lineup type bat. The Pittsburgh Pirates are missing some legitimate power hitters in their minor league system and Kjerstad would be a good addition at number seven.
He also mentions NC State catcher Patrick Bailey. It has been made clear that the Pittsburgh Pirates new Front Office is unhappy with the catching depth in the organization, so Bailey could make sense. He is currently ranked as the top catcher available by FanGraphs. Overall, FanGraphs has him ranked as the 11th best prospect, so while that would be a bit of a reach, it would also fill a major need. Furthermore, that could save them some bonus money to use at pick 31.
The other option for a college hitter would be New Mexico State infielder Nick Gonzales. Gonzales has long been considered a top five selection because he might be the best pure hitter in the draft. However, he projects as a second baseman, which is a negative against his draft stock being the position is not considered an “up the middle” spot. Still, if his bat is the best in the draft, the Bucs should grab him at number seven if he is still available.
The second point is the more interesting part of McDaniel’s quote. He states that the Pittsburgh Pirates seem to be focusing on college hitters at number seven. With the team drafting Quinn Priester and making the deal to acquire Brennan Malone, both who were first-round picks last year, it makes sense that the team is looking for a bat.
Furthermore, the team also has rising pitching prospect Tahnaj Thomas, who is slated to be a part of the Single-A rotation along with Priester and Malone. Meanwhile, the bulk of the team’s better power-hitting prospects are in the upper minors or are Major League ready. Adding a college bat would give the team another elite hitting prospect that could move quickly through the minor league system.