Rum Bunter Pittsburgh Pirates Mock Draft 2.0

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Round Four - Spencer Nivens

The Pirates need outfielders, and while adding Dylan Crews is a major boost to the farm system and minor league outfield depth, adding at least one other outfielder early in the draft should be on the Pirates' things-to-do list. That doesn't mean they should go out of their way and make an unwise pick just to get an outfielder, but Spencer Nivens definitely could be a fourth-rounder and one that would be deserving of the pick.

Nivens attends Missouri State University, where he's slashed .343/.440/.594 throughout his college career. Drawing walks and avoiding K's have been one of his strongest suits, as he's drawn ball four in 14% of his plate appearances, with a strikeout rate of just 15.9%. He's also hit for some power with 25 home runs.251 isolated slugging percentage.

This season, Nievens has hit .341/.437/.650. Nivens has gone yard 14 times with an isolated slugging percentage over .300 at .309. He's drawn a walk 12.6% of the time with a quality 16.3% strikeout rate. Nivens' 1.087 OPS is just over 100 points greater than his OPS last season, and he's already surpassed his 2022 home run total in 19 fewer plate appearances.

Nieves takes a high-contact approach to the plate. His contact rate on fastballs is in the 90% range. But he pairs that high-end contact with above-average exit velocity. Nieves has seen an uptick in raw power this past season and projects to be a 20-home run threat.

Nivens split the 2022 season between first base, left field, and center field. However, he's primarily taken up CF in 2023. His speed is average to slightly above average, though his arm strength is on the fringy side. While he's displayed solid instincts in center, he'll likely move to left field.

There's not really one tool here that stands out, nor is there one tool here that is so far below average it would be too risky to take him. His best tool is his hit tool, with his power also projecting to be average to above average. He'll fit fine in left field as well. The ceiling here is a Michael Brantley-type player. The risk is you're already taking a guy who projects as an LF long-term, however.