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, just 22 days away. You can check out our draft preview here.
Here are links to the previous Draft Prospect Watch articles, covering a total of 26 players so far:
This week we are going with two players who were rated near the 18th overall spot in MLB Pipeline’s latest mock draft. We have actually mentioned everyone in the 11th-22nd spots in that mock draft. I don’t think anyone they have in the top ten will drop, so here are the next two players we haven’t mentioned. Both happen to be third basemen, and they both have power potential.
The first player is Kody Hoese from Tulane, who went to Colorado Rockies in the 23rd spot. He turns 22 in July, which is old for a junior, but Hoese was draft-eligible last year and the Kansas City Royals took a flier on him in the 35th round. He’s a 6’4″, 200 pound right-handed hitter.
Pipeline calls him a disciplined hitter, who goes gap-to-gap and drives the ball well. That has led to some extremely impressive stats this season. In his first 48 games, he’s hitting .405/.498/.826, with 19 doubles, 21 homers and a 33:21 BB/SO ratio. That’s a long way from the player he was as a freshman when he hit .213 with no homers. He’s a below average runner, who should stick at third base due to solid hands and an above average arm.
In the latest top 400 draft rankings by Baseball America, Hoese gained more spots than anyone, moving up 126 spots.
Usually I include multiple videos, but because of this late jump in the rankings, there is almost nothing out there for him unless you want postgame interviews. However, this video put out by Tulane will probably make him your favorite player
The second player is Keoni Cavaco from Eastlake HS in California. He went 26th overall in the mock draft. Cavaco is a late riser up the charts. He wasn’t even highly rated last summer, but had a great fall and a strong spring, which has drawn a lot of attention lately. He’s 6’0″, 185 pounds, turns 18 years old on the day before the draft and he has a commitment to San Diego State.
The scouting report calls him a power hitter, with some swing-and-miss to his game, which has his hitting currently rated as a 45 on the scouting scale. There could be some improvements in this area, as the amount of attention he’s getting lately would signify a jump in tools, or at least the ability to make more consistent contact. Besides the raw power that is starting to show up more in games, he’s also an above average runner, giving him a very nice power/speed combo. It goes beyond that though, as he is considered to have above average potential at third base, with a plus arm.
It’s always a risk with high school players, but you add in a bit of swing-and-miss to his game and you’re taking a bigger chance. The worst case if he reaches his ceiling is a low OBP third baseman, with power, speed and defense. There’s also the chance that his recent rise is due to improvements in his biggest flaw.
Here are some videos, starting with Perfect Game Baseball, which has the batting cages, fielding, game action trifecta.
This one from Fangraphs was put out just six days ago. All game action.
Finally, Prospect Pipeline has fielding and batting practice, shown from different angles
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.