Draft Prospect Watch: Top 100 Prospects From Baseball America

Baseball America updated their top 100 draft prospects list earlier this week. The Pittsburgh Pirates select 12th overall when the draft begins on June 12th and BA has DL Hall, a left-handed high school starter, ranked 12th overall.

We talked about Hall last week when John Manuel from BA had him going ninth overall in his mock draft. I mentioned then that Hall really doesn’t match-up well with the Pirates, due to their philosophy of drafting tall pitchers. He is 6’0″, 180-190 pounds and he seems to be more about safety rather than upside. Hall has a nice fastball/curve combo, with both pitches rated as a 60 on the 20-80 scout scale. His command is average and he doesn’t have a solid third pitch. That’s a high floor pitcher for a high school product, but that’s also a group that comes with a lot of risk. I won’t say that they won’t pick him, but their draft history points to him being an unlikely selection. If they’re going high school pitcher with the first pick, I see them going for more upside and a bigger frame.

The list from BA is worth checking out because they identify the players who have jumped the most and those who have fallen in the ranks early on. It’s interesting to note that all four players they mention in the “falling” category are position players, but they do have four position players (out of seven total) in the rising category. I wanted to take a look at one in particular, because he fits better than DL Hall.

Seth Romero, a left-handed starter from Houston, is now ranked tenth overall. He is listed at 6’3″, 240 pounds, but they note that he had improved physically, so that weight probably needs to be updated. He has performed well so far this season against strong teams. As BA pointed out, he had 57 strikeouts against just nine walks, and they came in only 32 innings. He doesn’t have consistent velocity at this point, but when he’s on his game, he’s sitting 93-96 MPH. That fastball is mixed with two plus off-speed pitches according to BA (MLB Pipeline believes his changeup needs work). There is some effort to his delivery, so that could scare off some teams. A lefty with good size and three potential plus pitches would be very intriguing with that 12th pick.

As for a rising position player to watch, North Carolina shortstop Logan Warmoth could interest the Pirates. BA has him ranked 24th right now and calls him one of the safest players in the draft. We know the Pirates like players with the hit tool at premium positions. Warmoth performed well in the Cape Cod League over the off-season. Early on, he is leading UNC in average, homers and stolen bases (13-for-13), while playing solid defense. He’s a right-handed bat, with quick hands and decent speed. He has a strong arm and looks like he should stick at shortstop, but he’s athletic enough to move to another position if needed.

In the falling category is another interesting shortstop. Brady McConnell has dropped to 47th overall, down from one of the top high school position players early in the draft coverage. The drop is due to a poor start on offense this year. As BA noted, McConnell was a projection player, with a high ceiling. He has a 6’1″ frame with room to fill out and he had some current tools, but the bat was a question. His defense, arm and speed all rate above average. He hasn’t answered any bat questions, though scouts note that he has a quick bat, and should add power as he fills out. If he doesn’t pick it up offensively, you might see someone with huge upside who is available when the Pirates make their second selection with the 42nd overall pick.

Jim Callis Answers Draft Questions

Jim Callis at MLB Pipeline decided to answer some draft questions on Friday, tackling a few interesting topics about the top of the draft class. He mentioned a handful of college players who have been covered here early in our draft coverage.

The first question was about Louisville LHP/1B Brendan McKay and Callis thought that he could now go first overall in the draft. The amazing thing about that possibility is that no one is sure yet if he will be a position player or a pitcher in the pros. Unless something changes soon, our draft coverage will steer away from McKay because the chances of him reaching the Pirates are very slim.

Callis also covered a topic that was mentioned last week when we took a look at Baseball America’s first mock draft. The player who has improved his stock the most is high school outfielder Austin Beck according to Callis. BA mentioned that he wasn’t in their prep top 100 and MLB Pipeline doesn’t have him in their draft top 50, which was posted early last month. Beck went fifth overall in BA’s mock draft and Callis has heard that two teams in the top ten have interest, but that he could go in the second half of the first round. While neither of those scenarios matches up with the Pirates in the 12th spot, he is obviously someone to keep an eye on this spring.

Finally, Callis talks about the best college pitcher in this draft. He says the top three spots would be between McKay, North Carolina’s JB Bukauskas and Florida’s Alex Faedo, though he notes Faedo has seen a slight drop in his velocity. That didn’t affect him last night against LSU when he threw seven shutout innings, allowing seven hits, no walks and he had seven strikeouts. Faedo threw 114 pitches and his fastball sat 90-93 MPH. For what it’s worth, Callis said right now he would take Bukauskas first among the three pitchers.

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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Bobby L

John, what are your thoughts on Beck? What I read implied that he was too good to be available for the Pirates at 12 but could fall past them in the lower end of the draft.


Unless he completely implodes, I still think the Neil Huntington will wet himself if he gets the chance to select Tanner Houck.

Michael Sanders

A guy named DL sounds very injury prone.

Matt K

Is Romero a college or prep pitcher? Maybe I just missed it in the article.


Pirates need to draft high ceiling high school position players early and often…the lower part of the system is very weak in position player prospects.


Doesn’t seem like a top talent draft at all. A lot of decent to good players outside of Greene who’s by far the best


When I think safe lefties I think Daniel Moskos.


Like Steven Alemais? Pretty sure this site has made that comparison.


Wow. That’s a good story. Probably one of those situations where you have a guy like strange who has been around the game and he is thinking “What the hell is the front office doing picking a guy like this at #1 ?” I wasn’t necessarily comparing this kid to Moskos because at least he would have the upside going for him. I don’t even know if Moskos threw enough innings in the majors to get past rookie status.


Yes. I remember that. They probably thought he had a lot of “Pitchability” too.

michael t

That is a pretty fascinating story to relate, because the Pirates were roundly criticized for taking Moskos at the time. A wasted pick on behalf of signability.


I think they made a mistake trying to use Moskos………….you could have stopped right about there and saved yourself 1.5 minutes of typing stuff that not many people will read.


The mistake was drafting Moskos and not taking Weiters. We may look back at last year in a similar fashion, when we took a DH instead of the HS shortstop who is already in most top 100 prospects lists after one season.


The entire situation was a total train wreck, and the Pirates management trying to justify the pick and then trying to sell Moskos as anything but a reliever just made it worse. I’m sure it affected him….the Pirates put him in a no win situation.

joe s

The Pirates of that time didn’t pick based on talent but how much money they needed to spend to acquire it. It was shameful and one the two reasons the Pirates were noncompetitive for so many years. The other reason was just poor luck, #1 picks Jeff King, and others who my feeble mind can no longer recall. In the years that they had the worst record, Baseball flipped picks between AL and NL. The Pirates could have gotten Ken Griffey jr but instead he went to Seattle because it was the AL’s turn to pick first and the Pirates took Mark Merchant. Come to think of it, the Pirates would have passed on Junior, him being to expensive and taken Merchant anyway. At least now they seem to try to take a player that is potentially good and pay what it costs to acquire him, except in the international arena where quantity over quality prevails.


True, but what was up with that Tony Sanchez pick?


Yep, should have taken Trout.

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