Day one of the 2020 MLB Draft has come and gone. With the 1st round complete, how does the first day of the draft grade out for the Pittsburgh Pirates?
New general manager Ben Cherington now has some draft picks under his belt as the GM of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates held two picks on Wednesday night. They held the 7th overall pick in the first-round of draft, as well as the 31st overall pick and a compensation pick.
So, how did the first night of the draft grade out for the Pittsburgh Pirates?
Early on in the night things started to break well for the Pittsburgh Pirates. New Mexico State University infielder Nick Gonzales was widely considered one of the five best players in the draft, as well as arguably the most well rounded college bat in the draft.
Surprisingly, Gonzales was still on the board when the Pirates drafted at number seven overall. While prep outfielder Zac Veen was tempting, in the end Cherington went with Gonzales. In the long run, Gonzales could prove to be one of the best first-round picks from this draft.
In college Gonzales was a hitting machine. He finished his collegiate career with a .399/.502/.747 slash line, a 17.6% extra base hit rate, 1.249 OPS, and he was a strong defender at shortstop. However, his long term future with the Pirates will likely be at second base.
Gonzales has the potential to climb through the Pirate farm system quickly. With his plus hit tool, he could be knocking on the door on the MLB level sooner rather than later. He is likely to end up a top 100 prospect and one of the Pirates top six or seven prospect. This draft pick easily gets an A grade.
With their second pick of the night, the Pirates selected University of South Carolina right-handed pitcher Carmen Mlodzinski with the 31st overall pick. Mlodzinski possesses a plus fastball and slider, and has a change up with plus potential.
Like Gonzales, Mlodzinski had great success in the Cape Cod League last summer. He posted a 2.45 ERA and struck out 40 batters in 29.1 innings of work in the Cod League.
Thanks in large part to his performance in the Cod League last summer, some viewed Mlodzinski as a potential top 10 pick earlier this spring. However, the lack of a full college season wound up hurting him as there were still some question marks around him after he appeared in just one game in 2019 before a foot injury ended his season.
There is a lot of evidence that points toward success in the SEC and Cape Cod League being a good indicator for future success. That bodes well with the Pittsburgh Pirates and their draft picks from Wednesday night.
It is difficult to feel anything but excited about what the Pirates accomplished on Wednesday night. Part of this is Cherington’s track record. During his time in Boston and Toronto he put together a strong track record of identifying, drafting and developing talent. There is no reason to believe this will not continue in Pittsburgh.
Wednesday night was a successful night for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The team added two quality pieces to their farm system, including arguably the best all-around college hitter in the draft. They also added a pitcher that possesses a top 10 overall ceiling. Cherington’s first draft night as Pirate GM, on paper, was a successful one. The team gets a solid A grade for their work on Wednesday night.