Draft Prospect Watch: New Rankings and a New Mock Draft

Today we have some weekend action, reports on four high school players from Georgia, new rankings and a new mock draft. Yesterday, we looked at two top ten lists from Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo to see what players likely won’t be around when the Pirates make their first selection.  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.

Outfielder D.J. Stewart and Florida State, took on Coastal Carolina on Friday and Saturday. The Seminoles won big in game one, running up a 16-2 score. Stewart had three hits, drove in five runs and scored three times. He hit his 11th homer, and even though he has below-average speed, he stole his sixth base of the year. On Saturday, he went 2-for-3 with a walk and homered again in an 8-3 win. Stewart has been ranked near the Pirates second pick numerous times recently.

Shortstop Richie Martin and his Florida Gators, got beat 11-1 by Georgia on Friday. Martin went 0-for-2 with two walks. On Saturday, he went 1-for-5, though the hit was a big one. In the ninth, he tripled and scored a run, breaking a 2-2 tie, for a 3-2 Florida win. Martin is hitting .311 this season. He seems like a possibility for the second pick of the Pirates.

On Thursday, Southern Nevada’s Phil Bickford made his final regular season start and looked good through six innings and 90 pitches. He allowed one run on five hits and no walks, with 12 strikeouts. Bickford has been mentioned numerous times in the Pirates’ range in mock drafts and rankings. He finished the regular season with a 1.48 ERA in 73 innings, posting a 17:138 BB/SO ratio and a .153 BAA.

Sticking with the players mentioned in the Pirates’ range, Cal Poly Pomona righty Cody Ponce went seven innings on Saturday against SFSU and allowed one run on three hits and a walk, while striking out eight batters. It was a complete game(second game of a doubleheader) and he threw 105 pitches. He throws mid-90’s and has a huge frame at 6’5″, 235 pounds. That gives him a big upside, but he is not a polished pitcher, so he could also end up as a power reliever.

**Baseball America has reports from a busy day around the Georgia high school circuit. Among the players covered here are outfielder Daz Cameron, shortstop Cornelius Randolph, catcher Tyler Stephenson and pitcher Dakota Chalmers. Cameron looks like he will be a top ten pick, but the others are all names you could hear on the first day of the draft when the Pirates pick. Chalmers has gone to the Pirates in a recent mock draft, while Stephenson is a player that is climbing quickly.

**Dan Kirby from Through The Fence Baseball has his third mock draft, going all the way to the 36th pick, so it covers the first two picks for the Pirates. He has prep outfielder Nick Plummer going to the Pirates with their first pick, while the second pick is Luken Baker. Plummer was recently ranked #11 by MLB Pipeline, as one of the best high school hitters available. He plays center field, but may need to move to a corner spot as he gets older. Baker is intriguing because a team will have to decide between using him as a power-hitting first baseman, or a hard-throwing pitcher. He was rated lower by Pipeline, who sees him as a late second round pick. The fact that he has a strong fallback option, could sway some team to take him earlier.

**Jeff Ellis from Scout.com has his rankings of the top 50 players in the draft. The players ranked #26-50 are up now to view as well and there are obviously some very interesting names that will be available when the Pirates make their second pick if he rankings hold true. Ellis has Arkansas outfielder Andrew Benintendi(see yesterday’s article) ranked #19 and Florida prep pitcher Juan Hillman ranked 32nd overall. We had a report on Hillman earlier this week, when he was sitting 86-91, showing a good curve. He is usually ranked a little lower for most people and the lack of velocity this week makes it a little hard to pass up some more polished, hard-throwing pitchers rated after him on this list.

  • Seems a bit odd that Richie Martin doesn’t seem to be moving up rankings much at all, not that that means anything.

    .318/.416/.457 with more walks than strikeouts from a guy with plus speed and enough glove to stick at short would seem like a steal of a pick at 32 coming from a major college program. Might be one of those guys that scouts have already made their minds up about and have moved on to fresher pop up players.

    • John Dreker
      May 3, 2015 4:13 pm

      I think it would be a great pick at #32 if they can get it. I saw him a few times when I was down in Florida, good approach at the plate, great speed, solid D. How many shortstops actually hit for power? That seems to be the main knock against him, but I’ll take a .280 hitter, with some walks, 30+ steals and at least average defense at a key spot.

  • John: If either Brady Aiken or Nathan Kirby are available at No. 19, I pick either one. When I read the analysis of the guy from Scout, he talked about negative medical rumors regarding Aiken. Last I heard, the TJ surgery went well – has there been a problem?

    • John Dreker
      May 3, 2015 12:59 pm

      That is the first I heard that, but it sounds like some teams are scared off by the medical reports and they don’t think he will have a future in baseball. It’s something I’ll be looking for. Kirby is an interesting one because some people last year were saying he could be the first overall pick. He hasn’t lived up to the early hype and now the upside sounds like a #3 starter.