Pirates Draft Outfielder Conner Uselton With Their Competitive Balance Pick

The Pittsburgh Pirates have drafted prep outfielder Conner Uselton with the 72nd overall pick in the 2017 draft, which is their Competitive Balance round B pick. Uselton is the final pick for the Pirates of day one, and the fourth prep player they’ve taken in the first four picks of the draft.

Unlike prep outfielder Cal Mitchell, Uselton gets good reviews for his defense. He’s a center fielder and an above-average runner, with the chance to stick in center field in pro ball. He has the arm strength to slide over to right field, with an above-average grade that plays well at the position if he can’t stick in center.

Uselton is a very athletic player, and a two-sport athlete, playing quarterback in high school as a freshman. He put his focus on playing baseball as a sophomore, and has shown some progress the last two years, improving his hitting to move up in the draft ranks this year, looking like a potential first round pick if a team wanted to dream on his hitting skills.

He’s got some raw power potential, with the chance for plus power due to his strength and bat speed. He does a good job hitting to all fields, and has the ability to hit hard line drives. He does have the tendency to strike out, and has a big load in his swing, which the Pirates might have to work on with him. MLB Pipeline called him “one of the toolsier high school players available in the 2017 draft”, and says he has some of the best raw power of this year’s prep class.

Uselton is a little old for a high school prospect, turning 19 on May 20th. He has a commitment to Oklahoma, and would be draft eligible after two years there, but the Pirates took him with a high enough pick that this shouldn’t be an issue. If he signs, he will join Mitchell in what looks to be a very talented GCL outfield this year, backing up the first two picks — pitchers Shane Baz and Steve Jennings.

Here is his player page.

  • dpowhitetiger
    June 13, 2017 7:39 am

    What happen to some good college pitching?

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    June 13, 2017 12:42 am

    Assuming they can get these 4 high schoolers signed, I like the beginning of this draft a lot. I’d have preferred one more position player over two pitchers, but I am excited about the potential of the first 4 selections. Good job Pirates FO….and I have not been able to say that often over the past 24 months…..

    • I do agree with you. Especially with the pitchers. Anytime you can draft elite arms…given the cost of mature, premium pitching…you have to. Aside from the occasional rebounding pitcher like Nova (who they got on the cheap) and who wanted to be here…small markets teams have to do it this way. I look at Boston, they have to pay all that money for pitching…I just read in the Boston Globe last week that the Red Sox are “bullish” on the Pirate’s minor league pitching.

  • Big power, good speed. I like that.

    Now put the bat on the ball, son.

  • I love the high upside picks. They need more high upside guys in the system.

  • So far I love the picks. Good arms and bats. What more can you ask for?

  • I don’t understand what’s happening. The haters that think the Pirates can’t draft because they don’t follow the BA script are probably going to still find something to complain about. Personally, I’m worried they won’t sign any of these guys. I’m expecting my phone to ring tomorrow asking me if I’ll sign for $1 so they can free up some cash for everyone else. Okay, I’ll do it.

  • Patrick Kelly
    June 12, 2017 11:39 pm

    I like that they have gone HS with the first 4 picks. Lots of upside. Now see if they can get them all signed.

  • JustABitOutside
    June 12, 2017 11:38 pm

    I love this pick. Hey, after a few minor leaguers got into a bar fight last year, it seems the Pirates are only drafting guys who can’t enter a bar for several years.

  • He is ranked 20th of the whole draft pool by Keith Law.

    • Pretty sure that’s 11, 20 and 22 and 63 so far. I will be sure to read his First Day reaction tomorrow.

    • Law’s a hack. I wouldn’t bank on his opinions being correct.

  • MLB.com had him at #46 on their draft board, so that’s interesting.

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