New Mock Draft has Pirates Taking Local Prep Outfielder Austin Hendrick

The Major League draft is just under five months away, so it’s still very early in the process and a lot will change between now and early June. Baseball America acknowledges as much in their latest mock draft. That being said, they have West Allegheny HS outfielder Austin Hendrick going to the Pittsburgh Pirates with the seventh overall pick. Just last week, BA posted their new draft rankings for the 2020 class and they had Hendrick ranked seventh, so he is not only going to his local team, he’s being picked exactly where he ranks.

Hendrick is a high upside lefty bat who would fit well at PNC Park. He gets a lot of praise for his bat speed that is described as “elite”, as well as his above average raw power. We posted an article back in August introducing Hendrick, which includes three videos. BA had a short clip in a tweet two days ago, which was a popular retweet, showing the level of interest for the local kid.

Our draft coverage will ramp up in about a month, when we start featuring players who could be possibilities for that seventh pick. Hendrick is going to get a lot of attention this year obviously, as it’s rare to have a top prospect that close to PNC Park. We already have some dates planned out to get some first-hand views once his season starts in mid-March.

Speaking of the draft coverage, I’ll also be looking at possibilities for the second pick of the Pirates and there was some news with that pick. As most of you probably heard, MLB came down on the Houston Astros for stealing signs. Part of their punishment included losing draft picks in the first and second rounds. That draft spot was taken away, so the second pick of the Pirates (competitive balance pick) moved from 32nd to 31st overall. Their second round pick also moved up a spot and the third round (on to the 40th round) all moved up two spots.

The draft bonus slot amounts haven’t been announced yet, but based on last year’s numbers, the Pirates will add approximately $150,000 to their bonus pool with all of the picks moving up. Their 5% allowed overage also increases by approximately $7,500 on top of that number. Not a big difference obviously, but when you look at the Jasiah Dixon signing from last year and how big that looks now for a late round pick, it shows you what a little extra could turn out. Dixon was landed with an extra $75,000 added to his slot amount.

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.

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