The MLB Draft is next month and things are getting narrowed down for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The team seems likely to take a shortstop.
While Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter were presumed to be the favorites three months ago, Jordan Lawlar and Marcelo Mayer appear to be the front runners to go with the first pick. Kiley McDaniel recently wrote that Lawlar and Mayer are likely to go with the first pick, giving Mayer the edge. Mayer’s a left-handed bat that would fit PNC.
Mayer also represents an athletic shortstop that some consider to be the better defender. Lawlar has had some swing and miss and while some see as the top prospect, will command the full bonus. We’ve talked about it on this site before but Mayer likely will come in under slot. This will allow the Pittsburgh Pirates to spend more later in the draft and sign a better prospect.
With Jaden Hill and Gunnar Hoglund, those two players could be available at pick 37. By taking Mayer, Hill and Hoglund (potential top five picks) can get over the slot value at 37 and potentially more than what teams in the early 30s are asking for. Additionally, players after the 10th round where the first $125k counts against the slot value. This is similar to when the Pirates took Max Kranick, who is now in Triple-A. Mayer isn’t perceived to be the top high schooler, but one of the top three draft talents, and could come in lower than $8.4 million.
Mayer’s left-handed bat and ability to play shortstop are intriguing. As we’ve covered before, he’s likely to be below slot value. That creates an opportunity for the Pittsburgh Pirates to get creative. Additionally, his left handed bat will play in PNC. As a result, Mayer seems likely to be the first pick in this years draft.