Baseball America has released their 2015 Pittsburgh Pirates draft report card, which gives insight into the best tools among pitchers and position players. You can read more in the link above, but here is a quick summary of the best tools with some notes:
Best Pure Hitter: Both Kevin Newman and Ke’Bryan Hayes get mentioned here, with Newman being the polished college hitter and Hayes having above-average potential at the plate according to J.J. Cooper.
Best Power Hitter: Casey Hughston had the most power potential, but he hasn’t shown it yet. He swings and misses a lot, racking up 71 strikeouts for Morgantown this season, so he will need to improve in that area before the power will come through in his game.
Fastest Runner: Pirates didn’t get good marks in this area, with Newman being the best and his speed only rates at 55 on the 20-80 scout scale.
Best Defensive Player: Newman, Hayes and Kevin Kramer all get mentions here, with Kramer getting above-average ratings at second base, while Hayes is already considered above-average at third.
Best Fastball: Here’s another area where nothing really stands out. Seth McGarry, J.T. Brubaker, Stephan Meyer, Bret Helton and Jacob Taylor all sit low-90’s. Taylor had Tommy John surgery after just one inning, otherwise he would be considered the best of this group.
Best Pro Debut: Hayes, Brubaker and Logan Hill all get mentions here. Hill had a great season for Morgantown, leading the team in many offensive categories, after being the 25th round pick.
Best Athlete: For position players, Hughston is considered the best and he showed off some strong defense in center field. For pitchers, McGarry gets the nod.
Closest to Majors: No surprise here, Newman and Kramer are both considered the closest. They were the two highest drafted college players and the Pirates tend to move position players quicker. Both could see Altoona in the second half of next year if all goes well.
Best Late Round Pick: Hill and Chris Plitt are the top late picks. Plitt doesn’t throw hard, but he’s a good pitcher, who throws a lot of strikes and he has room/potential to add velocity.
The One That Got Away: Austin Sodders and Cole Irvin are the top two here. Sodders is really the “one that got away” because he agreed to sign and was even assigned to the GCL team before deciding he wasn’t ready just yet for pro ball.