The Pittsburgh Pirates have drafted Tulane shortstop Stephen Alemais in the third round of the 2016 draft. Alemais got first round consideration early in the process, but slipped to a third/fourth round talent. Baseball America had him rated 120th, while MLB.com had him 114th overall. He was taken with the 105th pick.
Alemais is a strong defensive shortstop who should stick at the position. He does have questions about his bat, which is why he didn’t go higher than this (a strong defensive shortstop who will stick at the position and has no questions would be an easy first rounder). The defensive skills come from good hands, quick feet, a lot of range, and a strong arm that grades as above average or plus.
Offensively, Alemais hit for a .311/.368/.401 line in 212 at-bats with Tulane in 2016. He also had a 29:20 K/BB ratio. He shows contact skills and good plate patience, but doesn’t have power. He does have speed and is a smart base runner, although he gets out of the box slow.
The initial reactions on Alemais were good for a third round pick:
Pirates get one of the best defensive SS in the draft in Stephen Alemais. Another Tulane good glove.
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) June 10, 2016
#Pirates take Stephen Alemais. Slipped from 1st round status. SS tools but needs to tune up his game. Good LD bat, not a big power guy
— Frankie Piliere (@FPiliereD1) June 10, 2016
If the hit tool can carry him to the majors, then he could be a good utility player, with his defense being good enough to play other positions. He would also have a lot of value as a backup shortstop with his strong defense, and might even make it as a starter for a team that is weaker at shortstop and favors defense. He might be blocked in this system, with Kevin Newman and Cole Tucker ahead of him. He will also be competing with Adrian Valerio in the lower levels, who is another strong defensive shortstop. But having strong defensive shortstops is something you can never get enough of, as those guys can easily move around to other positions, and have an easier time providing value in the upper levels on their defense alone (SEE: Ngoepe, Gift).