Baseball America released a mock draft on Friday afternoon covering the first 15 picks. The Pittsburgh Pirates have the tenth overall pick. We have been posting reports on two draft-eligible players each Saturday since February, but their selection for the Pirates is a player I have not covered yet. BA notes that it’s early in the mock draft process so a lot can change. That’s true, although I’d point out that the first day of the draft is just 38 days away, when the Pirates will select tenth, 36th and 51st overall on day one.
BA has the Pirates taking high school shortstop Brice Turang, a 6’1″, 165 pound left-handed bat, who has been ranked much higher earlier in the year. Turang was actually on my schedule for next weekend after his stock took a little bit of a tumble. I purposely didn’t mention him yet because he was at the top of this draft class for some people early in the process. He didn’t seem like a possible pick for the Pirates at the time, but now they may have the option of selecting him.
BA just updated their rankings and dropped him to ninth, while Pipeline was much tougher on him, dropping him down to 22nd in the class. The drop comes from disappointing results, although he set the bar very high going into this year and the criticism might come from him not taking a step forward. A few days ago, Turang homered twice and doubled, going 6-for-8 in two games, so he might be heating back up at the right time.
The downward trend might scare some teams off, but the 18-year-old has four tools that are considered above average, with his speed getting a 60 grade. He’s likely going to stick at shortstop, as he has the glove, arm and range for the position. He’s going to add value on the bases and he’s the type of hitter who will get on base often. His power is below average now, but there is plenty of room to fill out that 6’1″ frame and go from gap power to the occasional over-the-fence power.
I’ve included two recent videos. First from Perfect Game:
Second is from Baseball America
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.
Not that it would be a bad pick, but a speedy SS would not be my first choice for a top 10 pick. Power hitting SS, OK, but not a speed/glove SS.