Draft Prospect Watch: Mock Drafts Have Pirates Going Prep

The sixth weekend of college baseball wrapped up today, with weather canceling many games across the country, including top ranked North Carolina. Check out the draft preview posted here and the recap of the fifth week’s action here. Just a reminder, the Pirates pick #9 and #14 in this year’s June amateur draft, so for the duration of the college season, leading up to draft day, we are following the players closely that are ranked in that range. This year’s draft will be held June 6-8. 2013 draft

San Diego’s Kris Bryant went 1-for-4 today, but the one hit was a big one. In the sixth inning, he hit a two-out bases loaded double that cleared the bases and broke a 5-5 tie. Bryant was also walked intentionally in the fifth inning.

North Carolina opened up their weekend yesterday with a doubleheader against Boston College, but that was all the two teams could get in as today’s game was canceled due to weather. Colin Moran went 3-for-8 yesterday, with two walks.

From Friday night, Chris Anderson, the RHP from Jacksonville, has been getting some mentions in the Pirates draft range. This weekend against USC Upstate, he threw 8.1 scoreless innings, allowing eight hits, one walk and he struck out ten batters. He is now 4-1, 0.96 in six starts, with 60 strikeouts in 47 innings and a .177 BAA.

Austin Kubitza from Rice has also got some first round mention, though he likely won’t be considered when the Pirates pick. The 2010 draft pick of Pittsburgh, is 3-1, 1.41 in six starts, with 56 strikeouts in 38.1 innings. His stats actually looked much better before this weekend when he faced Southern Miss. Kubitza gave up eight runs(three earned) in 5.1 innings, with seven hits and three walks allowed, striking out three.

DJ Peterson from New Mexico went 1-for-7 in a doubleheader today, drawing two walks. While he has spent some time at third base this year and in the past, he played first base in both games today and that will likely be his position in the pros.

Aaron Judge and Fresno State had their Sunday doubleheader postponed due to weather.

Austin Wilson from Stanford still hasn’t returned to action yet. It was said on Feb 26th that he could return in 2-4 weeks, but there has been no word on his progress recently. He has played just one game this season, leaving late in that game due to a muscle strain below his elbow.

Pepperdine’s Aaron Brown continued his full-time move to the mound today and again, the results were not that good, though he did pick up the win. In five innings, he allowed four runs on seven hits and three walks. He was able to strike out a season high seven batters. Brown was drafted by the Pirates in 2011 as an outfielder. He was followed on the mound by a 2012 draft pick of the Pirates, Jackson McClelland. The big right-hander began the year in the starting rotation and had good overall results, but has been moved to relief. McClelland pitched a scoreless inning, allowing a single and he recorded one strike out.

Brandon Thomas, the unsigned fourth round pick of the Pirates last year, went 3-for-15 this weekend against Florida State. He was really hitting the ball well prior to this weekend, moving his way up the draft charts as a senior. Despite the poor series, he is still batting .441 through 23 games, with a 1.100 OPS.

Mock Drafts

Two sources recently came out with their mock drafts. Minor League Ball, which is run by John Sickels, and a website called My MLB Draft, which continuously updates the draft class throughout the off-season and regular season.  While I will stress that it is still early in the process(draft starts in 74 days), it is a good indication of the players in the area right now where the Pirates will pick.

Minor League Ball has the Pirates picking two Prep players, RHP Kohl Stewart and 1B Dominic Smith. You can read more about Smith on the link under his name. Stewart missed time due to a shoulder strain stemming from a football injury in December. He is still working his way to full strength, but early reports on him have been great. Keith Law has a recap here (subscription required) of his start on March 14th. He was clocked at 96 MPH, showing a plus slider.

My MLB Draft also has the Pirates selecting two Prep players, though not the same ones. They have Pirates taking LHP Trey Ball with the #9 pick and shortstop JP Crawford with the #14 pick. Information on each player can be found in the links under their names.

**I’ve added a detailed scouting report from Crawfish Boxes, which has plenty of video for JP Crawford.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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If the scenarios played out like they did in those drafts mock drafts you mention, who would you take in each instance? I think it would be pretty hard to pass on Manea if he fell to them as he did in the Minor League Ball draft. I wouldn’t mind Stewart either, though I would be hesitant to take him at #9 as if you don’t sign him this year, then they’re left with an unprotected pick. I think in the My MLB Draft, a college pitcher like Wahl or Eades might be better there than Ball…but as you noted, there is little information on him right now. Always fun to talk about even though we’re…10 weeks away.


Do you think there is a big difference between Gonzo and the other likely college starters who would be available there? I’m thinking guys like Eades, Wahl, Williams, etc. I’m kind of curious about this TCU kid, although if its the same one from Keith Law’s write-up, it sounds like he just got moved to the pen.

Kerry Writtenhouse

Brewers just signed Lohse, so that takes the 17th pick off the board. 3 years and 33 mill is the rumor.


The Bucs need to take either of the 3Bs – Kris Bryant or Colin Moran – with one of their picks.

Almost guaranteed that one will be available between 9 & 14 (i.e. both won’t be taken in top 8) so they need to pull the trigger.


John: Agree they are going to go young, but I favor a few others simply due to need. First, if either Reese McGuire, C/IF, or Trey Ball, LHSP, are still available at #9 , I would go in that order. Then at #14 , I would go with Ian Clarkin, LHSP. Those Top 20 picks are changing almost daily, and the Pirates need another RHSP or OF like they need another losing season. McGuire is a leader, hits lefty, and can play C/1B/3B. A shortage of LHSP’s in the system could cause the Bucs to get two of these if McGuire is not available.

Kerry Writtenhouse

They won’t and shouldn’t go for need. It should simply be best player available period.

The Ball kid is local for me, so I plan to go watch him, once the weather clears.

Steve Zielinski

“The Ball kid is local for me, so I plan to go watch him, once the weather clears.”

Given the crazy weather, you may not get a chance to watch Ball play until late June!

Kerry Writtenhouse

No doubt about that.

Kerry Writtenhouse

I’ll make sure to do that. This kid is a good athlete, he quit playing basketball to focus on baseball year round.


Planning on checking out both Crawford and Smith here in LA sometime in the next month or so. While my scouting acumen is far from prodigious I’ll none the less report back with any notable observations.

Wilbur Miller

Isn’t Crawford struggling to stay above the Mendoza Line in HS right now? Pass.

Steve Zielinski

The last time I looked — two days back — he was hitting over .300.

Steve Zielinski

I closely follow the Pirates and still can’t tell what the Pirates will do this June. At best, I believe it to be a safe bet that they’ll take a college player with the 9th pick. The team would receive be compensated again if it fails to sign its draftee, but the 2014 pick would be the 10th and would not be protected. There is risk generated by taking a prep player with that pick. Colin Moran would be the best bet for the Pirates with the 9th pick.


Ball and Moran for me, no interest in Bryant, nor going all prep!

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