Jim Callis at MLB Pipeline put out his latest mock draft, with the first day of the 2016 amateur draft just six days away now. He has the Pirates going with a name we heard from Keith Law recently. It seems unlikely that the Pirates would take a reliever with their first round pick, but we have heard from two different sources now that they have an interest in Louisville closer Zack Burdi. Callis brings up the point that Burdi could help the Pirates this year, something others have said about him as well. Then the Pirates could send him down to the minors next year and try to develop him as a starter.
Burdi can hit 100 MPH consistently now, mixing that with a plus slider and a changeup that is a nice third pitch, something you don’t see often from a reliever. So there are some scouts who see three pitches that range from average to plus-plus and they think he can be a future starter. Others don’t think he has the command to be a starter and then of course, you would have the stamina issue and whether he can handle that type of workload. I think the idea by Callis is a good one because he will still have the back-end of the bullpen as a strong fallback option, but the Pirates haven’t shown the desire to draft a reliever early, or fast track anyone like he is suggesting.
Callis also mentions the Pirates have interest in the Pennsylvania trio we have heard so much about recently. Alex Kirilloff, a prep 1B/OF from Pittsburgh, will likely be off the board before the Pirates pick. Callis still has prep SS/3B Nolan Jones and Pitt right-handed starter T.J. Zeuch on the board when the Pirates pick. He basically gives four names that we have heard a lot recently connected to the Pirates. D1 Baseball also confirmed the Pirates are interested in Kirilloff and Jones.
MLB Pipeline also updated and expanded their top 100 list, taking it to 200 today. They have Kirilloff ranked 18th, Jones is 20th, followed by Zeuch at #28 and Burdi is 41st on the list. Coincidentally, 41st overall in the draft is where the Pirates make their second selection.
If you missed it from yesterday, we looked at updated rankings from three different sources.
Keith Law posted his third mock draft and he’s still going with Zack Burdi for the Pirates. Not much to add besides what was said up top. Law doesn’t think it’s a lock the Pirates go with Burdi, or even select a pitcher, but he doesn’t see him dropping below the early 20’s in the draft. He has Kirilloff going 16th overall and Zeuch one spot behind him. Law doesn’t have Nolan Jones among his top 34 picks, but mentions that a team with multiple picks in the compensation round might take him a little later and sign him to an over-slot deal.
I expect a mock draft from Baseball America today, since Friday seems to be the big day for them. If they post one, I’ll add it and change the title, so check back later. For now, they updated their top 500 list (was at 300 before today and the rankings have changed). You can view that here. In keep with the theme of this article, they have Kirilloff ranked 15th, followed in order a few spots later by Nolan Jones, T.J. Zeuch and Zack Burdi in the 19-21 spots.