The Pittsburgh Pirates have drafted high school right-handed pitcher Shane Baz with the 12th overall pick in the 2017 MLB draft. Baz was drafted out of Lutheran High School, which is the same school that 2015 first rounder Ke’Bryan Hayes went to.
Baz sits 92-96 MPH with his fastball, touching 98, along with the chance for two plus breaking pitches. He throws a mid-80s slider with slurvy break, and a sharp curveball with 12-to-6 action. He’s got the chance for three plus pitches overall, giving him top of the rotation potential. He’s also developing a changeup that could be a solid pitch.
There are obviously things to work on with any player, especially guys out of high school. For Baz, the fastball can be a bit flat, and he doesn’t work off it enough, sometimes working more off his slider, throwing the pitch harder to give it cutter action. The Pirates will almost certainly have him working off the fastball, and might have to take the same approach they used with Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole to develop some angle on the pitch.
Baz gets good reviews for his makeup and his build, along with his easy arm action. His stuff obviously gets good reviews, and he challenges second overall pick Hunter Greene as one of the best prep pitchers in this draft. He’s got a commitment to TCU, and is seen as a tough sign, although the Pirates have a little over $4 M to give him a slot offer, and it’s doubtful they would have taken him if they didn’t think they could get him to sign for close to that amount. If needed, they have a few extra early picks, and could create some more cap room if he demands more than slot value.
UPDATE: Here is our player profile for Baz.