Yesterday we took a look at three updated draft prospect rankings. Today we look at two new mock drafts, focusing in on one player in particular who has really jumped up the draft charts. The draft is less than four weeks away and the Pittsburgh Pirates will be making three selections on the first day (June 9th) with the 22nd, 41st and 68th overall picks.
I’ll start with the mock draft from Jonathan Mayo over at MLB Pipeline. He has the Pirates taking prep shortstop Nolan Jones and that’s not only someone who has been ranked 22nd and gone to the Pirates in other mock drafts, it’s someone we have heard that the Pirates have interest in selecting. Jones is a shortstop now, but his bat projects to be strong enough for any position if he has to move elsewhere. He is 6’4″, which is tall for a shortstop. His defense and arm are both at least average now, so some scouts feel that he can stick at shortstop, while others see third base, second base and even left field. All of his tools are at least average, with his bat getting a 55 (on the 20-80 scout scale) and his power getting a 50, while being called raw at this point, which means there could be more.
So we have heard that the Pirates have interest in Jones, and we know from the past few years that they like athletic prep players with the hit tool and premium positions. Two of the things that might hold the Pirates back from taking him are whether he actually makes it to them in the draft, and who else might be there when they pick.
Going to the Baseball America mock draft, they have the Pirates taking Georgia prep outfielder Taylor Trammell. That is a name you haven’t heard here for two reasons. The first was that he was ranked too low early on, then once I noticed him moving up, he was already going in the top 15 for everyone. The only real reason I noticed him early was because my first thought was wondering if he was related to Alan Trammell, the shortstop from the Tigers, who deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. That was followed by thinking it could also be Bubba Trammell, who had a nice little career not so long ago. Taylor Trammell isn’t related to either, so after reading his scouting report back in February, I moved on.
As mentioned, Trammell has really shot up the draft charts this year. Mayo has him going 12th to the Red Sox and notes that he has been brought in by several clubs with top 15 picks for private workouts. He is probably a player who will take some time to figure things out, because his best sport was football, yet he decided this year to just concentrate on baseball. Probably a very wise decision, both financially and physically (you can throw in mentally too as running backs tend to have more concussions than center fielders).
Trammell has blazing speed, rated as a 70 on the scouting scale. That helps him make up for bad routes in center field because he is still learning the position. He has good bat speed and strength, which gives him the “raw power” tag now. Trammell’s biggest issue now is recognition of off-speed pitches, which is something that should improve just from him seeing more playing time. His arm strength is below average, but it’s something he has been working on this year.
Trammell will take some time to develop, so he’s a player who you don’t worry about the position he plays and how much of a strength it is for the Pirates now. By the time he is ready, things can and will change a lot. The Pirates have shown that they will push their top prep picks to full-season ball in their first full year in the system, but Trammell would probably be a player who would move slower. I’ve included a video below courtesy of Prospect Pipeline.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.
Draft gurus and weatherman are on the same page in my book. I love turning to that page, yet they are never right.
They do hear things though and notice which scouts/front office members are watching certain players closely and by knowing how good the players are, they can piece things together. An example would be Reese McGuire to the Pirates. That was basically a given, as long as he made it to them because the front office flew out to the west coast twice to see him and scouts were watching him closely. We talked about McGuire the entire 2013 draft coverage because other people heard/saw things. The problem is that the further down you go, the harder it is to figure out every pick because it only takes one team to go in another direction and then better players are still on the board later than you expect.