Fifth Round: Pirates Draft Catcher Grant Koch

With their fifth round pick in the 2018 MLB amateur draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected catcher Grant Koch from Arkansas.

Koch was ranked 131st by MLB Pipeline and 128th by Baseball America, making him a 4th-5th selection in their minds. His stock actually fell as a junior because he was considered a potential 2nd round pick coming into this year. At 6’0″, 190 pounds, the 21-year-old right-handed bat belted 13 homers for Arkansas last year, then put up terrific stats in summer ball, doing an excellent job of getting on base.

That had his stock high coming into the year, but he has batted just .250/.366/.397 this year, ranking last among the starters on his team in average, slugging and OPS. On defense, he’s considered a work in progress, with an average arm that displays accuracy. BA says he needs to work on his agility behind the plate, while Pipeline gives his nice marks from handling a pitching staff.

Koch has excellent raw power and the makings of a solid defensive catcher with more work behind the plate. There are questions on whether he will hit enough in the pros, mostly due to average bat speed and the fact that he can get pull happy. He should end up as the everyday catcher at Morgantown this year.

Here’s his player page.