Pittsburgh Pirates Draft: Under-Slot Seems Likely, High School Bat May Be Gaining Steam

Is a high school bat gaining steam to be the no. 1 overall pick?

South Brunswick's Walker Jenkins Feb. 8, 2023 at South Brunswick's baseball field in Southport,
South Brunswick's Walker Jenkins Feb. 8, 2023 at South Brunswick's baseball field in Southport, / KEN BLEVINS/STARNEWS / USA TODAY NETWORK
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As the MLB Draft gets closer there is buzz that the Pittsburgh Pirates will look to go under-slot at no. 1 overall, and a high school prospect could be gaining steam to be the selection

The baseball world is buzzing about tonight's MLB Draft. Of course, the Pittsburgh Pirates hold the no. 1 overall pick in that draft. Due to this, the Pirates are at the heart of that buzz.

For so long LSU outfielder Dylan Crews appeared to be the guy at no. 1 overall. However, for a variety of reasons, mostly the fact that he may be the best pitching prospect to enter the draft since Stephen Strasburg, his teammate Paul Skenes has gained steam in recent weeks.

If the pick isn't Crews or Skenes, the next logical choice would be Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford. While Langford may not have the floor as a hitter that Crews does, some would argue he has a higher ceiling in terms of pure power.

The only high school name that has really been tied with the no. 1 overall pick has been Georgia outfielder Max Clark. A player who Jonathan Mayor of MLB Pipeline has said may have better all-around tools than Crews long-term.

Well, another high school player appears to be entering the fray according to Kyle Glaser of Baseball America.

At this point it is safe to say the Pirates will go under-slot with the no. 1 overall pick. If that does indeed happen, hopefully, it will be either Skenes or Langford. Nothing against Clark or Walker Jenkins, but Skenes and Langford both fit the organization better. They could both be on the MLB roster by next season, 2025 at the latest for Langford, to help when the team's window of contention should theoretically be opening.

In a lot of years going with an under-slot high school player at no. 1 overall would not be a huge deal. Hell, in a lot of years Clark would be the slam dunk no. 1 overall pick. That said, this draft class appears to have a generational talent both in the outfield and at starting pitcher.

Additionally, these two talents have proven it in the SEC. Proving it in the SEC goes a long way toward making Crews and Skenes the draft prospects that they are.

Hopefully, Ben Cherington and the Pirates do not overthink this. If Crews truly is set on the $10 million signing bonus number that's been reported then passing on him is fine, but you 100% need to draft Skenes then. And, if for some reason it's not Skenes, it HAS to be Langford. Going with a high school player no. 1 overall would be one of the biggest mistakes Cherington has made as Pirate GM.

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