Today we look at a new top 100 draft prospect list from Baseball America, as well as a the first mock draft from D1 Baseball. The draft coverage here started almost three months, but now we are in the homestretch leading up to the draft, with less than five weeks until it begins. The Pittsburgh Pirates own the 22nd and 41st picks this year. The draft begins on June 9th and lasts three days, with the first two rounds selected on day one. You can view our draft preview here, which covers many of the names who fall in the range of the Pirates. It also focuses in on players who fit the team’s recent draft strategy. If you missed it from Monday, we looked at the new rankings from MLB Pipeline, which will also be referenced below.
We start with the new Baseball America rankings, where they have Vanderbilt outfielder Bryan Reynolds at the 22nd best player in the draft. We have mentioned him often this year because he has previously been ranked 22nd overall and he has gone to the Pirates in at least one mock draft. MLB Pipeline just ranked him 24th, so as far as talent, this is the type of player the Pirates could get with their first pick. Reynolds has solid tools across the board, except for a below average arm. He has the range to play center field and his speed is an asset on the bases. He’s a switch-hitter, who leads his team with ten homers and 14 doubles. He also has 40 walks, though his 41 strikeouts are a high total for college. With Reynolds, you are basically getting someone with some pop in their bat (maybe a 20/20 HR/SB threat), who should get on base and play above average defense wherever you put him in the outfield.
In the 41st spot, BA has high school pitcher Kevin Gowdy out of California. It’s hard to pick who will be the best player available when the 41st pick comes up, so this will just give you a sense of the type of talent available. The hope is that someone better will drop to you, or that Gowdy could actually be that someone better by the time the draft rolls around and you still get him. If you go by MLB Pipeline, he is already better, as they have him rated 30th. Gowdy is a 6’4″ righty, who has solid command of three pitches that all rate slightly above average (55 on the scouting scale). He sits 90-93 with his fastball, but he has a projectable frame and easy delivery that should allow him to add to that. MLB Pipeline quotes his change-up as above average for a high school player.
Prep Baseball Report rated Gowdy as the 11th best high school draft prospect early in the year and that was with his fastball sitting 89-90 MPH the last time they saw him. So he is highly thought of by those who rank prospects. We will have a new mock draft from BA in Sunday’s article.
D1 Baseball did their first mock draft (subscription required) and they have the Pirates taking high school shortstop Nolan Jones from Holy Ghost Prep in Pennsylvania. Baseball America just ranked him 17th and MLB Pipeline has him 25th on their list. Jones is a tall (6’4″), athletic infielder, who currently plays shortstop, but will likely end up at third base. He’s a solid defensive player though, so a team might be willing to leave him at shortstop for as long as they can to see if he can make it there at the highest level. What will intrigue the Pirates the most is his solid approach at the plate and willingness to use the entire field. He has some pop in his bat and there is likely more there as he fills out. D1 notes that the Pirates are looking into high school bats and Jones is high on their list. For subscribers of Prep Baseball Report, they just got a look at Jones and posted a report and video. I’ve included a brief video below, which includes an at-bat against Riley Pint, who many consider a top five pick this year.
I’ll note that Bryan Reynolds went 28th in the D1 mock draft and Kevin Gowdy wasn’t among the top 34 picks.