Last week we received reports that the 2020 MLB draft will be held on June 10-11, and it will consist of five rounds. Teams will also be able to sign non-drafted players for a maximum $20,000 bonus.
The Pittsburgh Pirates own the seventh overall pick in this draft, as well as the 31st and 44th overall picks. Their draft bonus pool for five rounds was announced last month (that link has been updated since the Red Sox lost their second round draft pick). Each Saturday, we will take an in depth look at draft prospect who could be a good fit for that seventh overall pick, as well as players who fits better with those two lower picks. In case you missed it, here’s our draft preview article.
We have posted 15 Draft Prospect Watch articles so far, which are all linked here:
Nick Gonzales and Jordan Westburg
Asa Lacy, JT Ginn and Emerson Hancock
Garrett Mitchell and Freddy Zamora
Austin Wells and Patrick Bailey
Tyler Soderstrom and Drew Romo
Heston Kjerstad and Daniel Cabrera
Robert Hassell and Pete Crow-Armstrong
Carson Montgomery and Tanner Witt
Today we look at something recent from MLB Pipeline, after they posted their top 150 draft prospects, we are running out of possibilities with the seventh overall pick. Today’s article looks at the two highest ranked players (outside of the top few names) who we haven’t covered yet in the Draft Prospect Watch articles.
We have mentioned him here quite a few times, and he was going to be a huge part of our draft coverage this year, but it’s a good time to organize all of the Austin Hendrick information in one spot. He’s the fan favorite in this draft, partially due to the huge upside potential in his bat, but also for the fact that he plays at West Allegheny HS, just outside of Pittsburgh. Hendrick is currently ranked ninth by Baseball America, 13th by MLB Pipeline and 18th by Fangraphs.
While he’s not a one-dimensional player, the carrying tool here is the power. Hendrick stands 6’0″, 195 pounds, and packs a lot of power into his lefty swing due to quick hands and elite bat speed. There are some concerns here due to some swing-and-miss issues and the fact that he turns 19 years old in a month. The other way to look at is that he’s from a cold weather state and isn’t facing the best competition regularly, so you’re seeing the rawness in his game now, which will get better with more reps against good pitching. He’s also made some adjustments to cut down on the movement in his swing, so that could help.
Hendrick is an athletic player, who can cover center field, but profiles better as a corner player. His arm is good enough to play any spot and he’s a slightly above average runner. He’s going to provide some all around value, but the majority will come from the power potential, as long as he can tap into it enough. His ceiling his very high.
Here are some videos, starting with this one from last summer, posted by YouTube user “Baseball.”
Here’s a Baseball America video
Prospects Live part one
Prospects Live part two
Garrett Crochet was mentioned in depth here back in early February when Fangraphs rated him seventh overall. He’s a 6’6″, 220 pound lefty, who has solid control over three above average pitches. He was dealing with a minor back/shoulder injury this season, so he only made one start, in which he struck out six batters over 3.1 scoreless innings against Wright State.
Crochet was originally drafted in the 34th round in 2017 by the Milwaukee Brewers, only slipping that far due to bonus demands. He chose Tennessee instead and has been used as both a starter and reliever in his 2+ seasons. Crochet made it here due to his fall baseball work, where he took his fastball to another level. He already had above average velocity, touching 97 MPH at times, but he added an average of five MPH to his fastball, which now touched triple digits regularly. It’s not just the velocity that makes it a great pitch. He also throws strikes and has a high spin rate on the pitch according to MLB Pipeline.
He also has two strong off-speed pitches, with a mid-80s slider and a upper-80s changeup that has deception. Both pitches can be used as out pitches.
There will be some doubts here due to the fact that scouts only got to see him once for a short time this year, but he was able to hit 99 MPH in that game. He doesn’t have command of his pitches yet, but he throws a lot of strikes. It’s an impressive three-pitch mix, along with a huge frame, coming from a lefty. That’s the dream of every scout. Baseball America says that he could be the best pitcher in this draft class.
Here are some videos, starting with 2080 Baseball
This one is slightly older from Baseball Census, summer of 2018. You can notice some changes from the first video, which was a year later.
Want to get the know him better? He’s a media video from the fall after he started showing more velocity
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.