The Pirates did some deep scouting in these rounds, taking right-handed prep pitcher Austin Shields from St. Mary Catholic Secondary School in Ontario, Canada. Shields has a commitment to British Columbia in Canada, so he’s going to be another guy who would require above-slot money. As I’ve noted earlier today, the Pirates have a lot of over-slot guys in the early rounds, which means they might not have much money for prep players in the later rounds. Shields could be a backup plan, if one of the earlier picks doesn’t work out, or if the Pirates happen to have some extra money that they didn’t anticipate.

This is the first player the Pirates have drafted out of Canada under Neal Huntington. They do have two area scouts who cover Canada, splitting it up into Eastern and Western Canada. The Eastern scout is Adam Bourassa, who was just added to the system this year. He was an area scout with the Padres from 2008-2012, before joining the Cincinnati Bearcats as their assistant coach and hitting coach. His biggest signing was Rico Noel, who bounced around as a minor league free agent last year, and made his MLB debut with the Yankees. He also covers Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Western PA. He was most likely the area scout who got sixth round pick Cam Vieaux from Michigan State. – Tim Williams

31st Round, 945th Overall: Jordan Jess, LHP, Minnesota

The Pirates drafted Jess as a fifth year senior. After struggling mostly as a starter his first three years, he served mainly as the Gophers’ closer for his last two seasons. As a junior he had a 3.86 ERA and 1.44 WHIP, with 25 strikeouts in 25.2 IP. As a senior he had a 3.95 ERA and 1.06 WHIP, with 35 strikeouts in 27.1 IP. With no eligibility left, he’ll probably sign. – Wilbur Miller

32nd Round, 975th Overall: Ben Miller, 1B, Nebraska

Miller is a big first baseman, listed as high as 6′ 4″, 270 on his official Nebraska profile. He also doubled as a left-handed pitcher in college, but was primarily a first baseman. This year he hit for a .317/.388/.457 line in 243 at-bats, with six home runs. All of those numbers were better than teammate and 53rd overall pick Ryan Boldt, although the key difference is that Boldt provides defensive value in center field, and projects to hit at higher levels. Miller could come in and hit in short-season ball, but his big frame might prevent him from being successful in the upper levels, where he will need to be quicker with his bat, and provide value defensively. – Tim Williams

33rd Round, 1005th Overall: Austin Shields, RHP, St. Mary Catholic Secondary School (Canada)

Shields is a huge high school pitcher from Canada, who was ranked 189th overall in this draft class by Baseball America. According to Nathan Rode, he got in better shape this season and he is now listed at 6’ 6″, 220 pounds, which differs from his draft listing. He was touching 94 MPH with his fastball and has a low-80s slider, which flashes plus potential. He has a commitment to British Columbia, a major college up in Canada. Shields has issues with his delivery, which has led to inconsistent command. Baseball America called him a long-term project. He would be in the right system for that if he decides to sign with the Pirates, as they don’t mind projects when it comes to young pitchers. He would start his pro career in the GCL if he signs. – John Dreker

34th Round, 1035th Overall: Craig Dedelow, CF, Indiana

Dedelow started for Indiana his sophomore and junior seasons. He hit well with some power, posting lines of .325/.375/.496 and .302/.359/.453 those two years. His plate discipline wasn’t strong, as he totaled 36 walks and 80 strikeouts for the two years. He stole only eight bases in a three-year career, so he doesn’t appear to be a speedster. He still has eligibility left so it’s not a given that he’ll sign. – Wilbur Miller

35th Round, 1065th Overall: Pasquale Mazzoccoli, RHP, Texas State University

Mazzoccoli, who has the best name of the Pirates 2016 draft, was the closer this year for Texas State. He can throw 94 MPH from a big 6′ 5″, 200 pound frame. He didn’t have the best numbers, posting a 4.43 ERA in 40.2 innings, with a 48:20 K/BB ratio. The Pirates probably like him for the stuff, and they should like him for the name. He’s a college senior, so he’s a guarantee to sign, and will be going to one of the short-season teams to fill out the bullpen. – Tim Williams

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5 COMMENTS

  1. In the case of guys like Shields, can he be enticed with both a baseball contract AND his college tuition (in case he doesn’t make it)?

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