Pirates Had the Strongest 2013 Draft, According to Jim Callis

Jim Callis of MLB.com reviewed the 2013 draft today, and picked the Pittsburgh Pirates as the team with the best draft in the majors. This is the second time that the Pirates have gotten a grade for the best 2013 draft. Previously, Baseball America graded their draft number one. I can’t recall if that was before or after Callis went from BA to MLB.com.

Callis gives the disclaimer that it takes at least five years to really know what a team gets out of the draft, but these ratings provide instant analysis. Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com went a different direction, taking the Twins with the best draft. Callis said that no team can match the Pirates, mentioning that Austin Meadows and Reese McGuire look like potential All-Stars at up-the-middle positions.

Beyond the top two picks, Callis noted the depth later in the draft, pointing out second round prep pitcher Blake Taylor and fourth round college pitcher Cody Dickson as a pair of left-handers who show promise with three pitches. He also noted the right-handers, like Buddy Borden (7th round), Neil Kozikowski (8th round), Chad Kuhl (9th round), and Shane Carle (10th round). Kozikowski is the only high schooler of the group, and Callis says he has the most upside in the group due to his projectable frame and low-90s fastball. The other three are sinkerball pitchers, which is not uncommon for the Pirates.

Outside of the pitching, the Pirates took a few high upside position players. Of those players, Callis mentioned JaCoby Jones, who he says was the best college athlete in the draft, and Adam Frazier, who he graded as the top college shortstop available.

Callis only focused on the top ten rounds, so he didn’t get into guys like Billy Roth in the middle rounds. However, looking at the top ten rounds it doesn’t look like the Pirates wasted any picks. Not all of those guys will work out, but the Pirates picked a lot of players who have a good shot of reaching the majors. Right now I would say the 2011 draft has been the best for the Pirates, but the 2013 draft could easily surpass the 2011 group in a few years. That’s saying a lot since the 2011 group looks like it could produce two top of the rotation pitchers (Gerrit Cole, Tyler Glasnow), a mid-rotation starter (Clay Holmes), and a back of the rotation starter or strong middle reliever (Jason Creasy).

Author: 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 AccuScore.com, 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.

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