New Mock Drafts from MLB Pipeline and Baseball America Have Pirates Going Prep Route

Jim Callis at MLB Pipeline and Baseball America each put out mock drafts on Friday morning. The draft is now just four days away and teams will be spending their weekend in their draft war rooms putting together their big board.

We start with MLB Pipeline where Callis has the Pittsburgh Pirates taking Texas prep right-hander Shane Baz with the 12th overall pick. If you don’t know the name, you haven’t been following our draft coverage, because he has been mentioned a lot in this spot. He has good size, controls five pitches, with a plus fastball that has touched 100 MPH this spring and a slider that most consider one of the best in the draft.

Baz would be a terrific pick at 12th overall, but some think he is really committed to TCU. I’d have to imagine that if the Pirates take him, it’s because they know they can sign him. Most teams talk to the players before taking them, although we heard last year that 41st overall pick Nick Lodolo was one of the rare ones who the team didn’t talk to first and he ended up going to TCU, choosing school over a $1.75 M bonus. Baz would be giving up a lot more money to go to school.

Callis also mentions that J.B. Bukauskas is a possibility, as he stock has fallen due to a poor finish to his college season. It was just one start and the velocity/plus slider were still there, but there were a lot of scouts in attendance and it was against Davidson, which isn’t the best baseball team this season. When Bukauskas pitches well, teams forget that he has a small frame with effort in his delivery, but when a game like this pops up, then those become legit concerns. He has been a top ten draft pick almost this entire season.

Baseball America has the Pirates taking Nick Pratto with their first round pick. His name has been mentioned once to them in a mock draft already and he’s been rated in the top 20 all year. Pratto is a high school lefty bat, who plays first base. He has the ability to hit for average and power, he plays solid defense as well, but he’s limited to first base and possibly a corner outfield spot due to below average speed. We have heard their desire to add a college bat with the first pick, but some believe Pratto could end up being better than any of those players who have come up as possibilities for the Pirates.

BA has an interesting note for the 42nd overall pick of the Pirates, possibly the 50th overall pick. They say that the Pirates have been heavily linked to 6’4″, right-handed prep pitcher Michael Mercado, who has a commitment to Stanford. His name hasn’t come up yet here because he is more of a second round pick, but this gives you something to follow as the draft goes along. Mercado has moved up in the rankings due to a strong spring. He throws 88-92 MPH now, but he’s listed at 160 pounds, so there is a ton of projection left in his frame. MLB Pipeline rates his curve and control as above average and he already has a decent changeup. This pick would have Pirates written all over it.

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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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My dream draft for the Pirates this year is two college players and two preps with their first four picks. And I would like to see two pitchers and two hitters.

I think they need a young CF type, wouldn’t mind reaching for Drew Waters or Bubba Thompson at 12 if they can get an under slot deal agreed on. Of course I’d love Adell or Beck, but they won’t go under the slot number and might want more, which would cramp the budget for the all-important early double-digit rounds. Other guys who wouldn’t be reaches include Stuart Fairchild (Wake Forest), Quentin Holmes (NY prep), Brian Miller (NC prep) or Evan White (UKy) in the 2nd round and Garrett Mitchell (SoCal prep or Cole Brannen (GA prep) in the comp round. They may be happy with their upcoming addition of Pie to the system, though, and would defer the first of their OF draft picks to a later round.

I’d like to see them draft a catcher, our system is deep in catchers at the upper levels but the lower levels are pretty barren. Riley Adams (San Diego), M.J.Melendez (FL prep, tough sign), or Luis Campusano (GA prep) would work for me in the 2nd round.

Pitchers I like.
First Round – Faedo (Florida), DL Hall (GA prep), David Peterson (Oregon), Baz, Sam Carlson (MN prep). Hall and Peterson are lefties, Peterson is huge and polished.

Second round – Clarke Schmidt (S Car, recovering from TJ), Brendon Little (L) (Fla JC, may be a tough sign), Nate Pearson (Fla JC), Tanner Burns (AL prep), Hans Crouse (CA prep), Mercado, Hagen Danner (CA prep, also a god C prospect).

Comp round – James Marinan (FL prep), Jake Eder (L) (FL prep).

