The Pittsburgh Pirates have drafted Arizona shortstop Kevin Newman with the 19th overall pick, which was first reported by Nathan Rode.
— Nathan Rode (@NathanRode) June 9, 2015
Newman is a solid hitting shortstop with questions about his ability to stick at the position. He doesn’t profile as a guy who can hit for a lot of power, outside of gap power in the future. However, he has quick hands, and projects to be a great hitter, who has great plate patience. As for his defense, there are questions about whether he can stick at shortstop or play second base. He might not be a plus defender at short, but seems to have a shot at the position, and the Pirates will absolutely give him every opportunity to stick there.
This is continuing a growing trend with the Pirates. The last few years they have drafted a lot of athletic position players with great hitting tools, including strong plate patience, but questions about their defense and whether they can stick at a key position. Back in Spring Training, Pirates Assistant General Manager Greg Smith told me that they think it is easier to draft a good hitter who is athletic enough to play a key position and teach him solid defense at that position, as opposed to drafting a strong defender at a key position and teaching him how to hit.
Newman is a strong hitter, and if he can stick at short, he will be a good pick. Baseball America and MLB.com had him ranked 29th overall, while Keith Law was much higher on him, putting him at second overall in the draft, one spot ahead of first overall pick Dansby Swanson.