Weekend Pirates Draft Prospects Preview: 4/20-4/22

With the way the draft is currently shaping up, the Pittsburgh Pirates might have an interesting decision with the eighth overall pick. Lucas Giolito and Deven Marrero both entered the year as top five draft prospects. Giolito went down with a minor elbow injury, which was enough to force him to miss the season. Marrero hasn’t been hitting, but is a plus defender at shortstop.

If one of these players falls to the Pirates, should the Pirates take them? And if both players fall, which should the Pirates take, if any?

The red flag with Giolito is that he’s a pitcher and he’s injured. However, the injury isn’t serious. Even if it was a serious injury which required Tommy John surgery (and it isn’t), it’s better to have an elbow injury than a shoulder injury. Giolito could return by the end of the season, but he’s probably going to need to supply medical records in order to ease teams in to picking him.

Prior to his injury, the right hander was the number two overall prospect. He was hitting triple digits with his fastball. He’s got a heavy fastball, which he throws on a downward plane with good movement. He also has a power curveball with sharp break, and a changeup with good movement. He also has a big 6′ 6″, 230 pound frame. He sounds like Jameson Taillon, and maybe a bit more advanced at his age, due to the changeup.

Marrero’s red flag comes with the bat. He’s hitting for a .287/.345/.419 line in 136 at-bats this year. I’d take those numbers from a strong defensive shortstop any day in the majors. Unfortunately there’s a massive difference between college stat lines and those in the majors. Putting up a .764 OPS in college isn’t exactly lighting the world on fire. He has improved some recently, with a .908 OPS in April. He also has a 9% strikeout rate on the year, down from his low 14% rate last year. And he’s hitting home runs more frequently, although you can’t really say that he has power.

What makes him a top prospect is his defense. He has good range, above-average speed, and the potential to be a plus defender at shortstop.

Shortstop is a defensive first position, but I’m not sure you should take a guy eighth overall in the draft just for that defense. The Pirates were able to get a strong defensive shortstop with no bat in the Rule 5 draft when they added Gustavo Nunez. I’d say that Marrero has a better chance with the bat going forward, but things don’t look encouraging right now, with two straight years of a sub-.800 OPS. It depends on who is on the board at the time, but right now I’m not sure I’d take Marrero.

As for Giolito, his issues seem to be a short term problem. I don’t think a long term decision should be made based on a short term problem. Giolito is talented, and his injury doesn’t seem like the type that would take that talent away. I think if he’s there at eighth overall, you take him.

There might be some who wouldn’t want to see another pitcher added to the system, instead preferring to take a hitter. In the end that’s just drafting for need. The Pirates have taken a lot of top pitching prospects, but the reality is that pitching is a game of attrition. They have Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Luis Heredia, and Stetson Allie. It’s fun to project all four reaching their ceiling and creating a super rotation one day in Pittsburgh. The reality is that if two of those guys reach their ceiling, it would be incredible. If the Pirates get a chance to draft Giolito, not only will they be getting one of the top prospects in the draft, but they’ll also be increasing the odds of one day having multiple aces in the majors.

Notes From the Past Week

-Deven Marrero went 1-for-5 against Arizona.

-Trey Williams went 1-for-2 on Wednesday with a home run, a double, and three walks.

-Mike Zunino went 2-for-5 with a double and a home run against Florida State on Tuesday.

The schedule for the top draft prospects this weekend:


6:00 PM EST – San Francisco (Kyle Zimmer) vs Gonzaga

6:15 PM EST – Valencia HS (Trey Williams) vs West Ranch

6:30 PM EST – LSU (Kevin Gausman) at Kentucky

7:00 PM EST – Florida (Mike Zunino) vs Georgia

8:30 PM EST – Arizona State (Deven Marrero) at Stanford (Mark Appel)


2:00 PM EST – Valencia HS (Williams) vs Dana Hills

4:00 PM EST – Arizona State (Marrero) at Stanford

5:00 PM EST – Valencia HS (Williams) vs Dana Hills

7:00 PM EST – Florida (Zunino) vs Georgia


3:00 PM EST – Florida (Zunino) vs Georgia

4:00 PM EST – Arizona State (Marrero) at Stanford

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

2012 Pirates Draft Prospects Rundown: 4/16

Next Story »

2012 Pirates Draft Prospects Rundown: 4/23

  • szielinski

    No to Jack Wilson II

  • KingCobra15

    Correa at #8, Roache at #45, Foody at #68. A shortstop, a power hitting 1B and a LH starter with tons of upside, all organizational needs and very good players.

Latest Analysis

  • Josh Bell made the move to first base over the off-season. (Photo credit: David Hague)

    Why Should You Care About Prospects?

    15 hours ago

    Yesterday I had a shorter day than usual. The Pirates had cuts at the MLB level, and a road game. The day was shortened at Pirate City, ...

    Read More
  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    2 days ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    3 days ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    5 days ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    6 days ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    6 days ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    1 week ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    1 week ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Cody Dickson is a lefty with the upside of a middle of the rotation starter. (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

    The Mental Adjustment that Led to Cody Dickson’s Dominant 2014 Second Half

    1 week ago

    Trusting his stuff and not trying to do too much — that has been the key for left-handed pitcher Cody Dickson so far in his professional baseball ...

    Read More
  • Third Base Mathisen Luplow Joe

    Who’s on Third? In the Pirates’ Farm System, It Could Be Anyone

    2 weeks ago

    If you have ever played third base in your life — professional, college, high school, slow pitch softball — then the Pittsburgh Pirates might be contacting you ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles