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?
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Jun 18, 2022; Omaha, NE, USA; Stanford Cardinal right fielder Braden Montgomery (6) heads for first
Jun 18, 2022; Omaha, NE, USA; Stanford Cardinal right fielder Braden Montgomery (6) heads for first / Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Right field

Braden Montgomery

After two years at Stanford, outfielder/right-handed pitcher Braden Montgomery transferred to Texas A&M for the 2024 season. Montgomery, who was already considered a top draft prospect, has only improved his stock with an outstanding season so far for the Aggies. He’ll assuredly go within the top ten picks but might play himself beyond where the Pirates are selecting at number nine.

Montgomery has been nothing short of astounding at the plate. He is hitting .379/.514/.900. Yes, that’s a .900 slugging percentage. His .521 isolated slugging is some players’ normal slugging percentage. He already has 20 home runs in 179 plate appearances, a pace of 67 in 600 plate appearances. Along with hitting for massive pop, his walk rate (19.6%) is much higher than his strikeout rate (15.6%).

Montgomery has pitched some in college. He has 34.2 innings throughout his career but has been erratic, to say the least. Montgomery has walked 36 batters in that time. He throws a fastball, slider, and change-up, sitting in the low to mid-90s. He’ll likely leave pitching behind once he gets drafted, maybe outside of occasional mop-up duty at the very most.

While Montgomery might be an outfielder long term, that arm strength he has on the mound helps him make deep throws from the grass. He arguably has the best arm among all the top outfield prospects in this year’s draft class. He should stick in the outfield corners long-term. Montgomery doesn’t have the prototypical speed you see from center field prospects, but has enough range to play the corners with ease and obviously will make some great throws too.

There is an outside chance that Montgomery will end up as the ninth overall selection. An under-slot pick here, an over-slot selection there, and it’s possible we see him still on the board when the Pirates get their first chance at selecting a player. Montgomery would almost be the automatic pick if he was still there when the Pirates are on the clock.