Draft Prospect Watch: Could the Pirates Go for the Local High School Player?

There are about six weeks left before the first day of the 2022 MLB draft, meaning that we still have plenty of time to look at top draft options for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who select fourth overall. A lot could change between now and then, so the plan is to look at all of the players who rank around where the Pirates select.

In April, we started our Draft Prospect Watch articles, where we look at a new player each Sunday. Our first choice was Druw Jones. The next Sunday we looked at Elijah Green. That was followed by Jackson Holliday, after he moved up some draft charts. In the fourth installment, we went with Termarr Johnson, who has been on the radar all season for the fourth overall pick. The next week was a name that has been linked to the Pirates recently, Cam Collier, who is the son of a former Pirates player. Two weeks ago we looked at Brooks Lee, who has been tied to the Pirates numerous times this year, including all of the most recent mock drafts. Our first pitcher was last week when we checked out prep right-hander Brock Porter.

Now we go local to Cole Young, an 18-year-old shortstop from Wexford, PA., who attends North Allegheny HS. He was mentioned on Friday by Baseball America as someone who the Pirates have checked in on often. He’s classified as a reach for the fourth spot, but it would be a pick that allows the Pirates to spend excess draft bonus pool space elsewhere, which they have done before. BA ranks him as the 21st best prospect in the draft. MLB Pipeline has him ranked 18th overall. Kiley McDaniel had him going 18th overall to the Cincinnati Reds in his latest mock draft. While three draft experts isn’t a large group, they do a lot of talking to scouts/execs to get those rankings, so you could say that Young is a consensus mid-first round pick. Since BA is the one who connected the Pirates to Young, here’s their scouting report first.

Young turns 19 the week after the draft, so he’s a bit old for his draft class, though I’ve always used the standard “17 is young, 18 is average, 19 is old” way to look at a player’s age and that was based off of an early June draft date, not mid-July. So he’s high-end of what you want to see, but not to the point where age should factor in heavily. That’s especially true of a HS player in a cold weather state, where they tend to develop baseball tools into results a little later than warm weather players. Young stands 5’11″/6’0″ depending on where you look, and he’s about 180 pounds. He’s a lefty bat, with a commitment to Duke.

BA calls Young the best shortstop in the prep draft class and possibly the second best hitter behind Termarr Johnson, who gets Wade Boggs comps at the plate. They call Young an all-around player who does everything well on the field, but there are no plus-plus type of tools. He’s a line drive hitter, who uses the entire field. He has a great understanding of the strike zone and they mention that he has looked good against pitchers with good velocity. He shows range, instincts and an above average arm on defense. He’s not the fastest runner out of the gate, but he shows good speed once he gets going.

For comparison, here’s the report from MLB Pipeline. They give him a 60 grade for hitting, 40 grade for power, 55 for arm and speed, and 50 for fielding. If I had to place grades on what BA wrote about him, those sound like the grades for their description. Pipeline notes that he put himself on the map last summer with a good showing, and that has continued into the spring this year. They like the bat-to-ball skills, the ability to use the entire field and how well he handled velocity. They note that he uses his speed well to take extra bases, and he’s got the skills to stick at shortstop. They have an interesting comp, noting that he’s similar to Adam Frazier, except a little more pop and the ability to play shortstop.

Since the reports are basically the same, let’s get into the videos.

This video doesn’t have a lot of good results for Young, but I like the side view of his swing

This is from late August when he started making big impressions

Here’s a local news report, where he even talks about the Pirates

Here’s some game action from last month, along with fielding drills





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they should not make another Cole tucker reach for this kid. they need plus, plus tools and hope for a superstar at 4.


If this wasn’t from PA, he wouldn’t even be on the radar at #4 . BC should be reintroduced to the marketplace if he uses the #4 pick in this draft on any player who lacks plus-plus skills in any one area.


sounds like a very good prospect and great kid – and a local product to boot. However, when you are drafting in the top 5, you better be getting someone with potential superstar potential with franchise impact. Young doesn’t have any plus plus tools, so while a good player, not the type of profile you want when you are drafting that high. If Jones, Holliday, and Green all go in top 3, I would opt for Lee or Lesko….Parada as my third choice.


Certainly the Pirates could draft a player rated near the 20 range with their fourth pick. They’ve done it before under previous regimes but with the same owner. Daniel Moskos in 2007 and Tony Sanchez in 2009 as examples. How did those choices work out?

One can only hope this will be the last year they will be picking this high and also that they don’t waste the pick trying to outsmart themselves. You can never tell what players will develop into solid or even great major leaguers, and we all know some drafted in the 20s who have done just that. A fellow named Trout comes to mind, but there are clearly good players who will be there for the fourth pick this year and reaching to save money for even riskier picks later cannot be a good idea.

BTW, Kumar Rocker made his first Frontier League start yesterday. He threw 60 pitches in 4 innings with 43 strikes, 6 strike outs and 0 walks. The gun showed a 95-97mph fastball with some at 99mph. There were reportedly no indications of any kind of injury or discomfort. Of course it was the Frontier league but apparently several major league scouts were there. Dare to hope one of them was from Pittsburgh?


The first sentence of your second paragraph is where my head is at with this draft. The team is getting better, albeit incrementally, so there shouldn’t be more top 5 picks in the future. Go for glory and shoot your shot in this draft, no need to stockpile 45 FV type prospects anymore if you can grab someone with a higher ceiling, regardless of the bust risk.


Tucker was a far bigger reach than Sanchez or Moskos were, although not a top 10 pick. They were all horrible first round choices, as were Crag and Newman


You understand that a first round choice who plays in the majors is a success? We’d all be delighted if every first rounder was a Garrett Cole or a Cutch, but it ain’t happening.


No, that may be your low definition of success for a first round pick, but that is absurd…sorry. expectations are much higher for a first round pick, especially if taken in top half of the round.


Right but there are degrees of this success, no? You should get a lot more out of a #2 overall against a #2 2 .

All this aside…no way on Cole Young. Way too far down talent wise at a #4 spot.

Last edited 23 days ago by ArkyWags
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