Pittsburgh Pirates Draft: Potential Options at No. 1 Overall

Who could the Pirates take at no. 1 overall?

Jun 26, 2023; Omaha, NE, USA; LSU Tigers center fielder Dylan Crews (3) celebrates after winning the
Jun 26, 2023; Omaha, NE, USA; LSU Tigers center fielder Dylan Crews (3) celebrates after winning the / Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports
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Conclusion

If you ask me, it has to be either Dylan Crews or Paul Skenes. Langford is an outstanding batter, but the fact he is already in left field is a tad concerning. That doesn't mean I think he'll eventually end up at first base once again, but you want someone who is at least starting their pro career in center. Clark and Jenkins are both highly talented. However, while the Pirates have gone for the budget play in the past, I just don't see that happening here.

You also have to consider that where the Pirates are. The rebuild is starting to bear fruit. The Pirates have debuted three first round picks this month (if you want to count Carmen Mlodzinski as a first rounder), with a hanful of others on the way. Skenes and Crews could almost go directly from college to the major leagues.

Skenes and Crews are equal in ability if you ask me, just one is a pitcher, and the other is a batter. However, Skenes does come with more risk. Skenes already has over 200 innings on his arm in college. As I've previously talked about, going with a pitcher so early in the draft hasn't worked out for the Texas Rangers, who did that twice.

Crews is far less risky. There's not a single tool he brings to the table that doesn't have the potential to play at a plus level or better. However, Skenes would likely sign for slot or under slot money. It's already been stated that Crews' camp is looking for at least slot value, but it's likely nothing short of $10 million will convince Crews to sign.

I would love to see Paul Skenes pitch alongside Mitch Keller, Anthony Solometo, Johan Oviedo, Jared Jones, and whoever else fills out the rotation. But I'd equally like to see Dylan Crews take the outfield with Bryan Reynolds and Jack Suwinski/Connor Joe. In the end, I think you still have to look at it like this:

Skenes can only impact about 30-33 games a year. However, Crews' impact could be felt in 150+ games. Pitchers are more risky by default as well. I don't think there's a wrong answer in the Skenes vs. Crews debate; however, if I were given the pick, I'd choose Dylan Crews.