Rounds 11-15: Pirates Load Up on Center Fielders
Three of the five picks for the Pittsburgh Pirates in rounds 11-15 were center fielders out of the prep ranks. You might be wondering why they would draft this many players from one position. Typically, center fielders out of high school project to be athletes. Teams put their best athletes at either shortstop, center field, or if they can handle it, catcher. The guys they took are also out of the prep ranks, so don’t expect all of them to sign, but if they do, expect a few of them to change positions in the minors.
Jo-El Bennett-Lowe, CF, 11th Round
Holmes is a raw player who pitched and played the outfield in high school. According to Baseball America, he has just a little better than average speed, but the Pirates announced him as a centerfielder. He has good bat speed and is very athletic. He has a commitment to Troy University.
Candon Myles, CF, 12th Round
Myles is a speedy center fielder who is a weapon on the base paths. He once stole four bases in one game this year, and in the same game was thrown out trying to steal home. He has the motto that if he can get on first base, he already has third base. He has a commitment to Howard University, and also played football for South Grand Prairie.
Brandon Platts, RHP, 13th Round
Platts fits the Pirates’ preferred profile of a tall (usually 6’4″–What are the odds that all these young pitchers just happen to be 6’4″?), lean high school right hander. He throws in the upper 80s and has a curve and change. He was a good hitter in high school, but figured to be primarily a pitcher at the University of Missouri, where he has a commitment.
Jordan Dunatov, CF, 14th Round
Dunatov is a big center fielder, at 6′ 5″ and 200 pounds. Scouts love his body and athleticism, although he has questions with his bat. He has a strong commitment to Oregon State. He’s very projectable, with a 6.81 60-yard dash and speed on the bases. His bat speed is very good, and he has power potential. He also pitched in high school, throwing his fastball as high as 85 MPH. He profiles best as an outfielder, with a strong arm and good range due to his speed.
Kody Watts, RHP, 15th Round
Baseball America rated Watts the 139th best draft prospect, but he probably fell due to a strong commitment to Portland. He also got less attention than he otherwise might have because he’s not from the Seattle area. His family is well off, so he may not be strongly motivated to sign. He throws 89-93 reaching 95, and has a curve, splitter and slider, in descending order of quality.