Baseball America posted their second mock draft this week. That followed their ranking of the top 100 prospects, which is similar to the mock draft, except in the second article they try to figure out who fits where based on team preferences and what they are hearing. You can see the top 100 rankings, along with a mock draft from D1 Baseball, in our article from Friday. The draft starts in less than five weeks, so we are getting into the time frame where the mock drafts will start popping up more often.
In their latest mock draft, Baseball America has the Pirates staying local to take Pitt right-handed starter T.J. Zeuch. He has really moved up the draft charts lately, after missing the beginning of the season with a groin injury. Zeuch is 6’7″, so he has the size the Pirates like to see from starting pitchers. He sits 92-94 with the fastball, touching higher at times. That fastball has good sink to it and some arm-side run, making him difficult to square up, while inducing a lot of grounders. BA doesn’t talk highly of his off-speed combo, consisting of a slider and a change-up. They say he commands both pitches well, but they are average offerings. The development of those two pitches will ultimately decide his upside. He has the size and the downhill fastball that the Pirates like to see, along with command of his pitches. Whether they are interested or not will likely depend on what they see with his off-speed pitches.
For subscribers of Baseball America, you can see scouting reports on their top 50 prospects here.
Of note from their top 100 list, is the draft placement of their 22nd ranked player. The Pirates make their first with the 22nd overall pick and BA has Vanderbilt outfielder Bryan Reynolds ranked 22nd. However, he is not among the 34 picks listed in their latest mock draft. Zeuch ranked 26th on the top 100 list.
D1 Baseball noted in their mock draft linked above, that the Pirates were very interested in high school bats. They said in particular that they would love to pick Alex Kirilloff, a 1B/OF/P who goes to Plum High School in Pittsburgh. They didn’t believe that he would be available, so D1 had them going with shortstop Nolan Jones, who is also a Pennsylvania native (seems to be a theme with their first overall pick). Baseball America has Kirilloff going 19th overall to the Mets, and I could see that pick. Mets definitely like to go for high upside high school bats with their first pick, doing it three times recently.
According to the BA mock, Nolan Jones is being picked 24-25 by the Padres, who own back-to-back picks. So not only is there an interest in a player like Jones, BA believes that he will still be available when the Pirates make their selection. You can read more about Jones in Friday’s article linked above, or in the top 50 scouting reports if you have a BA subscription. It seems that for now, he is a name to keep an eye on.