While Jordan Lawlar is trending upward, the Pittsburgh Pirates should still look to draft a pitcher with the top pick in the draft
With the MLB Draft less than two months away the talk surrounding up and coming prospects is heating up. There has been a few players that have found their name swirled in the mix of potentially being the number one pick. A name that seems to have taken the top spot for now though is shortstop Jordan Lawlar.
Jordan Lawlar has all the tools to be a phenomenal player at the big league level. With grades of 55+ across the board, it would be hard to pass up on a guy that can do it all. To play devil’s advocate though, the 6’2” shortstop is only 18-years-old.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are in a rebuild process and they want young talent, but with cornerstone Ke’Bryan Hayes already up at PNC Park, the hourglass has turned. Hayes is 24-years-old and the clock is ticking. the Pittsburgh Pirates can’t afford to wait too long if they want this pick to get a few seasons in with some of their current prospects like Hayes, Oneil Cruz, and Nick Gonzales.
Three of the top five top prospects in the Pirate organization are middle infielders. The 6’7” Cruz is expected to transfer over to the outfield at some point but Pittsburgh’s Double-A affiliate, Altoona Curve still has him playing shortstop. Even with Cruz in the outfield, Liover Peguero has shown some great promise at the shortstop position as well.
Some of the top middle infield prospects are found in the Pittsburgh Pirates system which is great but, it only makes drafting Lawlar a little more challenging.
Vanderbilt’s dynamic duo of Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker has been one of the coolest shows to watch in college baseball. Both have been projected number one overall picks at one point. Rocker was the clear cut pick last year but Leiter has exploded onto the scene this year putting up video game like numbers to start the season.
With the struggles of Mitch Keller, it has stamped a question mark in Pittsburgh’s pitching department. Keller has been the Pirates top pitching prospect for a few years now but has not been able to show for it at the big league level. Keller is looking to be more of a back end starter rather than an ace which makes a stronger case to select one of Vanderbilt’s studs.
The Pirates top pitching prospect, Quinn Priester, is a hopeful key contributor to the staff looking forward, but will need another strong arm beside him in the hopes of a playoff run down the line. Leiter and Rocker both have the stuff to be an ace in MLB and both are actually older than Priester too so age won’t be a concern when drafting either arm. At 21-years-old, either pitcher should be ready for a Pirates playoff push in a couple years.