The Pirates are in full blown rebuild mode and have the first overall pick in the 2021 Major League Baseball Draft. Today marks opening day in college baseball and there are some key names to watch.
After the Pittsburgh Pirates completed the 2020 season, the club has since gained the number one overall draft pick for the 2021 draft, acquired 11 prospects in three trades, and have really deepened their farm system. There are a slew of college prospects who the club could take a look at with the first overall pick. Last year, the club took college infielder Nick Gonzales in the first round and followed that with five straight right-handed pitchers.
The biggest game of interest would have been Wright State v Vanderbilt, but the game was postponed because of weather. The series instead will start tomorrow and be played through Monday. Vanderbilt has two right-handed pitching prospects that project to go early in the draft – Kumar Rocker is the presumptive favorite but there are media outlets that favor his teammate Jack Leiter. Vanderbilt will be a team to watch this season because of those two players.
Miami (Florida) will face off against the number one ranked Florida Gators at 3:00 pm on the SEC Network. Miami has the top coaching prospect in the draft in Adrian Del Castillo, who ranks third on Baseball America’s draft list. Del Castillo is a left-handed hitter who is in contention for that first pick.
For Florida, center fielder Jud Fabian leads the way. After prioritizing the Cape Cod League results in their first draft, Fabian fits the Pirates mold as hit .290/.350/.500 following his freshman season in 2019. Fabian is considered a good defensive center fielder with speed and some power. Like Del Castillo, he’s a potential first pick candidate. Tommy Mace was a top two round talent that returned to school and he will take the ball against Miami today. He is a potential pick in the second round or competitive balance round b. A right-handed pitcher who touches the mid-90s and features good command.
The later game is San Francisco vs UCLA at 8:00, where Matt McLain is another potential first overall pick. The shortstop for the Bruins is a right-handed hitter who hit .274/.394/.425 on the Cape after his freshman year in 2019 and started last year hitting .397/.422/.621. There’s plus speed and bat control making him an interesting option at pick one.
On Saturday, Jaden Hill of LSU will pitch against Air Force, where Hill is another potential top pick. This weekend is a good time to watch college baseball with the 2021 Draft being an important one for the Pirates. Vanderbilt will look to get going with their top two arms and Miami vs Florida for a weekend series with two potential top picks and some interesting pitchers will also be a good series to watch.