Third Mock Draft From Baseball America Has Pirates Going With a Prep Lefty

Baseball America has been putting out a new mock draft every Friday and will continue to do so up until draft day, which is now just 17 days away. Yesterday, Jim Callis gave his best guess for the Pittsburgh Pirates, predicting they will go with Mike Nikorak, a high school right-hander from Pennsylvania. In BA’s newest mock draft, they have Nikorak going to the San Francisco Giants with the 18th pick and the Pirates going with prep lefty Kolby Allard.

Allard was one of our headline players for the prep pitcher draft preview back in February. He turns 18 in August, which makes him very young for this draft class. The Pirates mentioned last year that they look for players like that who do well in their draft class, because they could be a year behind other players in development, with more room to grow. So Allard fits that bill, except he already has some strong credentials coming into this year, with a low 90’s fastball, excellent control and a strong curve.

He has drawbacks, one being his size at 6’1″, 170 pounds, which isn’t big for a pitcher. The other one is that he has been out for two months with a back injury. He is working his way back to full strength, but he likely won’t pitch anywhere before the draft, so scouts have to go on old reports. He was a consensus top ten player in the preseason, rated as high as third by one source. That means that if he is available, the Pirates could get a real steal with their first pick in this draft.

The next three picks in BA’s new mock draft have all been mentioned with the Pirates recently, college outfielder and Pittsburgh native Ian Happ, prep SS/3B Cornelius Randolph and JUCO pitcher Phil Bickford.

BA goes through the compensation round, selecting Boston College 1B/OF Chris Shaw for the Pirates. He missed some time this year with a broken hamate, but was ranked around this area before that, sometimes a little lower. His season has been over since last Friday and he finished with a .319/.411/.611 slash line in 40 games. He had 11 homers, even with the injury costing him time, and hamate injuries sap power.

I personally don’t see this pick happening because he doesn’t fit the athletic player mold. He will end up at first base because he is big and very slow, so his bat has to carry him. He probably does have enough bat to make to the Majors and contribute as a first baseman, so he is intriguing because that is a tough position to fill through the draft. I could be wrong, I just think the Pirates will go with either a pitcher that has starter potential or a more athletic player that isn’t stuck playing the position that requires the most offense to be considered valuable.

  • Christopher B
    May 26, 2015 3:39 pm

    I don’t see DJ Stewart in this mock draft, which surprises me given the power and eye he’s shown over his years at Florida State. Newman might also be an interest pick if he falls that far, if we want a bat in the first round. Great contact skill, decent eye, smart base runner, probably could stick as an average or so defender at short.

    Nikorak is probably the player I’d most want who has any chance of falling to us, though.

    • Christopher B
      May 26, 2015 3:41 pm

      Oh, there Stewart is, in the compensation rounds to the Yankees. That’s about where I thought he’d go, but if they pass on him, I’d rather have Stewart than Shaw.

  • Whaaaat? We don’t want another Big Country at 1B for our Buccos?? *sarcasm*

    • John Dreker
      May 23, 2015 12:13 pm

      From what I’ve heard/read, he sounds like he could be a really good hitter, he just isn’t very athletic, which is something the Pirates focused on last year, and I don’t think he will be the best player available when they pick. He seems like someone that if you were interested, you hope he drops to 62(probably won’t) and pick him then, otherwise just take someone else and not worry about it. But you get a better player with that #32 pick

  • Interestingly enough, could you imagine if the draft actually broke that way and you got both Aikin and Matuella? Haha

  • With Aikin, Matuella, and Happy all available I would rather ride with one of those three higher-upside players. I like Happy a lot. It Aikin and Matuella are tough talents to pass up.

  • I think the Pirates need to start following the Cubs draft model.Draft the best college hitter early The Pirates have built up a strong group of young pitching for years to come and they have the knack of finding good pitching. Position plauers are much more predictable. They need to start taking players who can help them sooner rather than later. The window for success is biggest now. If they do take a pitcher I like Nikorak a lot. Watched him a lot and I think he ends up being one of the best pitchers in this draft. I wouldn’t mind seeing them getting a highly ranked power lefty to add to the mix of Cole,Glasnow and Taillon either

    • John Dreker
      May 22, 2015 3:38 pm

      People think Nathan Kirby will be available when the Pirates pick and he’s a polished lefty that could move quick. His upside has been lowered though and most think he is somewhere between Jeff Locke first half of 2013 and Jeff Locke second half of 2013. He’s going to make the Majors as a starter, just not sure if it is a 3-4-5

      • Curious as to how high Aiken and the injured Duke P were projected. Thanks.

