Keith Law posted his list of the top 100 draft prospects on Wednesday morning for ESPN Insiders. While this isn’t a mock draft (we have a new one below), it does give you a look at the talent available in the draft from Law’s perspective, along with the thoughts of scouts he talks to over the year.
Law has Virginia first baseman Pavin Smith rated as the 12th best player. That’s a name we have mentioned here multiple times because sources have said that the Pirates have been scouting him. The big issue with Smith is that every mock draft I’ve seen has him going in the top ten spots, so no one thinks he will get to the Pirates. His teammate Adam Haseley is also said to be a draft target for the Pirates. Law has him rated sixth overall and says that the center fielder has really improved his draft stock. Again, most people have been putting Haseley in their top ten recently, showing an uptick of a few spots from earlier in the year.
One interesting, although not surprising rating by Law is North Carolina shortstop Logan Warmoth, who he ranks as the seventh best player. I’ve mentioned Warmoth as a player who fits the profile of the Pirates. He’s an athletic shortstop with the hit tool. He has similarities to Kevin Newman, although Newman is more of a contact hitter and Warmoth offers some power.
An athletic shortstop is going to have the ability to move to other positions if he’s blocked at shortstop. As we have seen with injuries to Cole Tucker, Adrian Valerio and Stephen Alemais in the last month, even a position of depth can change in a hurry. The part that makes Warmoth’s high rating, not surprising, is that Law was very high on Kevin Newman and there are a lot of similarities between the two players with defense, speed, size, position and a strong bat.
As for other names we have covered a lot recently, here are their rankings:
8. DL Hall
10. Jeren Kendall
11. Shane Baz
13. Nick Pratto
15. Trevor Rogers
19. Keston Hiura
21. Jake Burger
Two other players on his list I need to mention because they usually aren’t rated this high. He has Brendon Little rated 18th overall. He’s a 6’0″ left-hander, who has hit 96 MPH this year and Law believes he has the best curveball in the class. He goes to the State College of Florida, aka the former hated Manatee Community College team that the Pirates destroyed every season at the beginning of Spring Training. So that means it wouldn’t take much effort for anyone from the Pirates to go see him play often across town in Bradenton. A familiar target with two plus pitches could entice the team, especially if they like what they see.
Law also has Blayne Enlow as the 14th best player. He’s another one who fits the Pirates as far as profile, but seems like a big stretch with the 12th pick. He’s more about projection in his 6’4″ frame, as he usually works 88-92 MPH with a plus curve and above average control, but most feel there is more left in the velocity for the 18-year-old righty from Louisiana. I have not mentioned him this year because his name hasn’t popped up this high.
Both of these players seem like stretches with the 12th pick, but highly unlikely they will be around at the 42nd overall pick, when the Pirates make their second selection.
Fangraphs’ Mock Draft
Eric Longenhagen over at Fangraphs posted his own mock draft this week. He has been covering the draft for numerous years, including work at MLB.com. He has the Pirates taking Texas prep pitcher Shane Baz with the 12th overall pick. He also mentions the Pirates possibly reaching for Logan Warmoth.
Longenhagen’s #13-17 players basically reads like a list of players who have been linked to the Pirates, with DL Hall, Keston Hiura, Jake Burger, Trevor Rogers and Nick Pratto all going to the Pirates in a mock draft over the last month or so. See the link for more details.
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.
Since Longenhagen was referenced in the article he had a comment about how the talent is supposedly down this year. He referenced the 2012 draft that was supposedly a below average year yet produced a lot of talent. Here is a list of names drafted between 11 and 45 that year: Addison Russell #11 , Lucas Giolito #16 (injured), Corey Seager #18 , Marcus Stroman #22 , Jose Berrios #32 , Stephen Piscotty #36 , Mitch Haniger #38 , Joey Gallo #39 , & Lance McCullers #41 . The point is, even in a down year there is talent available and the Pirates still have a good chance to get a player or 2 by picking 12, 42, & 50.
Bucs have 5 picks in the first 88. I want a bat and leaning on Burger. Not sold on the power in the system at third. I don’t want to wait 6 years for the prep pitcher at 12 assuming he makes it. Pick a couple with the other picks, Give me the bat and 3rd base.
Jake Burger has gotten a lot of press, but a few facts – he is less than athletic looking, tied for the team lead in errors this year with 10 and a .935 fielding %age, and his BA has dropped from .373 to .333 since mid-season. In his Senior year of HS he hit 4 HR; and as a Freshman at Missouri St. he hit 4 HR. As a Soph he hit 21, 2nd to a teammate who hit 24; this year as a Junior he hit 22, tied with a teammate who also hit 22. Missouri St. could be a launching pad?
Missouri St. is in the Super Regionals against TCU. I noted that his BA had dropped by 40 points since mid-season, and down the stretch he only hit 5 HR in the last 20 games. IMO, not a No. 12 pick. But, the kid he tied with for the team lead in HR this year is a Soph SS by the name of Jeremy Eierman – next year he could be a solid pick for the Pirates.
Fans can hope but unfortunately we have no control over who they pick on draft day. All we can do is hope for the best and root for who they pick. I just hope that at least three of the first four picks get rated in the top 25 prospects list.
I remember us not having a shot at Austin Meadows. Drafts are full of surprises.
Draft analysts when it comes to the Pirates are about as accurate as me peeing at night
man I got to give credit to all of you who follow baseball at this level. I LOVE baseball, played it my whole life (well through High School, had a scholarship but turned it down to go for an education), but I just can’t possibly follow high school & college baseball prospects like you guys in the comments here. I stand, clap and bow to you all.
wasn’t keith law who had newman as rated #2 in his draft year. my pick is jo adel kentucky h/s.
that would be a fantastic pick based on his projection and current skills. Kid could be a beast. I’m just worried other teams like him too
BA has Jo Adell at #7 , Fangraphs has him at #8 . My picks would be either Keston Hiura if we are looking for an advanced bat and some power, or Sam Carlson a big HS RHP who throws mi-90 217;s and also has a changeup, Slider, etc.
Always good to see a Hated Manatees reference! I miss them…
Didn’t the Pirates manage to lose to the Manatees once.
Just looked it up. 2009 Pirates lost 6-4. Pirates had a good future lineup that day, Cutch, Walker, Pearce were all in the lineup, and our good friend Vince Vasquez was the starting pitcher. Also featured in the lineup was Jose Tabata, Robbie Grossman and Brian Bixler.
The self-deprecating part of me doesn’t want Smith more because of Will Craig than Smith himself even though the latter appears to be the demonstrably better hitter and will probably turn into a monster.
You should put up a poll where we can vote on who we would like to be picked at #12 . JUST 1 VOTE PER PERSON