With their eighth round pick in the 2018 MLB amateur draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected left-handed pitcher Zach Spears from Miami University (OH).
Spears is the sixth straight college pick from the Pirates on day two of the draft. He’s also the first one who wasn’t rated in the top 500 from Baseball America. He turned 21 on Sunday and stands 6’7″, 237 pounds. The limited scouting report on him has him with a fastball that sits 89-93 MPH, an average changeup and a decent breaking ball.
Spears has been a starter all three seasons at Miami of Ohio. This season he had a 3.73 ERA, which is a half of a run better than his team average and more than a run better than their opponent average. Spears threw 82 innings, with a .264 BAA and an 88:39 SO/BB ratio.
This is a pick where the Pirates have trust in their area scout, who saw him as an eighth round type talent. Spears walked too many batter, but it was actually an improvement over his previous seasons. He has struck out more than a batter per inning each of the last two years and he has a huge frame, which could possibly find more velocity. He should remain a starter and likely go to Morgantown after he signs.