Keith Law Releases Top 50 Draft Prospects Ranking

On ESPN Insider today, Keith Law posted his list of the top 50 draft prospects right now and one name we have mentioned here a few times recently, has shot all the way to the top. Law has Brady Aiken in the top spot, jumping over Tyler Kolek and Carlos Rodon, who have been 1-2 for most people recently. Aiken is a 6’4″ lefty out of Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego, who already has a plus fastball, curve and a change-up that Law predicts will eventually be a plus pitch. He also has a solid delivery and plenty of projection left. In his last outing, Aiken threw 4.2 no-hit innings, with 12 strikeouts. 2014-Draft

Carlos Rodon was the consensus top pick coming into this season, but his results early have not been great. Some people have moved Tyler Kolek ahead of Rodon. Kolek is a big workhorse righty, who has been nearly perfect in three starts, giving up just one walk and no hits, plus he was hitting 102 MPH in his last start.

While those guys fight for the top spot, the Pirates pick down at the 24th spot and could move up if any of the teams in front of them, without protected picks, ends up signing Stephen Drew or Kendrys Morales. Looking at the 24th spot for now, Law ranks Virginia outfielder Derek Fisher there. Now this isn’t a mock draft, so this isn’t saying the Pirates would take Fisher. He is a pick with some question marks he won’t be able to answer this season. Fisher broke his hamate bone and will be out at least another month. That is an injury that saps players power and takes a year to fully recover from. Some have said that the injury won’t affect his draft status, but it will be tough for scouts to get a good read on him and it will be tough for Fisher to answer questions regarding his offensive potential.

Last week, we took a look at four early mock drafts.  They all had different picks for the Pirates, with Sean Newcomb, Chris Ellis, Braxton Davidson and Michael Conforto named as the Pirates choice. Law has Conforto 13th, Newcomb 15th, Davidson 22nd and Ellis was not mentioned. There seems to be a split on Conforto, with some putting him that early and others thinking he will be a late first round pick. As for Newcomb and Davidson, this is their range for almost everyone, so they are two to keep an eye on.

The strength of this draft class is pitching, pitching and more pitching. It’s top-heavy with both college and prep pitchers throwing from each side of the mound. Law has pitchers in the top six spots and 12 of the first 16 spots. There are also pitchers like Scott Blewitt, who hasn’t started his season yet, but could easily move up the charts and ten of the pitchers in Law’s 26-50 range have been mentioned recently as possible first round picks.

The highest ranked player that I have yet to mention in our draft recaps is Cameron Varga, who Law has 16th overall, so here is something on Varga. Law notes that he was dominating competition last Summer, but a cyst in his stomach has shut him down until now. He’s a 6’4″ righty out of Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy. Varga was throwing 93-96 MPH last July when he first returned from the cyst operation, but he was shut down after one game with bicep tendonitis, a result of him doing too much after a long layoff. When he is healthy, Varga has both a plus fastball and plus breaking ball. I’ve included a video courtesy of BP Prospect Team, showing Varga from last June, before any of his problems.

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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i see conforto play alot out here in OR… hard to imagine a better hitter in this draft. good eye, very good power, patient & clutch. teammate dylan davis will also do very well at pro level, IMO.


While the bat is nice, the defense is, from what I have read, borderline terrible: poor instincts, average arm, and unable to cover a ton of ground. Seems like he’d be destined for the DH or 1B. Not saying I’d pass on him but definitely some HS arms that may be more tempting.


conforto’s defense/glove = average, no better no worse. he’s not fast – true – but covers as much ground as travis snider… an admittedly low bar but clearly w/in NL corner OF standards.
“borderline terrible – poor instincts…” <- that's just nonsense.


I’ll take your word for it. I haven’t seen Conforto in person beside video. Most of the high school kids I’ve seen at the local showcase in Syracuse but they’ve obviously grown. Conforto is definitely an interesting bat and could be the selection. I just am not sure he will fit the Pirates mold of tools. The bat is obviously very nice but everything else being average may have the Pirates looking elsewhere.


well, i’m not concerned either way… Pgh’s drafts are much improved since GMNH took over. i was simply commenting that Conforto is easily one of the top hitters available, if not the best. Pgh would do well to keep an eye on the OR St. pitching staff, as well… top three starters are all MLB-caliber, IMO.
for those here who don’t follow college baseball, OR St. is the class of the PAC-12 and has been for the past 10 years or so…


Jesus- we have enough pitching. Beyond that, we’ve shown ability to get impact arms lower in the draft. What we haven’t shown, is the ability to get impact BATS lower (other than internationally) therefore lets use the upper rounds for what we NEED organizationally, and add some hitting talent somewhere other than outfield.


There NEVER is ” enough pitching ” !


You accumulate the BEST talent by taking the BEST player available. You don’t ever draft for need. If it ends up being a pitcher, I’ll be happy that he was deemed as the BEST player available regardless of need. if we start drafting for need, we end up with what Littlefield and Bonifay were doing (shudder). It still flabbergasts me how many people don’t understand that concept.

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