Draft Prospect Watch: Three College Arms to Keep an Eye On

The 2020 Major League draft will be held on June 10-12, with the Pittsburgh Pirates making the seventh overall pick on day one of the event. They also have the 31st and 44th overall picks that day. Each Saturday, we will take an in depth look at one prospect who could be a good fit for that seventh overall pick, as well as another who rates a little lower and fits better with those two lower picks. In case you missed it, here’s our draft preview article.

Two week ago we featured two of the top college bats in this class. Last week we moved on to two high school bats. So I figured that we could go to college arms this week for our players. A news item from this week helped make that decision easier, which I will get into with the second player below. I also added a bit about a third player because of a news item I read last week.

We start off with Asa Lacy, a 6’4″ lefty from Texas A&M, who turns 21 right before the draft. He has a strong four-pitch mix, led by a mid-90’s fastball with good downhill action. He throws a pair of breaking balls, with the hard slider getting better grades from some, while his mid-80s curve gets better rankings from others. His fourth pitch is a changeup that gets solid reports and could be an above average pitch in the future.

Scouts like his demeanor and aggressiveness on the mound according to Baseball America, while other sources note the extra effort in his delivery and lack of command on his pitches. He throws enough strikes to be effective, but doesn’t always hit his spots. Lacy has been one of the most difficult pitchers to hit in college over the last two years. He gave up nine hits total in his first three starts this season, while racking up 33 strikeouts in 17 innings.

Lacy is ranked fourth by Baseball America, fifth by MLB Pipeline and fifth by Fangraphs, so it wouldn’t take much for him to get to the Pirates with their first pick.

Here are some videos of Lacy, starting with one from 2080 Baseball

Here’s one from Perfect Game

Here’s one from FloBaseball to get to know him better

Our second player is JT Ginn, a 20-year-old, 6’2″ right-handed pitcher from Mississippi State. He was a first round pick of the Dodgers in 2018 out of high school and is a draft-eligible sophomore this year. He would have been a possibility for the seventh overall pick with some improvements this year, but Ginn just found out that he needs Tommy John surgery. The question now becomes how far will he drop in the draft this year and is he willing to sign. Due to the timing of the surgery, he will still be rehabbing when the 2021 college season starts, and any setbacks will further limit his workload. Is that enough to get a mid-first round pick to the Pirates at #31 overall? That’s what we will find out.

Before the injury, Ginn usually sat 91-95, and has topped out at 97 MPH recently, though he’s been up to 99 in the past. He mixes his fastball with a mid-80’s slider that has great movement and is used as a strikeout pitch. His changeup has plus potential. Ginn not only has excellent movement on all three of his pitches, he can throw them all for strikes. There is a lot of upside here for a team willing to take the risk that comes along with a major surgery.

Here’s a video of Ginn from Perfect Game

I added a third player, but I don’t want to get any hopes up. Georgia right-hander Emerson Hancock is rated among the top three players in this class by Baseball America, Fangraphs and MLB Pipeline (they have him #1) and has done nothing to hurt his draft stock. Now it’s not a stretch to say that he could drop to #7, but right now it doesn’t look good. The reason I included him was because of this article. It notes that the Pirates were extremely interested in him out of high school, possibly more than any other team, but Hancock wasn’t ready to go pro at that time. You would make the safe assumption that the high level of interest remains.

Before reading that article, I was only going to cover Hancock if he started to slide a little, so for now I’ll keep his report brief and include one video. We might focus in on him later if he looks like a possibility for the Pirates.

He has four pitches with plus potential, including a fastball that hits 99 MPH and a 60-grade changeup. His strikeout pitch is a mid-80s slider, but he also throws a hard curve that is effective.

Here’s a video from Perfect Game


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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