Pittsburgh Pirates Draft: Making a Case for Each of the Top 3 Prospects

Breaking down each of the main candidates to go no. 1 overall in next month's draft

Jun 22, 2023; Omaha, NE, USA;  LSU Tigers starting pitcher Paul Skenes (20) throws against the Wake
Jun 22, 2023; Omaha, NE, USA; LSU Tigers starting pitcher Paul Skenes (20) throws against the Wake / Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
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Paul Skenes, RHP, LSU - 6'6, 235 lbs., 21 y/o
122.2 IP, 1.69 ERA, 12-2 W-L, 209 strikeouts, 20 walks
0.750 WHIP, 15.3 K/9, 10.5 K/BB

Why the Pirates Should Draft Paul Skenes

The appeal of Paul Skenes can be found in every part of his game. His massive frame and eye-popping stats make him one of the best pitching prospects we've seen in over a decade. With his elite pitch speed (dishes out triple-digit 4-seamers like candy) and stamina to match (120+ pitch count max), I don't see his stint in the minor leagues lasting very long.

On top of all this, the guy can flat-out hit the ball. I'm not saying he's the next Shohei Ohtani by any means, but his .367 batting average with 24 homers and 81 RBIs in 341 college at-bats along with his Divison 1 experience playing catcher on his off-days make him an interesting offensive option if his throwing arm ever flames out.

Why the Pirates Should NOT Draft Paul Skenes

To put it bluntly, pitchers are risky choices to spend a top 5 draft pick on. Of the nine pitchers drafted in the top 5 between 2015-2020, only two of them (Hunter Greene and Mackenzie Gore) have pitched more than 20 innings in 2023, three of them have required Tommy John surgery, and three have pitched less than 10 MLB Innings in their careers.

Does this technically mean anything as it pertains to Skenes? Of course not, every player is unique. Does it cast some concern for a front office member? Potentially.

Wyatt Langford, OF, Florida - 6'1, 235 lbs., 21 y/o
.373 BA / .498 OBP / .784 SLG
236 AB, 21 HR, 57 RBI, 9 stolen bases, 56 walks

Why the Pirates Should Draft Wyatt Langford

Florida's power-hitting left fielder Wyatt Langford has the potential to be a star in Major League Baseball. He's as solid as they come at the plate and possesses incredible fielding range with his speed and athletic ability. He's not the popular choice among the fans, but he has serious upside and elite plate discipline. He also had more doubles, triples, homers, steals, and total bases than Crews in 41 fewer plate appearances.

Why the Pirates Should Not Draft Wyatt Langford

The dilemma with drafting Langford is simply that he's an outfielder not named Dylan Crews. Outfield play has been the least of Pittsburgh's concerns this season, but to draft a player who is essentially the same position as Crews but isn't Crews is sure to upset some fans who believe the LSU Tiger is the better choice for the Pirate future.