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  1. #1
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    Pirates Draft Discussion

    I'll be honest this year's draft, which is just 8 days away, has snuck up on me and I have barely even given it a cursory glance. The Pirates have picks 22, 41, 68, 105 and then select every 30 picks for 37 more rounds.

    Here is Baseball America's latest mock

    22. PIRATES: The Pirates have local options such as Kirilloff and Zeuch who would fit at 22 if available; both are gone in this scenario. The value at 22 will be in the high school class, such as signable prep bats Josh Lowe and Taylor Trammell or are such as Forrest Whitley or Kyle Muller, as college players get pushed up. PICK: Taylor Trammell, of
    And here is MLB Pipeline's latest mock

    22. Pirates: Nolan Jones, 3B, Holy Ghost Prep, Bensalem, Pa.
    Jones' name pops up with a few teams up a bit higher, and there was some talk the Pirates were leaning arm, but the eastern Pennsylvania prepster's pure bat might be too good to pass up.
    I'll post more information as I see it.
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  2. #2
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    A couple of mock drafts lately have had the Pirates selecting Zack Burdi. Burdi is an interesting player in that its possible he could help the 2016 squad. He is seen by most as a relief pitcher who is basically major league ready (though some believe he could be developed as a starter).

    I'm not sure how I feel about drafting a relief pitcher with our 1st round pick. The immediate help would be nice but the low ceiling of a relief pitcher certainly wouldn't be.
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  3. #3
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    Rounds 1 and 2 (in which the Pirates will make 3 selections due to their competitive balance pick) will happen tonight.

    A couple mocks have been released today

    MLB Pipeline
    22. Pirates
    Callis: Zack Burdi, RHP, Louisville
    Pittsburgh has interest in local products Kirilloff and Zeuch but may not get the opportunity to take either. Burdi could bolster the Pirates' bullpen this year and be developed as a starter in the future, a la Chris Sale and Brandon Finnegan.
    Mayo: Nolan Jones, 3B, Holy Ghost Prep (Bensalem, Pa.)
    It might seem like the easy route to take, going with a Pennsylvania kid to the team in Pittsburgh. But there does seem to be interest in bringing Jones across the state and the Pirates certainly don't shy away from high school bats in the first round.
    Baseball America
    22. PIRATES: While the Pirates have been tied to prep bats, the analytics love Wake Forest’s Will Craig, who could eventually solve the Buccos’ first-base issue. PICK: Will Craig, 3b/1b
    Read more at http://www.baseballamerica.com/draft...GERaMGaMofT.99
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  4. #4
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    For the record the player that I most think the Pirates will select is Nolan Jones.

    The last time the state of Pennsylvania had a hitter get drafted in the first round was back in 2007, when Devin Mesoraco was taken by the Reds. This year, there could be two high school bats selected in the opening round, Alex Kirilloff near Pittsburgh and Jones, a talented infielder outside of Philadelphia.

    Jones' senior year started slow as he tweaked his back and missed the beginning of the season. As he returned, he was getting a lot of looks as he was thought to be one of the better pure high school bats in the country. Jones has good bat speed and excellent raw power from the left side. An average runner who might have slowed down a tick as he's added weight to his lanky frame, Jones has good hands and actions for the infield, though most see a move from shortstop, his high school position, in the future. Some feel the 6-foot-4 Virginia commit will profile well at third. But while he throws in the low-90s off of the mound, his arm action has others thinking that perhaps he'd profile best as a big offensive-minded second baseman or perhaps a left fielder.

    There might be teams who feel Jones has a chance to stick at short, but even if he has to move, his bat and offensive upside should get him off the board at some point in the first round.
    Going away from conventional wisdom for a second I am going to list Will Benson. I haven't seen him connected to the Pirates at all and its not as if he has a lot in common with Tucker and Newman but he is a very young player (still 17). There is no real reason to expect he'll be the choice but I felt the need to throw out a random name.

    It's almost impossible to discuss Benson with a scout and not have Jason Heyward's name come up as a comparison. They're both Atlanta-area high school prospects, left-handed hitters with similar builds at the same stage of their careers and outstanding athletes for their size. Benson led The Westminster Schools to the Georgia 3-A championship this spring, the Wildcats' first title since 1975.

