Thursday’s new mock draft from Baseball America had the Pittsburgh Pirates taking Virginia outfielder Adam Haseley with the 12th overall pick on June 12th. While it’s still too early to give a great prediction of how the first round will play out, the mock draft does give you a group of names to watch and a great estimate of the quality of player the Pirates could select with their first round pick.
Haseley is predicted to get on base at a high clip, play solid defense, with a chance to stick in center field. He has a strong arm, with some power potential, though it might not translate to the pros. Due to his patience at the plate and ability to make consistent contact, he’s a safer pick than a higher upside player, who may look great on paper due to the tools, but never reach the majors.
The mock draft also gives you other names to watch and I wanted to focus in on two players who went after Haseley. BA has the Kansas City Royals taking prep right-handed pitcher Shane Baz with the 14th pick and then a college right-handed pitcher named Clarke Schmidt going to the Houston Astros with the 15th pick. Both of these players have improved their draft stock as the season has gone along. Prior to the year, MLB Pipeline had them both ranked as early second round picks, possibly better choices for the 42nd overall pick that the Pirates hold.
I’m going to start with Schmidt because Baseball America says something about him that a lot of people will take the wrong way. They call him a high floor player as a potential #4 starter with a 96 MPH sinker. Most people will read “#4″ and think the 12th overall pick is wasted on a player like that, but that’s what they consider his floor. Since he’s only 21 years old, there is obviously still room for improving on that #4 status, especially once you get him in a pro organization and get coaches working with him. The sinker and velocity will obviously be intriguing to the Pirates. He also has above average control and three off-speed pitches that are all at least average. The thing they might not like is that he’s 6’1″, 200 pounds and has filled out. They love tall pitchers and tend to focus on 6’3” and above.
Here is a video of Schmidt, who left his start Thursday night (after the mock draft came out) with right forearm stiffness in the sixth inning, so that will be something to watch. He said afterwards that there were no sharp pains or tingling and the medical staff didn’t believe it to be serious. His coach said that he removed him right away because he wasn’t taking a chance with a kid who has the type of future Schmidt has.
Shane Baz fits the Pirates profile better than Schmidt, at least for size and projectability. He turns 18 shortly after the draft, and has a 6’3″, 190 pound frame, with room to fill out. He also has hit 98 MPH recently and has a four-pitch mix, with a plus cutter and solid control. He’s rather advanced for a high school pitcher and has clean mechanics, with a repeatable delivery. Baz will need to work on his breaking ball and changeup, but he appears to be a huge upside player. He attends the same high school in Texas as Ke’Bryan Hayes, and one of his coaches is Chris Sampson, who spent five seasons pitching in the majors.
I’ve included this video from last year, which was the best I could find. Baz is a better pitcher this year though, so this doesn’t give you the best idea of his stuff. Back then he was topping out at 94 MPH and the cutter wasn’t as good. There is some footage of him swinging the bat too, as he plays third base when he isn’t pitching. He looks to be an athletic pitcher, who has worked on his strength and conditioning this year.
I’ll note one thing BA said during the mock draft that I think is relevant to the Pirates. They believe there will be a run on prep pitching after the first round. I could see the Pirates going for a bat with their first pick, then going for prep pitching with at least two of their other three picks on the first day. That fits their drafting style and this year appears to be a good year for them to do the same.