Pittsburgh Pirates Draft: An Under Slot Pitcher & Position Player to Watch
By Noah Wright
It’s harder to find senior position players in the draft, however, Ethan Groff may be one of the better ones. After consistently performing at a high level at Tulane University, Groff made the transfer to Ole Miss. Despite going from the AAC to the SEC, Groff has still been a high-end performer for the Rebels.
So far in 131 plate appearances, Groff is slashing .353/.481/.578 with a .457 wOBA. He’s walked in a whopping 20 of his trips to the dish, resulting in a 15.3% walk rate. Not only has he walked a ton, but he’s struck out even less with a strikeout rate of just 12.2% walk rate. He’s been both a power and base running threat, with a .225 isolated slugging percentage, and swiping ten bases in 11 attempts. He’s only hit four home runs but has hustled out nine doubles.
Though there’s certainly reason for concern with drafting Groff. His performances are generally fueled by a high batting average on balls in play, and his raw power doesn’t stand out in any way. He’s considered about an average runner and will likely end up in an outfield corner long-term. However, that doesn’t mean there are no positives.
Groff may not be a first-rounder, and Prospects Live projects him to go late in the second day of the draft. However, the Pirates could still find value in Groff. He’s an outfielder, a position the Pirates don’t have very much depth at throughout the minor leagues, and he’s been able to successfully transition to the SEC.