        • John Dreker
          May 22, 2015 6:05 pm

          Aiken 24, Matuella 34…so by his guess, both will be available when the Pirates make their picks

    • Chris: Not following your reasoning. Most of the Cubs came by trade or International Free Agency. Rizzo, Fowler, Russell, and Coughlan by trade; Castro, Soler, and Montero I think came from Int FA. The pitchers making the grade – Hammel, Arrieta, and Lester all came by trade.

      Kris Bryant is the lone college hitter who was drafted second overall in 2013 and Schwarber has a chance and he was drafted 4th overall in 2014. The Cubs have always been a sleeping financial giant. Therefore, they can afford to draft college hitters and buy the best pitchers and Int FA’s available. Money, combined with high picks, and the gunslinger mentalities of two of the very best – Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon. The Pirates do not have that luxury.

      Can we double down with Allard at #19 and Hooper at #32?

      • John Dreker
        May 22, 2015 6:07 pm

        At the beginning of the year, Allard and Hooper both looked like they would be gone before the Pirates picks, but if Allard really is around at #19, the Pirates could get both of them. It would actually make LHP a position of strength in the system

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    May 22, 2015 2:31 pm

    If the Pirates take Allred at 19, with Happ and Randolph (among others) still available, I would be very disappointed. Not crazy about Shaw at 32 either – he seems like the kind of hitter who doesn’t make it because of being a one trick pony and not offering much beyond HR power.

    • John Dreker
      May 22, 2015 2:41 pm

      I think Allard would be a real nice pick in that spot, he was someone that was considered a top ten prior to his injury, which wasn’t arm related. As for Shaw, of the players that went after him, I like Cody Ponce the best and I think he is a much more likely choice at that spot.

      • What is with up with UC and position players? For a school where baseball is a very distant 3rd among varsity sports, they’ve produced Youkilis, JHay, and now Happ, who by all accounts should turn out to be a productive MLB player as well. He’d be my pick unless one of the pitchers has top of the rotation type projection

    • Randolph might be a push for me, but I completely agree with you on Happ.

      If you’re going to take on all the risk of drafting a high school arm, I’d much rather have one with top of the rotation upside. Maybe I’m missing it, but a sub-6′-0″ lefty already into the 90s with a clean delivery just doesn’t seem to have much projection left. And if he really had reasonable #1 or #2 potential, I can’t imagine why he’d be dropping this far in such a poor draft because of a minor back injury.

      If Happ is as pure of a hitter as it seems just about everyone agrees he is, he’ll return *at least* as much value as a #3 starter and carry a ton less risk.

      • Keep in mind if he is already pretty clean, that means you can have the kid at 22 in your rotation vs. still learning how to pitch in his growing body in Bradenton…, a lefty hitting 93 with good secondary pitches doesn’t grow on trees- if he was a righty, then yeah, i see your point…..but a southpaw. You’ve got to take him- its a position of need and its good talent

        • jamminjoe66
          May 23, 2015 11:22 am

          I’m not sure why people think you have to have a lefty even if their less talented. St.Louis has been a dominant team for years with no lefties. I understand PNC Park & all but I’d rather have the most talented player & never give bonus points for just being left handed

          • well you might not understand it, but its about diversification. It’s like investing in stocks, but buying all large dividend producing companies because they all pay dividends and don’t have much risk. You face a team for 4 games that crushes righties or crushes fastball/slider combo’s and that’s all you have in your rotation, you see the value. Changing the look, changing the speeds, don’t let the hitters get comfortable. The first time you can really use a lefty, or have a bunch of teams in a row whom just have a ton of lefty starting hitters, you really see their value.

            I think the big thing you miss here is: from a “talent” perspective, it takes less “talent” to be a successful lefty than it does to be a succesful righty because how hard it is for a lefty to hit a lefty and the arm angle. If Locke was a righty, he’s ERA would probably be north of 6 for his career. Being a lefty gives him an advantage. If Aroldis Chapman was a righty, he’d be basically trevor Rosenthall- good, but not so dominant.

            Hopefully this helps reduce the mystery a little

            • jamminjoe66
              May 26, 2015 8:58 pm

              Your theory may hold water if I wasn’t looking at those rings all those righty’s from St. Louis pitchers are sporting around. Your comparison between the 2 relievers don’t hold water either since in that situation the lefty is the better pitcher regardless of what hand they throw.

              • You using 1 succesful team to make your point doesn’t hold water either….

    • HR power is becoming rare enough these days that it will start to be valued more greatly sooner or later. I just don’t know if this year is sooner or later…