Pittsburgh Pirates Draft: Best Position Player Tools Available

Who has the best tools among the position players?
Jun 25, 2023; Omaha, NE, USA; LSU Tigers center fielder Dylan Crews (3) rounds third while running
Jun 25, 2023; Omaha, NE, USA; LSU Tigers center fielder Dylan Crews (3) rounds third while running / Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports
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Arm - Nolan McLean

Nolan McLean is a two-way standout at Oklahoma State University. McLean was previously drafted in the third round by the Baltimore Orioles last season. However, the Orioles and McLean did not come to terms, and McLean returned to college for his junior season. He’ll once again look to get selected in the first three rounds.

McLean has the typical strengths and weaknesses you’d see from a young flamethrower and power hitter. As a batter, McLean hit .250/.379/.532. McLean had no problems drawing walks or racking up extra-base hits. He had a .282 isolated slugging percentage and a walk rate clocking in at 17.7%. However, he also struck out a whopping 37.2% of the time.

As a right-handed pitcher, McLean pitched to a 3.30 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, and 2.0 K:BB ratio. Again, there are some very prototypical stats here. He allowed no home runs in 30 innings pitched, and he also struck out 24.1% of opponents. But this also came with an abysmal 12.1% walk rate.

McLean can fire upper-90s fastballs with low effort. His ability to throw so hard on the mound translates into an absolute cannon of an arm. McLean has experience at third base and the outfield, as well as second base and first base. Despite his arm, he has well below average speed, meaning that third base might end up being the only position he could reliably play. But his arm could make it worthwhile.

McLean is plus-plus when it comes to throwing a baseball or hitting a baseball far. His overall raw power is probably a 60-65. However, his ability to locate and to make contact is likely a 30 on the 20-80 scale. That makes him an interesting player in this year’s draft, and is an early day-two candidate. The Pirates did take a similar player in Jack Brannigan last year in the third round, though in comparison to McLean, Brannigan might as well have been Tony Gwynn with the bat, and Greg Maddux on the mound.

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