With their seventh round pick in the 2018 MLB amateur draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected outfielder Brett Kinneman from North Carolina State.
Kinneman started his junior season off on fire at North Carolina State, then fell off a cliff during the middle before rebounding slightly at the end. Kinneman’s tools grade almost average across the board, getting a 55 grade for power, 45 for hitting and 50 for everything else. Some scouts believe he has the ability to play center field, although he profiles as more of a corner outfielder.
Kinneman, who turns 22 in August, is listed at 6’0″, 195 pounds. He got a lot of notice this year by hitting 12 home runs in his first 106 at-bats. He hit just five more homers in his last 128 at-bats and had a long drought in the middle where he wasn’t hitting at all. His final slash line was .274/.392/.581, with 65 strikeouts. He went 10-for-13 in steals and played left field, where he had two errors and one assist in 60 games.
This is a nice pick for the seventh round because he gives you a potential power hitter, if the strikeouts don’t become too big on an issue in the pros. He’s a solid athlete and a decent runner, so you’re really looking at whether he makes enough contact to become a serviceable player down the road. One upside noted by Baseball America, who ranked him 160th in this draft class, is that Kinneman had a lot of success against the top pitchers in a tough conference (ACC).