Pittsburgh Pirates: My Favorite 2023 Draft Picks

These are my favorite draft picks from the 2023 draft.

Aug 28, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, US; West pitcher Zander Mueth (13) during the Perfect Game
Aug 28, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, US; West pitcher Zander Mueth (13) during the Perfect Game / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Magdiel Cotto

The Pirates went with a very pitcher-heavy draft for the second year in a row. One of their mid-round picks was yet another college pitcher, this time coming in the form of left-hander Magdiel Cotto. Cotto is an interesting lefty out of the University of Kentucky. The Pirates selected him in the 11th round.

Cotto’s 2023 season had its fair share of positives and negatives. To get the bad news out of the way, he allowed 12 earned runs and walked about 11% of the opponents he faced through 18 innings. The good news is that he struck out a lot of batters. Cotto had a 31.7% strikeout rate, as well as allowing just a single home run, good for an HR/9 rate of 0.5.

While Cotto’s numbers in the SEC were mediocre, he did very well in the Cape Cod League last year. In 27 innings, Cotto owned a 2.67 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, and 2.4 K:BB ratio. Walks were still an issue with a sub-par 10.6% walk rate, but he still carried a healthy 25.7% strikeout rate and allowed just one home run. His HR/9 was even lower at just 0.33.

Cotto certainly has good stuff. He typically works in the mid-90s but can crank it up into the upper-90s. He also throws a tight slider in the mid-80s. Then there’s his change-up, coming in around the mid-upper-80s. While his change-up is his third offering, it does have some tumble to it. Cotto throws from a three-quarters arm slot, but has a whippy motion.

Because of his motion, he has some command issues. That was present throughout college and the Cape. But Cotto is a strongly built, 6’4”, 250 pound left-hander with a good arsenal. Cotto can potentially be a good left-handed reliever in the future.

Next. Mueth signs. Pirates Sign Zander Mueth to Over-Slot Deal. dark