Keith Law has posted his second mock draft(subscription required) this morning and he has two names going to the Pittsburgh Pirates that we have heard often. With the #9 pick, he has High School catcher, Reese McGuire. At #14, he has the Pirates taking New Mexico first baseman DJ Peterson.
There has been a lot of talk with Peterson possibly going anywhere from sixth overall, to going to the Pirates with their second pick, so there is a chance the power-hitting righty isn’t available when the Pirates make their second selection. Assuming he doesn’t drop to #14, expect the Pirates to take a look at Mississippi State right fielder Hunter Renfroe, who is another advanced hitting that offers similar overall potential at a corner position.
McGuire is an athletic catcher, who already has plus defense and a decent bat that should only get better. He will stick behind the plate and his defense and intangibles are so good, that even if his bat doesn’t become a plus tool, he should still be an all-star caliber backstop.
The biggest surprise in his latest mock draft is the Houston Astros possibly taking Colin Moran with the first overall pick, though earlier in the week, it was said that he was one of their four finalists. So while it’s not a total surprise that they may take him over Mark Appel, Jonathan Gray and Kris Bryant, it is a big step up for Moran, who was recently getting mention in the Pirates range with their #9 pick. Another surprise is Gray falling to #5, his lowest spot in the last two months.
If the draft went down one through eight like Law predicts, the Pirates would pass on Trey Ball, the 6’6″ lefty out of High School in Indiana. Ball has fallen in this spot a lot recently. He is someone the Pirates would like to get, but may have better options at #9 and he likely won’t be available five picks later. Despite what we have heard about him, Law doesn’t have him going until the #16 pick, which would be as low as he has been in any recent mock draft.
Also getting passed by the Pirates would be Clint Frazier, the High School outfielder from Georgia. Frazier has tremendous power and looks to be a future corner outfielder that can hit 35 homers and play strong defense, with a big arm and speed to cover some ground. He plays center field now, but that might not be his future position in the pros long-term.
Two High School players from California that have been mentioned here often, are going #10 and #11 in Law’s mock draft. He has JP Crawford, the toolsy shortstop going first, followed by power-hitting first baseman Dominic Smith. Although neither name has been mentioned with the Pirates yet, those are two players you would like to see available at the #14 spot.
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.