Yesterday we took a look at the top 100 draft prospects list from Baseball America and compared it to the list put out by Keith Law earlier in the week. On Friday morning, BA came out with their first mock draft, exactly one month before the draft begins. For the Pittsburgh Pirates’ first pick at #19, BA has them taking high school shortstop Cornelius Randolph.
We touched on Randolph yesterday, who they actually have rated #19 as well. The rankings and the mock drafts rarely match up, and in this instance it is just a coincidence as they see Randolph as a good fit for the Pirates and someone they may actually take with their first pick. As John Manuel pointed out in the article, “they aren’t afraid to take high school talent” and Randolph is talented. One other thing that fits the Pirates and their draft approach, he turns 18 just days before the draft, so he is young for the class.
Most don’t believe that Randolph will stick at shortstop, rather that he will move over to third base, where his arm and good hands would play well. He doesn’t have the quickness to play shortstop at higher levels, although that might not stop a team like the Pirates from putting him there to begin his career and moving him down the line if he can’t develop into a solid shortstop.
Even if he moves to third base, Randolph has the bat to make an impact at a corner position. Quoting his profile from MLB Pipeline, which is also backed up by other scouting reports, Randolph has “the tools and approach from the left side to hit for power and average”. He has quick hands and uses the entire field. Randolph has average speed.
As mentioned, BA has Randolph ranked 19th, while Keith Law has him #37 and MLB Pipeline, headed by Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, has him 25th overall. I have included a video of Randolph courtesy of Big League Futures.
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.
It’s easy to see that the glove/exchange needs work. That, along with the double hop before release, doesn’t bode well for a future shortstop. But the swing mechanics look excellent.
Randolph is supposed to be one of the best HS bats available. If he can play 3B that’s a bonus. I also like Ke’Bryan Hayes there, same profile but more of wedded to 3B.
I get that you don’t draft for need for about 1,000 different reasons but I wouldn’t be opposed to adding another infield prospect.
If he’s a third baseman, it’s not really a position of strength in the system, so those that like the draft for need method would like Randolph. I think someone better will be available when the Pirates pick and I have a hunch they will go pitching early because this class is loaded with it at the top and pitching is such a game of attrition that they might want to go quality over quantity later. Injuries have been real bad among pitchers in this draft class and in baseball in general, so now would be the time to stock up with strong pitching, to help beat the odds.
I’ve long held this same logic when it comes to the draft…
But we’re eight years into the Huntington era, with the only drafted pitcher in the rotation being a 1-1 guy and the only drafted starter close to helping the Big League club possibly down with an elbow injury of his own.
The Cubs are looking pretty darn smart to me lately.
Interesting. I told one of my Phillies friends just today to draft hitters, sign international players and when the piss poor contracts run out start signing real pitchers again. Essentially model your team after the Cubs since you have money. The Pirates don’t have Phillies money so they don’t have the option of signing Jon Lester for example. Just my opinion. The Pirates have to take a different approach obviously. I think they’re past the Marlins/Rays stage and will hopefully move on to the Cards approach or at least the Cards approach with a little less money.
Was Casey Sadler abducted by aliens or something? He is a drafted starter who has already helped the big league club this year.
Your general point stands though. Pitching is a gamble.
Casey Sadler’s of the world can be had terribly easy. Far from the kind of guy you discuss with your first several picks.
Will you guys do a tier thing again approaching the draft where you talk about the “not gonna fall”, “Might fall, be happy if they get him” and “probably around at 19”? I’d be happy with pitching or left side of the infield because you can never have enough short stops and 3B is a weakness (for now). But if a stud catcher or OF falls to them, you have to take them I guess.