    Benson's bat speed and strength give him well-above-average raw power, and the fact that he's more aggressive than Heyward bodes well for Benson's chances of tapping into it. He's at his best when he uses a short stroke, though he falls into the trap of trying to do too much at times. He hasn't had a great spring with the bat but still has enough offensive upside and all-around potential to go in the first round.

    A solid runner, Benson led the U.S. 18-and-under team with four steals in 14 games during the summer. Though he plays center field in high school, the Duke recruit will move to right field in pro ball and has the required arm strength for the position. He also has experience at first base.
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  5. #5
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    Just to throw another name out there CBS sports has a mock draft up and has the Pirates going with TJ Zeuch, a starting pitcher for the University of Pittsburgh.

    There's much more to this than the local connection (Zeuch is from the Cincinnati suburbs anyway). Zeuch is a monster on the mound at 6-foot-7 and his mechanics are surprisingly smooth for a player that size. He's got mid-90s gas, two breaking balls, and a work-in-progress changeup. Simply put, Zeuch offers the most upside of all the college starters still on the board. He has a 3.10 ERA with 74 strikeouts in 69 2/3 innings this spring.
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  6. #6
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    Pirates select Will Craig. He was accidently announced as a pitcher (he did pitch some at college) but he is a 3B

    A 37th-round pick by the Royals out of high school, Craig contended for the Atlantic Coast Conference triple crown while winning league player of the year honors as a sophomore in 2015. He chased the ACC triple crown again with even better numbers this spring and hit his way into the first round, territory no Wake Forest player has reached since the Padres took Allan Dykstra 23rd overall in 2008. "If he was body beautiful," one scout said, "he'd be the first player taken." He draws comparisons to Billy Butler, expressing compliments about his hitting ability and also concerns about his lack of athleticism and a frame that already carries 235 pounds. Craig makes consistent hard contact with a pretty right-handed swing that generates impressive bat speed. His ability to backspin balls helps give him 20-homer potential in the big leagues, and his mastery of the strike zone should enable him to post high on-base percentages as well. Craig has reached 94 mph on the mound as a co-closer for the Demon Deacons, so he has more than enough arm for third base. But he's already a well below-average runner and figures to get slower as he gets older. Most scouts think he'll eventually move across the diamond to first base and may do so before he reaches the Majors.
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  7. #7
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    A couple of prep arms were taken by the Pirates to close out yesterday. I'm not really a big fan of taking prep arms this high but its what we got.

    Nick Lodolo (LHP)

    Looking for a high-risk, high-reward proposition? Then Lodolo, the tall lefty from southern California, just might fit the bill. The 6-foot-6 southpaw is all projection at this point, though he's shown glimpses of what might be in there. At an early event run by MLB scouts, Lodolo was 92-93 mph with his fastball, commanding it to both sides of the plate while throwing downhill effectively. He hasn't repeated that, sitting more in the 88-90 mph range with his fastball, with a good feel for the strike zone. His breaking ball has improved, though it comes and goes, sometimes looking like a potential out pitch and sometimes looking like a below-average slow rolling curve. Some feel three years at TCU would do Lodolo some good for him to hone his craft and add strength, while others feel he could mature in a pro environment slowly just as well. A team that has seen him throw well and is willing to be patient in unlocking the potential might roll the dice early in the Draft.
    Travis Macgregor (RHP)

    Nothing for me to quote on about him but he is a 6'3" righty that currently sits in the upper 80s and can touch up to 94 with fastball. He also has a changeup and curve. According to what reports I saw his changeup sounds better than that of a typical high school draftee (usually if they even have one it is very underdeveloped). BA had him rated 186 and called him a pop-up prospect meaning he was climbing coming into the draft.
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  8. #8
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    By the way I haven't done any rankings for a while but off the top of my head I have Craig in the 8-12 range, Lodolo somewhere around 35th and Macgregor as a borderline top 50 guy
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  9. #9
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    First day 2 selection for the Pirates.

