Pittsburgh Pirates 2020 Major League Baseball Draft Preview


Tonight could be the start of something special for the Pittsburgh Pirates as the 2020 MLB Draft kicks off.  With a new Front Office in place, they will get a chance to make their first major impact.

Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are continuing to battle over the modified 2020 season. However, there will be baseball – sort of – as tonight the 2020 Major League Baseball Draft will kick-off.  Over the last few weeks, we have spent a lot of hours writing up about prospects that the Pittsburgh Pirates could consider.  It is often hard to predict what teams will do in the draft, which is we cast such a wide net while looking at prospects.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are one of the teams that could be really hard to predict.  They have a new group in the Front Office including General Manager Ben Cherington and Assistant GM Steve Sanders.  These are two of the most respected draft minds in baseball and they could also be very creative with their first draft class in Pittsburgh.

Part of the reason the team can be so creative is the fact that they have two first-round picks.  They have their traditional pick at number seven overall and the Competitive Balance A pick at number 31.  Obviously having two picks inside the top 31 gives the team a chance to bring in a couple of quality prospects.  The draft will pick up on Thursday and the Bucs will finish with picks at numbers 44, 79, 108, and 138.

Overall the Bucs have a draft bonus allotment of $11,154,500, which ranks fifth overall in the draft (the league using financial numbers from 2019).  Combined with having three picks inside the top 45 selections, the team could get creative with grabbing a high-demand falling prospect at picks 31 or 44.  This is what makes the MLB Draft so hard to predict, each team operates in a different manner based on their circumstances.  In fact, even Baseball America admitted they have not heard much about what the Pittsburgh Pirates are looking to do, calling them a “wild card.”

Who are some of the top names the team could look to grab at number seven?  The two most popular names right now are right-handed pitcher Emerson Hancock and infielder Nick Gonzales.  Both are college-level players with Hancock pitching for Georgia and Gonzales playing for New Mexico State.  The Pittsburgh Pirates would be in a great spot to land one of those top five rated prospects.

What happens if neither of them are available?  There is the chance that both Hancock and Gonzales could be off the board.  If that is the case, Minnesota right-handed pitcher Max Meyer or Arkansas power hitter outfielder Heston Kjerstad would likely still be available.  Then, of course, the last college player is NC State catcher Patrick Bailey, who is projected to go more in the 10-15 range, but could make sense if the team wants to save bonus money for later picks.

Early on the Pittsburgh Pirates were connected to mainly college players, especially bats.  However, that does not mean the team would not consider taking a prep prospect if the situation calls for it.  With that being said, Ben Cherington’s draft history in Toronto suggests that he would prefer college-level players.  Still, if top prep outfield Zac Veen is available at number seven he could be under consideration.  The top prep pitcher the team could look at with the pick would be right-hander Mick Abel.

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Overall, the Pittsburgh Pirates should have a great opportunity to add significant talent to their organization.   Ben Cherington and Steve Sanders were brought to Pittsburgh with the reputation of being able to draft and develop players effectively.  Tonight the draft kicks off at 7:00 PM EST on both ESPN and the MLB Network, the Bucs will pick at numbers seven and 31.