The Pittsburgh Pirates have the 4th overall selection in 2022’s draft. But could Druw Jones fall to the team’s pick?
Right now, the best prospect per MLB Pipeline is Druw Jones. FanGraphs ranks him #2. The high school prospect is the son of Atlanta Brave all-time great Andruw Jones. The only prospect that gives Jones a run for his money in terms of current rankings is middle infielder Temmar Johnson, who FanGraphs ranks #1 and MLB Pipeline places at #2.
The Pittsburgh Pirates will have the #4 pick in next year’s draft. It’ll be the third year in a row the Pirates will have a top 10 selection. Last year, they had the #1 pick and made the best of it, selecting 5 players who were projected to go within the first 100 picks of the draft. But could Jones fall to the Bucs’ selection?
Jones, like his dad, is a five-tool athlete. He’s displayed phenomenal fielding prowess with a strong arm. With elite-level speed, he’s a center fielder through and through. Jones has the potential to be a consistent Gold Glove finalist. Hitting wise Jones comes with plus-plus power with a plus hit tool. He easily has 30/30 potential.
Jones is considered a top 2 talent currently and that kind of player that will go early in drafts. However could he last until the #4 spot? Well, it isn’t out of the question. Just take a look at last year’s draft. High school shortstop prospect Marcelo Mayer was the #1 ranked prospect per FanGraphs and MLB Pipeline. While he only graded out as an average runner, Mayer easily has the tools to be a long-term shortstop with plus power.
Mayer, despite being arguably the best talent available, went to the Boston Red Sox at the #4 spot. The Pirates had gone under slot with the number one pick in Henry Davis and then was followed by Jack Leiter to the Texas Rangers, and another under slot pick with Jackson Jobe to the Detroit Tigers.
In the 2020 draft, Austin Martin fell to the Toronto Blue Jays at the #5 spot. Martin was a top 3 talent in the draft. FanGraphs ranked him at #3 while Pipeline placed him at #2. Spencer Torkelson was the consensus #1 pick and Asa Lacy was also a top 3 talent. What ended up happening is the Baltimore Orioles made the surprise decision to go with Heston Kjerstad at #2, an under-slot pick, and the Miami Marlins also made a bit of a surprising pick at #3 with Max Meyer. Lacy went to the Kansas City Royals at #4, which led to Martin going to the Jays at #5. There are dozen of other examples of teams going underslot and top talents lasting later in the draft than many predict.
The Pittsburgh Pirates would need the Baltimore Orioles, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Texas Rangers to pass on Druw Jones. It’s almost certain that Temmar Johnson will at least go to one of the three. Elijah Green could conceivably go within the first 3 picks as well, however, that’s looking more and more unlikely with his massive swing-and-miss concerns. Brooks Lee or Jace Jung are also possibilities to go within one of the three first picks as well.
The Pittsburgh Pirates would need two teams to go under slot on their first-round pick, and one other team to pick Temar Johnson over Druw Jones. The chances that Jones falls to the Pittsburgh Pirates pick is unlikely at best.
The Pirates shouldn’t bank on him being available when they’re on the clock. However, as we’ve seen in previous drafts, it is far from impossible. It also should be stated that a lot can change between now and the draft. Around this time last year, Kumar Rocker was still a top 3 draft prospect. Maybe the Pirates get lucky and Jones falls to them at #4 because Elijah Green noticeably improves his swing-and-miss. Maybe another prospect rises the ranks and becomes a consensus top 3 talent. However, based on what we know right now, the Pirates would be very lucky if Jones were to fall to them at #4.