The 2020 Major League draft is still five months off and our weekly Draft Prospect Watch articles won’t start up for another six weeks, but Baseball America has an updated top 100 draft prospects list. This is their first combined list for college and prep players.
This is a very interesting update because the Pittsburgh Pirates have the seventh overall pick and Baseball America has Austin Hendrick rated in the seventh spot. If you don’t know his name by now, be prepared to hear about him a lot in the upcoming months, especially if his draft stock remains the same.
Hendrick has been mentioned here a few times already. The appeal here is that he is a local kid, playing at West Allegheny HS in Imperial Pa., so he would instantly become a hometown favorite. The fact that (right now) he wouldn’t be considered an over-draft makes it very possible that they actually select him.
We first introduced Hendrick here back in August and included three videos in the article. Here’s the most recent video of him on YouTube:
** There’s a bit of other news that is Pennsylvania prep related, though not as close to PNC Park as Hendrick. Nick Bitsko from Central Bucks East HS in Doylestown, Pa. has become eligible a year earlier. He’s a 6’4″, 220 pound, 17-year-old, right-handed pitcher, who has already touched 97 MPH, mixing it with a hard breaking ball that shows plus qualities. BA rated him 15th in their latest update, though MLB Pipeline called him a potential top ten pick. This draft was already high on pitching, and Bitsko makes it even stronger.
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.