The Pittsburgh Pirates added a little bit of variety in the 16-20 rounds. They took a college pitcher, their first since taking Gerrit Cole in the first round. They also drafted a prep shortstop. The highlight of this group of rounds was 17th round pick Aaron Brown, a two way player who ranks as the 149th best prospect in Baseball America’s rankings. Brown is a left handed pitcher and an outfielder, but the Pirates drafted him as a right fielder.
Eric Skoglund, LHP, 16th Round
Skoglund is right in the Pirates’ back yard, coming from Sarasota high school, which is near the Pirates’ Spring Training facility in Bradenton, Florida. He has a commitment to the University of Central Florida. Baseball America compared his body type to Chicago White Sox left hander Chris Sale. He touches 91 MPH with his fastball, and held that velocity for five innings in starts this year. He fell on draft boards due to a thumb injury and signability concerns.
Aaron Brown, RF, 17th Round
Brown is a two-way player, throwing 90 mph as a LHP, but most scouts prefer him as a hitter and the Pirates announced him as a right fielder. He’s shown good power in practice but not in games yet. Baseball America thinks he has pitch recognition issues and swings and misses too much. He’s an average runner and his arm should play well in right. He has a commitment to Pepperdine.
Josh Poytress, LHP, 18th Round
Poytress was originally drafted by the Houston Astros in the 16th round out of high school, but chose to go to Fresno State. He sits in the uper 80s with his fastball, and tops out at 92. He also throws a slider and a changeup, with improved command this year. He put up his best results this year, with a 2.85 ERA and a 56:17 K/BB ratio in 79 innings, down from his 5.87 ERA and 60:36 K/BB ratio in 76.2 innings last year.
Taylor Nunez, RHP, 19th Round
Nunez is a tall, athletic pitcher who’s very projectable if he gets stronger. He currently throws in the upper 80s with loose arm action that gives him a chance to add velocity. His best pitch is his curveball, which he throws in the 76-78 MPH range. Baseball America rated him the 9th best prospect in Louisiana in a down year for the state. He ranked 88th in Baseball America’s top 100 players prior to the 2011 season. He has a commitment to Southern Mississippi.
Trea Turner, SS, 20th Round
Turner has a commitment to North Carolina State. He didn’t rank in the Baseball America rankings out of Florida, despite 100 players being ranked. He doesn’t have much power, hitting his first homer of his four year high school career in mid-May 2011.