Pittsburgh Pirates: An Early Three-Round Mock Draft
Round One - Dylan Crews
Get used to the Dylan Crews vs. Chase Dollander debates because you'll hear them for a while. With the number one pick in the draft, I have the Pirates selecting LSU outfielder Dylan Crews. Crews might just be the most hyped college position player prospect in years, and at least since Adley Rutschman, who broke the all-time signing bonus record.
The LSU outfielder has been nothing short of phenomenal. Crews is slashing .356/.458/.677 with a 1.135 OPS since arriving to college. Power is Crews' specialty. He has 40 home runs to go with 27 doubles across 584 plate appearances, amounting to an isoalted slugging percentage well over .300 (.321). However, do not mistake him for an all-or-nothing batter, either. He's posted just a 16.8% strikeout rate and a 13.6% walk rate. Not only has he been crushing baseballs and getting on base at an extreme rate, but he's also swiped 17 bases.
Crews projects as a slightly above-average defensive center field. He could improve his glovework up the middle at a young age, but he might project as a fantastic right fielder. Crews has a powerful arm that can play at all three outfield spots, and he's also considered an above-average runner, so range is not an issue, either.
Although he has an aggressive approach and swing, he has little whiff in his game. He also has a fairly wide stance in the batter's box and creates some leverage with his upward trajectory swing. Despite a large swing, he's a quick hitter. He also has a decent frame at 6'0", 203 LBS.
Crews could approach Rutschman's record-breaking signing bonus. Before you call out the Pirates for being cheap, remember that before the Orioles and Rutschman set the record, the Pirates and Gerrit Cole held the record from the 2011 draft. During that same draft, they also broke the record for the highest signing bonus for a second-rounder (Josh Bell) and seventh-rounder (Clay Holmes). Plus, there is no such thing as saving money from the draft. Each team gets an allotted amount they must spend, and it's not as if that money goes to Bob Nutting if it isn't spent. On top of that, every team spends over their allotted amount.
Many will have Dylan Crews going to the Pirates. Many will have Chase Dollander going to the Pirates. As of right now, there is no wrong answer between the two. But if the draft were tomorrow, I think the Pirates would take Dylan Crews.