With their third round pick in the 2018 MLB amateur draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected shortstop Connor Kaiser from Vanderbilt.
The Pirates have gone for a college bat in the third round every year since 2013. The made it six years in a row with Kaiser, who is known for being a solid defensive player at shortstop. He hasn’t been known for his bat in college, but just two days ago, he hit three homers in a game. Kaiser has shown a better bat during the summer leagues, in particular, he had a strong Cape Cod League season.
This seems like a bit of a reach here, as he’s a fairly well-known player and he wasn’t ranked top 200 for either MLB Pipeline or Baseball America. His three home run game this past weekend may have opened some eyes, but he has a much longer track record of not hitting well in college, though his junior year stats were an improvement, even before the big day on Sunday.
The Pirates must like the glove and believe he can remain at shortstop. He committed just two errors this season. Kaiser also runs decent, going 12-for-14 in steals. He’s big at 6’4″, 205 pounds and there is probably still some room to fill out. There could be more power in the bat, so we will see if they can tap into that potential.