Draft Prospect Watch: New Mock Draft, Plus an Elite Defensive Shortstop on the Rise

With four weeks until the actual draft starts, we have a new mock draft and some loose ends from the weekend, two involving Pirates’ draft picks from 2012 that didn’t sign. You can find the draft slot values for each pick here, covering all 11 picks the Pirates have in the first ten rounds. After the tenth round, teams have $100,000 to spend on each player and anything over that counts against their bonus pool. The draft begins on June 8th and the Pittsburgh Pirates have the 19th and 32nd overall picks. The Pirates will have the 11th highest draft bonus pool.

First with the new mock draft from Monday and it comes from Chris Crawford, who has covered the draft for years for multiple sources. This article comes from Baseball Prospectus and he goes up to 26 picks. He has the Pirates taking prep outfielder Nick Plummer, who has gone to the Pirates in an earlier mock draft and he has been rated #19 in rankings. He is a possibility since he has been mentioned often in this range and is likely a player the Pirates have seen multiple times.

Plummer would give the Pirates one of the best prep bats in this class, with many saying he is the best high school hitter. The reason you can get a player like that at #19 is because most(not everyone) think he profiles as a corner outfielder. He isn’t big, but he projects to hit for both power and average, plus he can run the bases well.

From the weekend, Walker Buehler and Vanderbilt, took on Richie Martin and Florida on Saturday. Buehler went 6.1 innings, allowing four runs on six hits, three walks and two hit batters. He had five strikeouts. It is interesting to note that Buehler isn’t the biggest player due to a thin frame and his results haven’t been as good as many others(including his teammate Carson Fulmer), but most people have Buehler going in their top ten now. I’m not sure anything has changed with this mediocre start, but it is highly unlikely he is still around when the Pirates pick. Teams are banking on his potential, which starts with a mid-90’s fastball, and they are willing to overlook results and size. He was injured very early in the year as well.

Richie Martin went 2-for-4 in the game, with a walk and a HBP. Against Buehler, he was 1-for-2 with the walk and HBP. Martin is hitting .310/.412/.457 in 52 games, with 16 stolen bases and a 28:24 BB/SO ratio. He is a possibility for the Pirates’ second pick, as most rate him around 30th overall. In the mock draft above, Crawford has Buehler going 18th and Martin 23rd, which is lower(Buehler) and higher(Martin) that most recently.

On the other side of the country, San Diego took on Pepperdine, in a game that involved 2012 Pirates’ pick Jackson McClelland going up against San Diego’s Kyle Holder. McClelland looks like he is going to go in the 4th-5th round this year, possibly a little higher as one NL West team is showing a lot of interest. Except for a fastball that hit 96 MPH, he didn’t look good this week, having his worst outing of the season and Holder was part of the damage against him. The shortstop finished with a 3-for-6 night, driving in five runs with a single, double and a homer.

We haven’t talked about Holder yet, but he is another late riser that deserves to be mentioned before the draft starts. Some have him as a top 50 player now and that was before his big game against a top pitcher. He had another two hits on Sunday, including his 13th double. He is hitting .355/.428/.483 in 50 games, with an 18:18 BB/SO ratio. He is going to hit for average, while his power and speed are average at best, but he is an elite defensive player, with some saying he is the best in this draft class. That will get him drafted fairly high up, but he could be a player that isn’t good enough to go 32nd, but won’t be around when the Pirates make their second round pick. Gold Glove-caliber shortstops are hard to find, so he won’t wait too long to hear his name called.

*Jheremy Brown from Perfect Game has a game recap and video for Missouri State pitcher Jon Harris, who some have as a top ten pick. Harris has really shot up the charts recently, after looking like a second round pick for most of the early season.

*Dan Kirby from Through The Fence Baseball, posted his article of ten college players on this rise. He mentions Harris, Fulmer, as well as Andrew Benintendi and Tyler Jay, two players we have mentioned often recently. Worth checking out.

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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