Draft Notes: New Mock Draft, New Overall Rankings, Top Tools

A few good links to cover for the upcoming draft with just 11 days to go before the Pittsburgh Pirates make their first four selections on June 12th, including the 12th overall pick. I’m going to start with the new mock draft from Jonathan Mayo at MLB Pipeline. This will just add to the uncertainty with the Pirates and who they might select.

Mayo has them taking 6’6″, left-handed prep pitcher Trevor Rogers out of New Mexico. He has been mentioned for the Pirates before. Keith Law had him going to Pittsburgh in his first mock draft, though he wasn’t the selection in the latest mock draft from Law. That first link has information and video on Rogers, who touches mid-90s with his fastball and has plenty of room to fill out. The downside to him is that he turns 20 in November, which is very old for a prep player.

Mayo notes that three other high school players could be in play with this pick. He mentions outfielder Austin Beck, first baseman Nick Pratto and also pitcher Shane Baz, who seems like the one player most draft experts agree on as a potential pick for the Pirates. This is where the added uncertainty comes in, although it might represent a good sign as opposed to just added confusion.

The Pirates have been linked to all four classes of players recently. Many people are saying college bats, but we have heard both prep bats and pitchers, along with a couple college pitchers being scouted by them. In the past, we have heard about the Pirates focusing in on players. Reese McGuire and Cole Tucker were heavily scouted and both knew for awhile that there was a good chance the Pirates were going to take them. They were heavy on Will Craig and Kevin Newman as well, following them very closely all year.

Except for McGuire, that was all stuff that came out after they signed, and during those years the Pirates weren’t heavily linked to anyone in particular. This year it appears that they haven’t established an early favorite and they are doing their work on everyone who could be in their range.

That’s just my guess based on the number of possible connections we are hearing this year compared to the past, but it’s entirely possible that they have their favorite and we hear about it afterwards from the player.

New Top 100 Rankings

There was a very interesting top 100 rankings that came out this week. For the last two years, we have added subscriptions to D1 Baseball and Prep Baseball Report to help give our subscribers as much information as possible after the draft. Both sites do fantastic work and have some of the busiest draft experts in the business. So it was interesting to see the two sites team up for a combined top 100 draft prospect rankings this week.

While it’s not a mock draft, it does give you the opinions from two sets of eyes, who are seeing these players in person. In the case of Nathan Rode from Prep Baseball Report, he also covered many of the college players in this draft when they were in high school.

They have Jeren Kendall, the toolsy outfielder from Vanderbilt, ranked 12th overall. That’s a name who has been connected to the Pirates. He’s a high risk/high reward player, due to numerous plus tools, but a major issue with strikeouts that could keep him from being nothing more than a strong glove in center field, who can steal bases.

As for other names connected to the Pirates, including the ones mentioned above by Mayo today, they are all right around the same area as Kendall. The 8-11 ranked players are Virginia outfielder Adam Haseley, Texas prep pitcher Shane Baz, Trevor Rogers, and Nick Pratto. After Kendall, you have Missouri State third baseman Jake Burger, UC Irvine 2B/OF Keston Hiura and Georgia prep lefty DL Hall. That’s eight players in a row who have been mentioned multiple times as possibilities for the Pirates.

Top Tools in the Draft

Baseball America released their list of the top tools in the draft, breaking them into two groups, college and high school. I’ll note some players who we just mentioned.

Nick Pratto is the top high school hitter. Keston Hiura is the third best college hitter. Pratto and Hiura both rank third in their groups for strike zone discipline.

Jake Burger is the best college power hitter.

Jeren Kendall is the second fastest college player and he’s the best college athlete.

Kendall has the best college outfielder arm and he’s the third best defensive outfielder. Austin Beck is second for high school outfield arms.

Shane Baz and Trevor Rogers are 2/3 in best high school fastball.

Baz has the third best breaking ball in high school for his slider. JB Bukauskas, who went to the Pirates in Law’s second mock draft, has the best college breaking ball for his slider.


  • I participated in John Sickels’ mock draft (as the Indians). The guy running the Pirates did a hell of a job. He took:

    12. D.L. Hall HS LHP (GA)
    42. Clarke Schmidt South Carolina RHP – recovering from TJ (recent)
    50. Ryan Vilade HS 3B (OK)
    72. J.J. Matijevic Arizona 1B
    88. Caden Lemons HS RHP (AL)
    118. Tarik Skubal, Seattle LHP – recovering from TJ last spring

    Some other under the radar guys that look to me like Pirates’ sort of guys – Kade McClure 6’7″ 235 RHP from Lousiville, Gavin Williams 6′-6″ RHP HS (NC)

  • Seems to me that HS OF Austin Beck is becoming a strong possibility. The write ups on him are amazing – comparing him to Mike Trout. Most mocks have him falling past #12. Of course no team ever drafts for need (wink wink), the Pirates have no real OF prospects beyond Meadows. Seems to me that Beck is the kind of player the Pirates would be interested in and it also seems likely he will be available.

  • Nick Pratto, best HS hitter. Best choice.

