The Pittsburgh Pirates Front Office wanted to add a top catching prospect this past offseason. They were unable to land one, so could they look to draft one?
The 2020 Major League Baseball Draft will take place on June 10th and 11th. This year’s draft will only be five rounds instead of the typical 40 rounds and the Pittsburgh Pirates have the seventh overall pick. According to reports, the Pittsburgh Pirates are focusing on college players and more specifically college hitters.
One thing that Ben Cherington made clear this offseason was that the previous regime left very little in terms of potential future catching talent. The team does not have a single catching prospect ranked inside their top 30 prospects (MLB Pipeline or Baseball America). Unfortunately, Cherington was not able to land a top catching prospect during the offseason.
Could the Pittsburgh Pirates take the top catching prospect available with the seventh pick? Last week I covered who Kiley McDaniel of ESPN mocked to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He mocked Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad to the Bucs. However, he also mentioned that the team could consider NC State catcher Patrick Bailey.
Bailey is considered to be the top catching prospect available in this year’s draft. Right now he ranks as the 11th best available prospect on FanGraphs “The Board”. While taking Bailey would be a little bit of a reach, but Ben Cherington could cut a deal with Bailey for less than the seventh overall slot. This would give the Bucs more money to be aggressive with the 31st and 44th overall picks. Meanwhile, the organization would be getting a top catching prospect which they desperately need.
Bailey is considered to have a strong all-around game. There is no doubt about his ability to play behind the dish. His bat needs some work, but he is a good overall hitter. He does not have discipline issues, and if he can continue to mature into his 6’2” frame, he could add some decent pop. Here is a part of FanGraphs scouting report on the NC State product:
"“Bailey is a polished switch-hitter who performed throughout his entire college career (.302/.411/.568) and plays a premium position. He’s a capable hitter from both sides of the plate, utilizing a gap approach from the right side and more of a pull/lift one from the left. He’s a fine receiver and blocker, catching on one knee until a runner reaches base.”"
The one knee thing is an interesting note, but important. It is well known that catchers often have knee issues. The fact that he is using one knee at a time, for now, it likely is him trying to preserve his legs. While this may not seem like a big deal, it is important to see a player who is taking his position and craft seriously on and off the field.
Overall, Bailey would be a bit of a reach for the Bucs to take with the seventh pick. The team should be able to add more of an impact-type player when drafting that high. However, if Cherington is able to save money and get aggressive with his other picks, then drafting the top catching prospect cold makes sense. If anything, it will fill a glaring hole that the previous regime left behind.