Three potential under slot draft picks to keep an eye on for the Pirates

If the Pirates opt to take an under slot player early in the draft, here are some names they should keep tabs on.
Tommy White 47 hits his second home run of the night as the LSU Tigers take on the Vanderbilt
Tommy White 47 hits his second home run of the night as the LSU Tigers take on the Vanderbilt / SCOTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY Network / USA
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Caleb Lomavita

If the Pirates want to take a catcher early in the draft while also still going under slot, then look no further than Caleb Lomavita. Most prospect rankings have him as a top 20 prospect in the draft. If the Pirates were to take him 9th overall, they’d probably be able to secure the athletic backstop to an under-slot deal.

Lomavita has hit .333/.391/.622 throughout 151 plate appearances for the University of California, Berkeley. Lomavita’s power has progressed each and every season. After having just a .142 isolated slugging percentage in 2022, he pumped that up to .292 in ‘23 and is currently sitting at .289. He has good bat speed and has started to translate that into in-game pop. Lomavita has never been one to draw many walks. He has just a 6.1% walk rate throughout college and 3.3% this year. However, he’s also not prone to striking out much, with a 16.1% career K% and 17.2% rate this year.

Lomavita is a good backstop with a strong throwing arm. He’s also progressed in keeping the run game under control throughout college. However, he’s an athletic backstop with some speed. He could potentially move out from behind the plate and see some time in the outfield. He’s been a smart base runner, going 33/37 in stolen base attempts, an 89.2% success rate.

While Lomavita does not have one standout tool, all of his attributes could end up at a 55-grade level. Lomavita is a catcher who could hit for some pop, average, and even run a little while playing solid defense behind the plate or in the corner outfield. This would be a good candidate if the Pirates wanted to draft another catcher and go under slot.