Pirates Draft RHP Steven Jennings in the Second Round

The Pittsburgh Pirates have drafted prep right-handed pitcher Steve Jennings with the 42nd overall pick in the 2017 MLB draft. This was their first pick in the second round, and compensation for not signing left-handed prep pitcher Nick Lodolo last year. This pick doesn’t come with any additional compensation, which means the Pirates won’t get another pick next year if they don’t sign Jennings.

Jennings is another hard thrower, already sitting 89-92 MPH and touching as high as 95. He doesn’t have the velocity that first round pick Shane Baz has, but his velocity is a bit more typical for a projectable prep pitcher. He’s 6′ 2″, 175 pounds, so there’s some room in his frame to fill out, and the chance for more velocity in the future. He also has a loose arm with quick arm speed, which helps when players fill out.

Jennings also throws a hard slider in the mid-80s with plus potential and deception, and mixes in a curveball and a changeup. He hasn’t thrown the changeup that much, but does have a good feel for the pitch. Both the curveball and changeup could be average pitches at least, giving him the chance for two plus offerings and two more quality pitches.

There is some athleticism here, as Jennings was a three-sport player, playing quarterback for his football team. He tore his ACL during the fall, but made a quick recovery and was pitching this spring while wearing a knee brace. It doesn’t seem like that will be an issue going forward, and Jennings gets a lot of praise for his frame and athleticism.

The interesting thing is that the Pirates went with a prep pitcher here with what is believed to be a firm commitment to Mississippi. If they don’t sign Jennings, they don’t get any compensation next year. They have $1,635,500 to sign him, which makes you think they know what he wants, and know that they can get him signed for slot or less.

Here is his player page.

  • Bill Harvey
    June 13, 2017 5:37 am

    Pretty ballsy to pick a tough sign with a pick you lose if you can’t sign him.

    • You really have to think there was communication between the club and the player before the selection was made, because of that risk. The leverage is different under these circumstances.

  • I’m kind of glad we went with an upside player here instead of an over-draft senior because that would basically undermine this compensation pick from last year. Having said that, I wish this wasn’t another “convince me to remit on my firm commitment” high schoolers. It is hard to tell which ones are serious and which are negotiating.

    • You have to hope that the scout that is in contact with him knows what he will sign for.

  • I think they get comp for up to 2 years now – they apparently changed the rules over the winter.

  • PittsburghKid
    June 12, 2017 11:00 pm

    Jennings seems decent maybe slightly a slightly early pick based on mlbs report and the outfielder whose name k already forgot seems like a terrible pick based on scouting reports

  • My fingers are crossed for us to land J. J. Matijevic. Second baseman out of Arizona who can really hit. Might be a bit of a reach at 50, though, but maybe he falls to us at 72?

    He’s exactly the type of college bat they like, though, except he’s shown more power.

    • Oh well, though I kind of like the kid they took. Get him back to his old approach (which history suggests they will), and he’ll hit.

  • Uh oh. Tim, what are you insinuating about the pick by choosing the “ominous sky” PNC Park stock image?

    • The backdrop for Baz looks gorgeous. The one for Jennings pretty much screams tornado warning. Pretty sure Tim doesn’t like the pick.

      • John was talking about this shot from David as having some good colors. That’s why I went with it.

        • I hope it wasn’t a Freudian slip or a sign of things to come lol.
          Fantastic draft coverage btw. It seems like there is analysis posted immediately after the picks.

        • You need to edit it from the left edge of the CF wall and edit out the guy walking in front of the OF scoreboard … and replace with Roberto Clemente chatting with Marilyn Monroe… yeah, that’s the ticket!

  • Another hard-thrower. Already has the heat. Not as exciting as Baz, obviously, but definitely something to work with. And another guy taken by the Bucs around where he was ranked.

  • Keith Law had him as his 22nd ranked prospect today.

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