Baseball America Releases 2016 Pirates Draft Report Card

Baseball America posted their draft report card for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday morning. They grade the players in multiple categories, find the best in multiple pitching and hitting strengths.

Will Craig was named the best pure hitter, best power hitter, best pro debut and closest to the majors. Craig was taken 22nd overall and hit .280/.412/.362 in 218 at-bats, with a 41:37 BB/SO ratio. He finished second in the NYPL in OBP, and ninth in OPS.

Best defensive player is shortstop Stephen Alemais, who was named on Monday as one of the best defensive players in the entire draft class.

Fastest runner is Garrett Brown, a raw outfielder, who was taken in the 23rd round. He’s one of the fastest players in the organization now. Brown was slightly old for the draft class and didn’t hit much at Bristol, so he is a long shot to turn into a legit prospect at this point. He is very athletic and the speed is a legit plus tool (some say plus-plus), but he played football in college up until his senior season. That gives you hope that there is a lot of room for growth with more baseball experience. Brown was also named the best athlete and his football career gives him the most intriguing background.

Best fastball had numerous players mentioned, including Will Craig, who was a closer in college. Blake Cederlind, Max Kranick and Braeden Ogle all got some recognition. They didn’t mention 13th round pick John Pomeroy, who hit 98 MPH during the instructional league. I wouldn’t rate him as the best fastball though due to command issues. Pomeroy just throws the hardest of the group.

The best secondary pitch section has a couple errors. Braeden Ogle was mentioned as having an average curveball, but he throws a slider. Cam Vieaux was mentioned for his changeup, though Vieaux’s second best pitch is his slider, something he mentioned to us as well. Travis MacGregor got mentioned for his changeup and one of the GCL catchers, who caught all three of the young pitchers, agreed with MacGregor having the best change. He also mentioned that Max Kranick had the best breaking ball (curve) of the group.

Speaking of Kranick, he got a mention after Will Craig in the best pro debut department. He was also named the best late round pick and that is an easy choice. He was rated as a possible 2/3 round pick coming into the draft and dropped due to bonus demands. He eventually ended up signing for $300,000, which we mentioned as a steal.

As mentioned on Monday (see Alemais link above), Nick Lodolo was the one that got away during the draft. The Pirates signed every other pick in the top 13 rounds, so it was a fairly simple choice. Hagen Owenby (14th round) wasn’t mentioned, but he is a catcher with plus power, who put on a crazy home run display in a HR derby after being drafted. Neither of them were rated high, but Michael Danielak (28th round) and Craig Dedelow (34th round) are literally the players who got away, because both agreed to sign, then decided days later to return to college instead. Both were on the travel roster for Bristol, so it was a surprise that neither ended up signing.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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Mike Shutlock

I’m hoping Alemais can develop his offense because it seems like his D is something that could be really special.


I don’t understand…..where is this report card. I don’t see any grades discussed above in the article

Bill W

Please indulge this post:
After a long battle with cancer James “Jamey ” Conlin has passed away. Not only did “Jimmy the Leprechaun” write for Pirate Prospects for a short period of time before his diagnosis he was truly one of the great Pirate Fans along with his father in PIRATE NATION. He was a very good friend of mine and will be missed. The Leprechaun was a great educator of young people but was a well respective High School baseball coach. UNFORTUNATELY Jamey was a PITT FAN which I forgave because of his extreme love of the BUCCOS. I will truly miss the “Leprechaun” and baseball, especially PIRATE BASEBALL!~ It will never be the same for me. I apologize but I have attached the following link if you wish to view.

Tim Williams

I’m very saddened to hear this. I wasn’t aware Jamey was sick, as he never mentioned that to me. He wrote for us for a brief time, and did a great job, but ultimately couldn’t balance the writing and the travel to the games with his normal life. Still, he always talked about how he enjoyed the experience, and you could tell he had a great passion for the game and would have gladly stayed on if the team was closer.

He was also a very nice person, always cheerful when I talked with him, and sometimes almost too nice in his reports, where he talked a lot about what a great young kid a certain player was. You could definitely tell he was a high school baseball coach.

All of my interactions with him were baseball related, but I was glad that baseball allowed me to know him, and am saddened by his loss and for his family’s loss.


Tim he was ill when he left PP but always spoke of the professionalism that you portrayed. I should have told you earlier but he wished to keep it confidential.


The best secondary pitch section has a couple errors

I assume then, that John Perotto is still doing the writeups?

Bill W

Foo Did Johnny Perotto stiff you on a bet?


Theres good depth and potential from the pitching side of this draft, just hope some of the position players develop into legit prospects besides just Craig and Alemais. Specifically I’d love for one of the catchers Arden, Pabst or non-drafted Synek and one or more of the late round outfielders to become true MLB prospects to make the draft class a little more balanced.

Not that it matters too much about drafting specific positions but with all the prep pitchers from this draft plus Keller, Hinsz, Yeudy, and others with upside in the lower levels in addition to the logjam of potential mid-to-back end of the rotation candidates in the upper levels, I hope this years draft is slightly more hitting heavy than pitching.


Well, to be honest, Craig’s selection comes with the caveat that he didn’t really have a lot of competition. 🙂


And, BA made sure they mentioned all of that. In the Best Pure Hitter Section they quoted his college numbers and finished up with “His lack of exceptional bat speed and poor speed limit him from projecting as more than an above average hitter.”

Under Power, they again referred to Craig’s numbers in college while saying “has at least average power because of plenty of strength to his swing.”

In Closest To The Majors they stated “Craig faces questions about his defense and athleticism, but he is a polished hitter which gives him a chance to move quickly.”

Overall, not real high praise for our No. 1 Pick.


But honestly, If you end up with an above average mlb hitter, that’s a fairly good value @ #22 . Doubly so if he can stick at third. He was a high floor medium ceiling pick.


He’s no Newman, but if he can hit .270 and OBP at upwards of .400 at the Major League level, even if that’s all he can do, he’s a valuable bench bat at the very least. Hitting for any power makes him a fringe starter or better. That’s a win late in the first round.


A valuable bench bat from the #22 pick in the draft? I don’t disagree with you, because I don’t have high hopes for Craig for all the reasons already well documented. But, that is a very depressing assessment……and we could have had the Perez kid who was still available. We need a new GM.

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