Minor League Ball put out their second mock draft yesterday and they added a new name to the mix for the Pittsburgh Pirates, High School catcher Nick Ciuffo. The backstop from South Carolina was called possibly the best all around catcher in this draft class. Matt Garrioch, who posted the mock draft, thinks he could get to the majors faster than any other catcher in the draft class.
Most of this year, Reese McGuire has been called the best catcher in this class, a few giving that title to Jon Denney from Oklahoma. Along with Ciuffo, all three are HS catchers. Garrioch has McGuire going #12 in the draft, Ciuffo #14 and Denney going 26th overall.
With the #9 pick, Garrioch has the Pirates taking Arkansas pitcher Ryne Stanek. That seems like a possible pick and is close to where we have heard Stanek going recently, after starting the year as a possible #1 overall pick.
If the draft went down the way they predict, the Pirates would be passing over McGuire, Austin Meadows and Clint Frazier with that ninth pick. Both Meadows and Frazier have been top six picks all year, anywhere in the 1-6 spots until recently. The two High School outfielders from the same town in Georgia, both have huge upside and plenty of tools. Oddly, both have fallen at the same rate, keeping their names together all season long.
Another player between the 9 and 14 picks on that list, is JP Crawford, a toolsy HS shortstop, who looks like he can stick at the position and hit at the top of the order.
Right after the #14 pick is Dominic Smith, a power hitting High School first baseman from California. That #15 spot is where he is mentioned in most drafts.
One big surprise from this mock draft is Trey Ball lasting until the 19th pick. That would be shocking because he has been going higher in every other mock draft and he has also been linked to the Pirates. The 6’6″ lefty out of New Castle HS in Indiana, throws low 90’s, with an excellent change-up. He is also very athletic, good enough to be drafted early as an outfielder.
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.