Pittsburgh Pirates: Five College Outfield Prospects to Watch

Mississippi State OF Colton Ledbetter (10) takes a swing during the Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State
Mississippi State OF Colton Ledbetter (10) takes a swing during the Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State / Hannah Mattix/Clarion Ledger / USA TODAY
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Spencer Nivens

If you read my Pirates mock draft 2.0 article, then Spencer Nivens might sound familiar. Nivens attends Missouri State, where he's pieced together his best season yet. Nivens is generally ranked around the 110-90 range among most prospect rankings and is likely to go sometime between the third round and the fifth round, according to Future Star Series, which Joe Doyle writes.

In Nivens' junior campaign, the outfielder slashed .341/.437/.650 throughout 270 plate appearances. Nivens reached career highs in both doubles (16) and home runs (14) while managing an isolated slugging percentage just north of .300 at .309. Nivens also carried a healthy 16.3% K-rate and 12.6% walk rate.

Nivens' best tool is his hit tool. He had a contact rate of 92% and had no problems catching up to pitchers with average or better fastball velocity. Nivens is only 5'11", 185 pounds, and raw power isn't his specialty. However, he did generate solid enough exit velocities to where his ability to drive the ball with authority shouldn't be a massive worry. He also runs well, projecting as an overall above-average runner.

Nivens has displayed a solid ability to man center field. He's not projected to be a consistent Gold Glove finalist, but he plays the position to an average degree. However, his arm is certainly on the weaker side of things and is likely his worst tool. Nivens did play a handful of games at first base in 2022, so he could potentially be an option there as well.