One draft prospect at each position that should be on the Pittsburgh Pirates’ radar

Going position by position, who are some players that should be on the Pittsburgh Pirates' draft radar from this year's class?
Dodgers v Pirates
Dodgers v Pirates / Rick Stewart/GettyImages
10 of 10
Arkansas starting pitcher Hagen Smith pitches against LSU during the SEC Tournament elimination game
Arkansas starting pitcher Hagen Smith pitches against LSU during the SEC Tournament elimination game / Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News / USA

Left-handed pitcher

Hagen Smith

The best left-handed starting pitcher in this year’s draft looks to be University of Arkansas ace Hagen Smith. The southpaw is in just his age-20 season, but has looked great so far in his third college season. He’ll likely go within the first ten picks, and if the Pirates want to take another high ceiling pitcher, this could be the go-to guy if he’s available.

Smith has pitched 47 innings, working to a 1.53 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, and 5.24 K:BB ratio. Smith had trouble limiting walks in both his freshman and sophomore campaigns, with a BB% of a touch above 13% in both years. But this season, Smith has cut his walk rate down just below 10% at 9.3%. But more impressively, he’s struck out nearly 50% of the batters he’s faced and has a 48.9% strikeout rate. Home runs also haven’t been a massive issue as he carries an 0.77 HR/9.

Smith has a ton of deception in his delivery, something the Pirates have looked for a lot recently in their arms.

He hides the ball well with his short arm before firing the ball at a low three-quarters arm slot. The southpaw throws a multitude of pitches. His fastball sits low-to-mid 90s with some carry, but he can also throw a sinker variant. His splitter has plus potential and has thrown batters off throughout his college career, and his slider could be even better. He’ll also occasionally mix in a curveball. Smith has frontline potential, but there are some concerns about his long-term command/control.

Some believe that Smith could be such a fast-rising prospect, that a team could draft him with the possibility he becomes a September call-up if he moves to the bullpen, at least to start his pro career, and eventually move back into the rotation. He’s drawn some Josh Hader comparisons, though if he sharpens his control and command, there could be a real ace here.