Pittsburgh Pirates 2020 MLB Mock Draft 2.0: Focusing on Three Needs
A little over a week ago we looked at who the Pittsburgh Pirates could select in the upcoming MLB Draft. A lot had changed since then, so let’s take another shot at it.
About two weeks ago, we released our first mock of who the Pittsburgh Pirates could take in this year’s draft. The Pittsburgh Pirates have they seventh, 31st, and 44th overall picks on the first day of the 2020 draft. The draft is less than 10 days away and with new information coming out about who the Pittsburgh Pirates could be targeting, now seemed like an appropriate time to release a new mock draft for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Last week’s mock draft, we had the Pittsburgh Pirates selecting Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad at seventh overall. Then at number 31, the team was selecting former top 10 projected pitcher JT Ginn. Ginn has slid down draft boards due to undergoing Tommy-John surgery just a few months back. The last pick we mocked was the team’s second-round selection at #44, which we had the team taking Ohio State catcher Dillon Dingler.
However, since releasing that mock a lot has changed. Players have moved on prospect site rankings and more information has come out about who/what teams are looking to get in this year’s draft. For instance, we know the Pittsburgh Pirates are looking to draft a college hitter with the seventh overall pick. Who could the Pittsburgh Pirates take with that pick and how will it affect their other selections?
With the seventh overall pick, the team selects North Carolina State Catcher Patrick Bailey. Bailey is considered to be the top catching prospect in this year’s draft and should be available at number seven. Right now Bailey ranks as the 12th best prospect on FanGraphs and 14th on Baseball America. So why take Bailey at seven? He is far and away the best catching prospect in the draft, and Ben Cherington has made it clear that the organization needs catching talent. If they believe Bailey is a future everyday big-league catcher, then he is definitely worth the seventh pick.
Also, if the Pittsburgh Pirates take Bailey at pick number seven, they likely will save some money against their overall Draft Bonus Allotment. This could allow them to be more aggressive with their later round picks and target better talent that are demanding larger bonuses. Overall the seventh pick carries a value of $5.4 million and overall the Pittsburgh Pirates have a budget of $11.7 million. As a side note, if Emerson Hancock or Nick Gonzales fall to seven, the team would take them.
The team’s selection at number 31 is part of the Competitive Balance A round. This pick is protected and therefor if the team fails to sign their selection then they receive a compensation pick the following year. For the Pittsburgh Pirates they would receive the 32nd pick in the 2021 draft. This safety net could allow Ben Cherington to take a shot on a prep player that will require a larger bonus.
With that, the team could take third baseman Jordan Walker with the 31st pick. He is one of the more projectable power hitters in this year’s draft. Walker is a 6’5” 220-pound third baseman who is committed to Duke. While he ranks at number 44 on FanGraphs, the Bucs will likely need to overdraft a prep player to help keep their bonus demands down. With the designated hitter likely coming to the National League in the next CBA, Walker can give the team flexibility if his overall size limits his defensive ability.
By taking two hitters with the first two selections the team would likely turn around and select a college arm with the 44th pick. One arm that could make sense is Florida Gators right-handed pitcher Tommy Mace. Mace is a big framed right-handed starting pitcher who stands at a very projectable 6’6” and weighs 210 pounds. His fastball sits 92-94 but has reached as high 95-96 in starts. His secondary pitches flash above average at times, giving him a strong chance to be a middle of the rotation type arm.