For most of the last year, Mark Appel has been at the top of the draft rankings for the 2013 draft. That changed in Baseball America’s recent draft rankings. BA released their top 250 draft prospects (scouting report links in that link), and have Oklahoma right-hander Jonathan Gray as the top prospect in the draft. Gray has taken a huge jump in the rankings this year, putting up impressive numbers and hitting triple digits with his fastball.
Appel came in second, followed by Kris Bryant at third in the middle of his impressive, power-filled season.
None of those guys have a shot of falling to the Pirates, as they’ve separated themselves from the rest of the pack. However, the next group of players provides a lot of talented options for the 9th and 14th picks, and the Pirates have been linked to a lot of them.
Baseball America had a mock draft last week with Colin Moran going 9th to the Pirates and Sean Manaea going 14th. In their rankings they have Moran rated 7th and Manaea rated 10th.
Keith Law’s mock draft had the Pirates taking D.J. Peterson 9th and Trey Ball 14th. Ball is rated 9th by Baseball America, and Peterson is rated 15th.
Jonathan Mayo’s mock draft had Peterson going 14th, with Austin Meadows going 9th. Meadows is rated the 5th best prospect by BA, and both the BA and Law mock drafts had the Pirates passing on him with the ninth pick.
Baseball America has Trey Ball ranked ninth, and prep first baseman Dominic Smith ranked 14th. Here are the rest of the picks for the Pirates, and the player that is ranked in their spot.
51. Kevin Ziomek, LHP, Vanderbilt
87. Matt Oberste, 1B, Oklahoma
119. Cory Thompson, SS/RHP, Prep
149. Chance Sisco, C, Prep
179. Andy Hills, RHP, Prep
209. Jacob Hannemann, OF BYU
239. Mark Armstrong, RHP, Prep
Obviously those rankings don’t mean much, since the draft won’t go according to the BA rankings. A few former Pirates draft picks have been ranked around those spots.
Jason Hursh, RHP (6th round, 2010) – 50th overall, 2nd round option
Kent Emanuel, LHP (19th round, 2010) – 60th overall, 2nd-3rd round option
Dace Kime, RHP (8th round, 2010) – 91st overall, 3rd round option
Aaron Brown, LHP (17th round, 2011) – 99th overall, 3rd-4th round option
Austin Kubitza, RHP (7th round, 2010) – 120th overall, 4th round option
Brandon Thomas, OF (4th round, 2012) – 132nd overall, 4th-5th round option
Harrison Cooney, RHP (40th round, 2010) – 237th overall, 8th round option
There’s a lot of talent from that 2010 draft at the top of the rankings, although a lot of those guys were highly rated at the time out of high school. The Pirates would need each of these players to sign a waiver in order to draft them. I can’t imagine that would be an issue for any player, with the exception of Kime. The Pirates had an agreement with him, but MLB delayed the deal and he ended up changing his mind and going to Louisville.
Next Friday Baseball America will expand their rankings to a top 500.