  • Why is it when people talk about saving money on one pick in the draft, it is always the first pick? wouldn’t it make much more sense to go over slot on the first pick and save money on subsequent picks? I realize the potential to save money is greater with the pick with the greatest cash value, but is the money saved really worth the decreased value in talent?

    IMO, I would rather spend over slot on my first pick, for example, for Baz, if I feel his talent is higher than my actual pick position. I am in no way condoning the selection of Baz, just using him as an example since it has been reported numerous times that it will take a significant bonus to get him out of his commitment to TCU.

    Personally, I think people who read my posts at all on this site know whom I would be selecting. It is even possible to save money on him, since most mock drafts would have him dropping closer to 20 if the Pirates don’t select him. I realize that contradicts what I started this post saying, but the beginning is more of a general question, and this is more of what I would actually do in real life, because I like Burger better than anyone else, outside of Wright, in the entire draft.

    • The problem is, if you go over slot on your first pick, you have to go well underslot on your remaining picks, AND you have to be certain they will sign, because if they don’t, you dont get to use their slot money at all, so you end up punting on several picks for the hope of signing on, such as the Appel draft as an example. At that point, you are putting your eggs in the first round basket, and if they don’t work out (which statistically it won’t), then you have essentially blown up an entire draft.

      Much better to spread the money out you save on the first round pick to get better talent throughout. Especially in the case of Hiura where the savings aren’t based on talent issues, but on injury issues. You are getting a potentially elite bat under slot if everything works out.

      • However, the odds of a first round pick working out, statistically are much better than a late round pick working out.

        I realize the entire draft is a crap shoot, but the best odds of success are with your first round pick. Personally I don’t like to take a lot of risk when my best opportunity carries enough risk with it already.

        As for the Appel draft, you may want to go back and check the results on that one again, and then again in 2 or 3 years. You might be surprised at how much talent the Pirates got out of that draft, when they were willing and tried very hard to go overslot on their first round pick.

  • I like Evan White and his pure stroke reminds me of Matt Carpenter.
    Kendall also appears to have some nice upside.
    Stors and Baz are some arms that seem particularly interesting.

    • I wouldn’t touch Kendall with with a 10 foot pole. See a slightly slower, with a bit more power, Billy Hamilton.

  • Here’s to hoping they’re casting a wide net in order to get creative with their substantial pool money. I’d love to see them save a couple bucks on Keston Huira and go overslot on on of the prep arms at #42.

    • John Dreker
      June 1, 2017 4:47 pm

      I definitely think this is a good way to go IF he is willing to add his risk into the signing bonus. If you’re barely saving anything (or nothing) with him, then I’d go elsewhere

    • The problem with this thinking is that the only highly rated HS pitcher that could be available at #42 is Baz, and that is only if teams are really scared off from his commitment to TCU. In that scenario, it is not likely that enough money could be saved on Huira to be able to sign him regardless. If you want Baz, take him at 12 and pay what it takes.

  • The Pirates heavily scouted Will Craig and STILL drafted him? Amazing….

  • Would it be impolite to inquire as to the causes of Master Rogers’ advanced age relative to his class?

    • I have no idea about Master Rogers but i have known families to hold their sons back from starting school until the latest point that won’t result in the kid being ineligible his senior year. In my state seniors could be the same age as Rogers. My parents took the opposite approach since I didn’t turn 18 until well after starting college.

      • John Dreker
        June 1, 2017 12:43 pm

        I didn’t do an extensive check, but I couldn’t find a reason listed as to why he is so old. He only spent four years in high school, so if it was related to grades, that happened before HS.

        My cousin started college when he was 17 because my aunt got him into school a year early. I also had a friend who did two years of kindergarten, so we were in the same grade and he turned 19 during the middle of his senior year, but never stayed back. My guess for Rogers is that it was the family’s decision to hold him back from starting school.

      • Thank you. Makes sense. I didn’t know that was a thing.

  • DL hall no thanks, come on .

    • John Dreker
      June 1, 2017 12:17 pm

      I don’t see him as a fit for the Pirates either, but there has to be something there for them to be connected to him a few times already

    • what’s wrong with hall?

  • Whenever I see these guys do yet another mock draft I think of the Saturday night live sketch with William Shatner. “Have you even kissed a girl?” https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/640a63e38e50dbddc0b503a74aada6c77ed9099a0eef4652383afdb78ff0b6a6.jpg
    …of course I read most of them. So what does that say about me?

    • John Dreker
      June 1, 2017 11:50 am

      As I’ve said numerous times, I like them more for the talent level you can expect with the pick, rather than the player themselves. Guys like Mayo have numerous connections throughout the industry and they see players live or get reports on all them. If you’ve seen him during the middle rounds of the draft, he can get a scouting report on any player within seconds or minutes via text and talk about them. It’s all guesswork, just some of it is a lot more educated than others.

      That’s why we only deal with the big sources for mock drafts. We know they are getting information from people who make decisions on these players and in most cases, seeing the players multiple times themselves.

      There are plenty more mock drafts out there, but you have to draw the line somewhere. Some are just people like me covering the draft, who are going off the information of others. I see very little from these players other than highlights, so I have no business attempting a mock draft and I never have.