The MLB draft is still over a month away, but let’s take a look who the Pittsburgh Pirates could select with their first five picks of the draft.
The Pittsburgh Pirates once again have an early-round draft selection. This year, they have the 4th overall pick. Many sites have already done their mock draft, and I want to join in on the fun. Today, I want to make my way too early mock draft for the Pirates’ first five picks.
There have been plenty of mock drafts already done for the first round, and I want to take a crack at what I think the Pirates will do this year with their first few picks. The team has used their draft picks wisely over the last few seasons and is getting some good prospects from the draft. There should be no shortage of talent from this year’s draft.
With that being stated, let’s get into the Pittsburgh Pirates first pick and the 4th overall selection.
No. 4 overall – Jacob Berry
The draft is loaded with a ton of high school talent on top, but I think the Pittsburgh Pirates will take slugger Jacob Berry with the fourth overall pick. Berry is one of the best hitters in this draft and arguably the best college position player. Berry might not have a defined position, limiting his value, but he absolutely makes up for it with his bat.
Berry has batted .378/.462/.672 with a .484 wOBA this year with Louisiana State University. He already has 15 home runs in just 212 plate appearances, putting him on pace for about 45 across an entire season. Berry has also drawn more walks than strikeouts. He has 21 base-on-balls to just 18 strikeouts, leading to a 9.9% walk rate and phenomenal 8.5% strikeout rate. Although his walk rate slightly decreased from 11.1% last year, he cut his strikeout rate down by over 10%.
Between this year with Louisiana and 2021 with Arizona, Berry has 32 home runs in 509 plate appearances and a 1.123 OPS. His isolated slugging percentage comes in well over .300 at .312. To go with his home runs, he also has 27 two-baggers. With his pace in college, he’d have 40 homers and 34 doubles. His hitting talent is reflected in the 60+ grades that MLB Pipeline gives him for his hit and power tools.
The only downside is that he doesn’t have a defined position. Berry came into college as a third baseman but has mainly worked in right field this year. He spent all but nine games as a designated hitter in 2021. FanGraphs describes his defensive ability as rigid. Chances are, he’ll see time at first base when he reaches the pros.
The Pittsburgh Pirates and Ben Cherington have gone with a college bat each of the last two seasons with Nick Gonzales and Henry Davis. It might only be a two-draft sample size, but they passed up some pretty good high school talent the previous year, with Marcelo Mayer and Jordan Lawlar ranking as two of the best draft prospects last season. The only high schooler I see the Pirates taking is Druw Jones, and that’s a big ‘if’ considering he’s a consensus no. 1 or no. 2 pick.