Third Round: Pirates Draft Shortstop Stephen Alemais

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 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:

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).

  • If you’re going to teach your pitchers throughout your system to pitch to contact and keep the ball down and sinking, then you’d better have infielders throughout the system who can field. Otherwise the pitchers get frustrated and tune you out.

    So we invested in a good field no hit SS with a 3rd round pick, we can probably get him under slot and save money for the high upside pitchers we drafted. Looks like a good move to me. If we draft 35 guys and sin 30 of them, 1 will end up as a regular for multiple seasons and a few will either be bench players, or short term regulars, or trade bait. At least 20 of the will peak out at AA or below.

    Given our 11 picks in the first 10 (slotted) rounds, it seems like a good idea to have 4 or 5 signability guys to save money for later round overslot guys.

  • BallHeadWonder
    June 10, 2016 4:32 pm

    Is he better than Gift Ngoepe??

  • Plan is clear. Fuse Newman and Alemias into one Super SS aka SSS. Pirates one step ahead of the analytics curve once again.

  • Darkstone42
    June 10, 2016 2:18 pm

    Fair value pick, it seems. He seems to make some contact, so perhaps a couple mechanical adjustments to his swing could make his bat passable, but it’s never a bad thing to have a guy who can definitely play shortstop and play it well in the system. Or, you know, several.

    • Thanks for the link.
      Looks like neither of these guys can hit. Another defensive only SS?