Last week Baseball America released their draft ratings, and graded the Pirates 2013 draft as the best in baseball. Yesterday they released their Pirates draft report card, looking at the best players from this specific draft. I’ll let you check out the link above for the individual reports. Below is the rundown of each player, with some thoughts below.
Best Pure Hitter: Austin Meadows (1st round)
Best Power Hitter: JaCoby Jones (3rd round)
Fastest Runner: Jones/Meadows/Jeff Roy (19th round)
Best Defensive Player: Reese McGuire (1st round)
Best Fastball: Buddy Borden (7th round)
Best Secondary Pitch: Cody Dickson (4th round)
Best Pro Debut: Austin Meadows (GCL), Adam Frazier (5th round, Jamestown)
Best Athlete: JaCoby Jones
Most Intriguing Background: Erich Weiss (11th round)
Closest to the Majors: Austin Meadows/Adam Frazier
Best Late Round Pick: Billy Roth (16th round)
The One That Got Away: Bryan Baker (40th round)
They also noted that several pitchers were topping out at 95-96, including Chad Kuhl (9th round), Justin Topa (17), Brett McKinney (19), and Henry Hirsch (22).
The Pirates draft was probably graded so high due to the multiple picks in the top half of the first round. But the draft looks really strong after the first round. The Pirates went for upside players, and didn’t really waste picks on true organizational guys. A lot of guys in the top ten rounds are risky, but have a serious chance of making it to the majors and being more than just bullpen/bench options. The guys in the later rounds aren’t just roster fillers, but are guys with at least one good tool. There’s the previously mentioned pitchers with strong velocity, or guys like Jeff Roy with a ton of speed, or some of the players who weren’t mentioned here, like Danny Collins, who has some power potential.
It’s been popular to say that this draft could be the best one the Pirates have had. Right now it would be tough to top the 2011 draft. That group has Gerrit Cole, Tyler Glasnow, Josh Bell, Clay Holmes, and other prospects who are either showing promise, or still young enough to break out like Jason Creasy and Jake Burnette. But I think the 2013 class has a shot to be just as good. The 2011 draft looks like it could have two top of the rotation starters, plus an impact hitter and a middle of the rotation starter. That’s a tough class to beat, but with all of the upside in 2013, plus the two first round picks, it definitely makes it possible.
It’s also good to see that the Pirates can get so many promising guys in the middle and late rounds, since they will be picking later in the first round and won’t have guys like Meadows and McGuire available going forward. These opinions are all first impressions, and can change down the line. The true measure of a draft is how many major league players come from that group. We won’t know that for a few years, but right now all signs point to the 2013 draft as an early success.