Bats I like:
First round – Pavin Smith, Burger, Hiura. Smith the best fit, advanced college bat, solid 1B. Burger may be a questionable defensive 3B, but Hiura is questionable to ever be able to lay the field in the NL Pratto is also in the picture.

Second Round – Gavin Sheets (Wake Forest LH 1B, son of Larry), Mark Vientos (FL prep 3B), Ryan Vilade (OK prep 3B). Vientos would be my guy at 42 if you can sign him, Vilade a backup plan with the same caveat. Sheets a backup plan, he will surely sign at 42 since he’s ranked in the 50’s. He has huge power, good contact, and good discipline and is a tolerable defensive 1B.

Comp Round – Drew Ellis (Louisville 3B), Brent Rooker (Miss St. 1B-OF, LHB).

joe s

I think the Pirates should invite you to the war room on draft day.


John;s site (below) had a mock of the first four rounds of the draft. I participated as the GM of the Cleveland Indians, whose first pick is #64 overall. My draft was college player heavy, Kevin Smith, SS, Maryland at 64, Gavin Sheets at 71, Kade McClure (a prototypical Pirates’ mid-round selection), RHP, Louisville at 102, and Andrew Bechtold 3B, FL Juco at 132. Bechtold could well be as good a hitter as Keston Hiura, and is a late 3rd rounder at best who can probably stick at 3B for a while, anyway.

joe s

I will go on the record and say I will be disappointed with who they pick but then I will get behind them and hope they succeed.


Baz vs Carlsen. Baz is further along because he’s a Texas kid ,at 6-3 170 has room to fill out ,has more developed pitches than Carlsen. Carlsen is 6-4 225 so may add a few lbs, but his pitch selection will need to grow . Carlsen has the big heater and has a nice easy delivery , and sure does look the part.Either one of these two would be great picks at twelve.

Daniel D

Don’t want a HS first baseman. And, if they are going to go that route, how could they pass on college first baseman Pavin Smith – he falls to 19th (far below Pratto) in this mock draft. Pavin Smith >>> Pratto.
If a guy is not athletic enough to play somewhere other than first base on his HS team, he is not worthy of a first round pick.
I refuse to believe the Pirates will do this at #12 . Perhaps they are linked to Pratto because they think he might fall to 42. I will be very disappointed if this is there pick at #12 .

IC Bob

Freddie Freeman was a 1B only type of guy. I would be more then willing to take that type of player at 12 if he is available. If we do take him it tells you all you need to know about Craig.

Daniel D

Freeman was a second round pick. I’d take Pratto in the second round. One thing I noticed about Pratto is that he is also a pitcher. Perhaps playing first is a way to rest his arm between outings. I suppose the combination of being a lefty and a pitcher makes first base a natural fit for him. I am still skeptical though.


My take: we will get someone good with the first pick….

All reality, hoping for Beck, Adell, or Baz. I wouldn’t mind Faedo or Peterson. No thanks on the college bats or Pratto.

Bobby L

Ah, Faedo. Like him.


They need a Burger. He is the next Aaron Judge.

Bobby L

One name I don’t recall hearing from this site is Greg Deichman, LSU outfielder. Power hitting LH. My apologies if I forgot any write-up john.
Does Austin Beck really compare to Mike Trout?
Good choices appear to be available for the early rounds.

Daniel D

I am still hoping Beck falls to the Pirates. In the early mock drafts that seemed realistic. The more recent mocks are discouraging.

Bobby L

Nice response John.
I overlooked Deichmann. Guess it was cuz I was looking at guys who were listed for the first round. He seems a little too strong for a second round pick, but if he’s available, I think I’d be satisfied with him and Adams at 42/52.
To me, this shapes up as an entertaining draft, one maybe full of surprises.

Bobby L

Like your thinking about loading up on the front end. They will be getting a first rounder, 2 second rounders and 2 third round picks…..or equals. I just hope they lay off the middle infielders early.

Robert J

Pratto is too one dimensional defensivly. I don’t see it.

J.B. Bukauskas is too short, doesn’t match with their profile.

I can see Shane Baz.

Jake Burger if he’s still around with their second pick (42?)

Just my completely uneducated opinion.


Any chance they snag burger in the 1st?


Is Mercado strongly committed to Stanford? Would he be available in 42nd pick? I like the description!

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