The Pittsburgh Pirates have drafted Merced College right-handed pitcher Blake Cederlind in the fifth round of the 2016 draft. The 6′ 4″, 200 pound pitcher has a lot of velocity, sitting 92-95 MPH and touching 97. His curveball is a work in progress, and he also throws a changeup. He was drafted last year in the 22nd round, following a poor season in his first year in the JuCo ranks, but chose to return to Merced.

Cederlind has seen his velocity jump up while at Merced, working with assistant coach Nate Devine, who has had success with a lot of other pitchers, including Doug Fister and current Pirates right-hander Curtis Partch. He has improved his velocity since working with Devine at Merced in 2015.

Statistically, Cederlind hasn’t had the best results. He posted a 3.75 ERA in 57.2 innings, with a 63:34 K/BB ratio in 2016. He’s obviously got velocity, and some good strikeout numbers, but lacks control. He seems like a project, who could improve if he works on his command.

One thing to consider is that this could be a signability pick. The slot money for this is $318,800, and the Pirates are probably going to have to save some money for the three prep pitchers they took in the first four rounds. Cederlind wasn’t rated in Baseball America’s top 500, but was the #71 prospect in California this year, in a class that was given a two star rating out of five. So this pick seems like a bit of a reach, which makes it more possible that it’s a signability pick to create money for the prep pitchers. The Pirates happened to get a live arm in the process.

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