    Stephen Alemais

    It's not a great Draft for college shortstops, and Alemais is a candidate to be the first one picked who definitely can remain at the position in the Majors. He could go around the third round, which is exactly where recent Tulane shortstops and eventual big leaguers Tony Giarratano, Tommy Manzella and Josh Prince were chosen. Thanks to his quick feet and hands and his strong arm, Alemais can make highlight plays at shortstop. He also can get too flashy for his own good and will have to improve his defensive consistency. His tools will allow him to play multiple positions as a utilityman if he doesn't hit enough to be a regular in pro ball. Whether Alemais can remains to be seen. A former switch-hitter who now bats strictly right-handed, he employs a contact approach that yields very little power. Though he's just an average runner out of the batter's box, he's quicker once he gets going and has some basestealing savvy.
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  10. #10
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    Another prep left handed pitcher

    Braeden Ogle

    Projectable and unpolished, Ogle majorly jumped on radars early in the spring with performances that had scouting directors running in to get a look. While he's leveled off some since, his potential is sure to have teams interested. Right out of the gate, Ogle was up to 96 mph with his fastball, albeit with a lack of command. That brought in a lot of heat and he hasn't backed that up consistently. At times, he's matched that velocity, while in other outings he's been more in the 91-93 mph range. He complements his fastball with a hard curve, showing an ability to spin the ball well, and some feel for a changeup. He rushes his delivery and slowing his mechanics down will allow him to repeat it consistently and throw more strikes. Scouts like the University of Florida commit's arm strength, his size and his upside potential, even if he's a long way from fulfilling it. It's possible he's shown enough glimpses that he'll go early enough to never head to Gainesville.
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  11. #11
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    5th round pick is Blake Cederlind. He was taken late last year by the Twins and a brief article talking about his selection is all I have found so far

    Cederlind could be No. 11, should he choose to sign. He was drafted in the 22nd round by the Minnesota Twins, who were intrigued by the 19-year-old’s fastball and big body. He is 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds with a fastball that lives in the mid-90s.

    “Cederlind’s got a good arm. He’s kind of, I wouldn’t say a project, but a projectable (junior college) kid,” Twins scouting director Deron Johnson told Fox Sports North. “He hit 94 at our workout. He didn’t get a lot of time on the mound this year, but we took a gamble on a guy with a good arm (and) a nice body.”

    Read more here: http://www.modbee.com/sports/college...#storylink=cpy
    In the short time Devine and Cederlind have worked together, Cederlind has added about 4 mph to his heater. He registered 94 mph during a bullpen for Twins scouts shortly after his freshman season.

    “When you’re throwing 94 to 96 mph, that’s going to turn some heads and open some eyes,” Devine said. “Once you start getting past 91 and 92, to me, it seems each extra mile per hour carries a little more weight. The difference between 92 and 95 is greater than 89 and 92, if that makes any sense.”

    Read more here: http://www.modbee.com/sports/college...#storylink=cpy
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  12. #12
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    Another lefty but this one is in the college ranks and as a senior should be an easy sign.

    Cam Vieaux

    Vieaux knows how to pitch, producing a 2.28 ERA at Michigan State in 2016 with a fastball that ranges from the upper 80s to the low 90s and a solid changeup. The lefty was drafted last year, in the 19th round by the Tigers, but returned to the Spartans for another season.
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  13. #13
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    Here is how Vieaux describes his own arsenal

    I can reach up to 93 (m.p.h.) when I have to, but I like to stay comfortable around 88-91," Vieaux said of his velocity.

    "I’ve got a pretty good slider, both to lefties and righties. I get swings-and-misses on it or bad contact. And then the change-up I kind of just use against right-handed hitters, but I can throw it to lefties and get some weak contact on it.
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  14. #14
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    7th round pick is catcher Brent Gibbs. Gibbs is rated 194th by BA.

    Gibbs, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound sophomore from Alton, Illinois, batted .396 with 38 RBIs in 2016. He had 17 extra-base hits, including five home runs. He also threw out 14 of 30 runners on attempted steals.
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  15. #15
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    Gibbs sounds like a strong defensive catcher.
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