Jim Callis posted his updated mock draft on MLB.com this morning and he has the Pittsburgh Pirates taking Pennsylvania prep right-hander Mike Nikorak with their first pick in the first round. We have talked about Nikorak a lot, starting with our prep pitcher draft preview back in February. There is a lot to like about him and being from Pennsylvania helps, though not because he’s considered a local kid. He is from Stroudsburg so that isn’t exactly local anyway.
Nikorak is 6’5″ with a fastball that can hit 97 MPH, with strong command and an easy motion. When you mix that in with the fact that he plays in a cold weather state with a shorter baseball season, you get an arm that many scouts would consider fresh compared to others. Nikorak also started on a low pitch count and had one outing rained out after an inning, so he really hasn’t pitched much, but when he has, he impressed the scouts. Just yesterday, he threw three no-hit innings with five strikeouts, plus hit a bases loaded triple that helped his team to victory.
I’ve included a video courtesy of Jheremy Brown. As you can see, Nikorak has a nice frame and he’s an athletic kid. He started off in the Pirates’ range in early season rankings, then moved up into the top ten. I’m not sure he will be around when the Pirates make their first pick, but there must be some buzz going around that has Callis dropping him this low. It could be based on a handful of players really jumping up the draft charts(Tyler Jay, Tyler Stephenson, Andrew Benintendi), rather than Nikorak doing anything that caused him to slip.