Every Sunday, we are going to take a look at two top draft prospects in this upcoming June amateur draft. The Pittsburgh Pirates make their first selection with the 18th overall pick. They also have the 37th overall pick. Our players featured each week will be those who are ranked on prospect lists in the general area of the 18th pick, while also showing some players who could be available when the Pirates make their second pick. The first day of the draft is June 3rd. You can check out our draft preview here.
Here are links to the previous Draft Prospect Watch articles:
This week we are going with two pitchers who have seen their draft stock rise recently. Both are rated slightly lower than the 18th pick right now. It’s possible that they could continue to move up, but these are also two guys who could be really nice picks at 37th overall if they don’t keep rising.
We start with Seth Johnson, a right-handed pitcher from Campbell University. This is not a good draft for college players, but his rise has made the crop a little better. Johnson stands in at 6’1″, 200 pounds and he’s on the young side for a college junior, turning 21 this upcoming September 19th. He was not drafted out of high school.
Johnson this season has a 3.94 ERA over his first nine starts. In 48 innings, he has 56 strikeouts and a .217 BAA.
The reason for the late rise here is that he was mostly an infielder in junior college for two years before transferring to Campbell. He has recently added velocity, going from upper 80s to sitting 92-95 MPH, while touching 98 MPH. He throws a slider and a curve that both have potential (some already have the curve as a plus pitch), along with the makings of a solid changeup. The extra appeal comes from an easy delivery with clean mechanics, and of course a low-mileage arm.
You usually don’t get a lot of projection with college juniors, but this is clearly a special case due to his lack of pitching experience and current repertoire already.
Here are some videos, starting with this one recently uploaded by Perfect Game Baseball
2080 Baseball has a video from Fall Practices
Our second player is J.J. Goss, a right-handed prep pitcher from Houston, Texas. He stands 6’3″, 185 pounds and has a commitment to Texas A&M. Goss is teammates with pitcher Matt Thompson, who Baseball America ranked 47th overall in their last draft prospect update. I actually planned on covering Thompson at one point, but BA has his draft stock going down, while Goss is on the move up.
BA notes that Goss has a fastball that touches 93 MPH, to go along with slider and a changeup. The slider is an out pitch, while the changeup has above average potential. They note that there is some effort in his delivery and his mechanics could be cleaned up a little. There are some questions about his stamina, though he projects to remain in a starting role.
MLB Pipeline has seen him up to 95 MPH, though both sources have him mainly working in the 90-92 MPH range. They note that the 18-year-old Goss (who was born on Christmas day) has a lot of projection left and he should add some velocity as he fills out. The give his slider a 60 grade, while saying that he has solid control of his pitches.
Here are some videos, starting with one from Prospect Pipeline from last year. This one comes with velocity readings.
Here is Goss from earlier this year, courtesy of HP Baseball