Draft Prospect Watch: Could the Pirates Select a Catcher Two Years in a Row?

There are about five 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. Three 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 two weeks ago when we checked out prep right-hander Brock Porter. That was followed by Cole Young, a prep shortstop from North Allegheny HS.

I wasn’t going to include Georgia Tech catcher Kevin Parada here because the Pirates just took a catcher first overall last year, plus they stocked up on catching prospects in trades. You never draft for need in baseball, but it can be used as a tiebreaker if you can’t choose between multiple players. In this case, it’s really not about drafting a second catcher. It’s more about drafting a top college bat who happens to be a catcher. Parada is a bat with huge big league upside and multiple sources say that he is on the radar of the Pirates. He’s 6’1″, about 200 pounds, a right-handed bat, who turns 21 in August.

According to Baseball America, Parada rated as a 65 grade hitter, with 60 grade power. His other three tools are all considered to be just below average. A catcher with 45 defense and a 45 arm, might not stick at catcher, but a 65 grade hitter with 60 grade power is going to have value wherever they put him in the field. I’ll note that BA indicates that he has a desire to stay behind the plate in pro ball, and his defensive game has improved. Parada has been on the prospect radar for quite some time, as he was rated as BA’s 48th best prospect coming out of high school. He went undrafted, but that was only due to his bonus demands and commitment to Georgia Tech. He’s a draft-eligible sophomore, but that extra eligibility won’t matter if he’s getting drafted fourth overall. Parada has improved his stock this year by getting stronger, which has led to more power, while at the same time he cut down on his strikeout rate.

MLB Pipeline has Parada rated as the sixth best prospect in this draft class. They rate his tools slightly different than BA. Instead of a 65 bat, they have him at 60. Running is 45 for BA and 40 for Pipeline. Defense is 45 for BA and 50 for Pipeline. So nothing major, all half grades, but a 65/60 grade sounds better for a bat, while a 50 grade defense sounds better for someone who wants to stick at the position. Pipeline says that he doesn’t try to do too much at the plate, swinging with a line drive approach that uses the whole field. He consistently makes hard contact against all types of pitchers. They actually put projections on him, saying he could hit .280+ per season with 20+ homers each year.

Kiley McDaniel at ESPN also ranked Parada sixth in his latest update, moving him up ten spots from earlier rankings due to Parada tapping into more power. He doesn’t go as in depth, but he says that Parada may have to move to first base down the line. The offense is above average and he likes the track record of success at the plate.

Here are some videos of Parada. The first is live game action from Prospect Live. Notice the unusual stance from Parada, though he gets set in a better spot as the pitcher starts his motion.

Here is a video of all 26 of his homers this year. This is an impressive video when you see where he’s hitting them

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emjayinTN

Henry Davis is our future Catcher, and his primary future backup will be Endy Rodriguez secured from the Mets as part of the Musgrove trade. Rodriguez is an excellent defensive Catcher who also plays 1B, LF, and is a switchhitter. He and Abrahan Gutierrez are the primary Catchers at A+ GBO and are both only in their age 22 seasons.

Parada has holes in his game defensively, and his Conference Stats include only 3 doubles in 131 AB. He did hit 13 HR in 30 conference games, but I guess I would like to see a HR hitter who can also hit at least as many doubles as HR’s.

I like Cam Collier or Termarr Johnson at #4 , and still think we could get a HS Pitcher like Nazier Mule in the Comp or Round 2. Lesko will be recuperating from TJ into the middle of 2023, but I doubt we would have gotten anything out of him in 2022 anyway. That could be a very smart decision at #4 .

kja1970

The recent track record for catchers at the top of the draft isn’t great.

Didn’t realize that Adley Rutschman is 70+ PA into his MLB career and still doesn’t have a home run, SB, or RBI

hoffmark83

I’m all for Parada. Never can have enough prospects at one position. Especially ones with power.

TNBucs

I wonder if Ben and others were in attendance when he hit the two HRs at Pitt.

pantherfan83

If he was high demands then, is he still now? If they take a college hitter, he’s gotta be underslot. Whose his agent?

kja1970

Hopefully this draft will be as good or better than the Pirates 2015 draft

https://piratesprospects.com/2015draft

Anthony Murphy

The more I look at it, the more I want Parada. Take the best hitter, and thats trending towards being him. Davis can start, then have Parada backup, DH and play first. Can even DH Davis to give him extra rest.

skliesen

I wouldn’t let the selection of Davis last year stop me from drafting him if I’m BC. However, I still pick Lesko over him all day, every day.

PirateRican21

That’s a high pick for a 1b prospect. I thought his arm/defense was better, I rather have Davis behind the plate in that case, at least Davis has a cannon for an arm, something you will need if we go to robot ump.

TNBucs

As for being a high pick for a likely 1B prospect, I thought the same when the Tigers picked Torkelson. But if they believe in the power, then it can be a very good pick.

PirateRican21

I like that point.

Todd

With all the possible catching prospects under Davis(Rodriguez, Sabol, Gutierrez and Bins) I just don’t see another catcher going first. Middle infield is most important since they can be moved.

JimEastTennessee

Take the best bat available (preferably under slot @ #1 four, and GO HEAVY on pitching afterwards.

AdministrativeSky236

This this i want this!

docdon385

I’d like to see them draft the best and most advanced college bat regardless of position unless Kumar Rocker starts pitching so well in the Frontier league that he shoots back up to the top of the draft, but that’s not likely. Have to trust BC et al. to determine who that is because I have nothing other than an amateur opinion about who it might be.

Prada, Lee and Berry all look pretty good to me but all I’ve seen are clips and honestly what do I know? I realize many want to take a high school phenom (people seem to ignore the fact that the other side of the high risk/high reward equation is high risk/total bust) and, while I get that, I’d vote against it mainly because even the best one would take five or more years to develop onto a major league player. I’d like to see the Pirates add the best available player to join the current prospects in a couple of years in Pittsburgh.

Wilbur Miller

With the DH and a perpetual void at 1B, who gives a tootle what position he plays?

CTBucco

Exactly. And with the way Davis is getting plunked daily, he may not make it to Pittsburgh. If we don’t get one of Jones or Green, Parada’s my guy. A LOT of those HRs were in ACC games. I only counted 7 of 26 to LF/LCF. Imagine when he starts turning on offspeed stuff. And FBs going over the Clemente wall and into the batter’s eye. Yes, please!

agent00

my sources say parada is the pick if he’s there

agent00

i’m jk i have no sources

😭

jaygray007

Having two stud catchers, and letting them kinda cycle thru C, 1b, (RF?), and DH would kinda be low-key based.

Then obviously you’re still set if one gets hurt.

jaygray007

Not to mention, there’s no guarantee that Davis works out

ArkyWags

I wonder how he competes with Joey Bart, pre-draft. If I remember right, Bart seemed to have more power and defense, but much less hit tool. Which may be his undoing.

For me, my preference is: Johnson, Pareda, Green, Lee, Collier, Berry in that order. I think the first two picks are likely to be Jones and Holliday, with Green probably third. I’m kinda hoping one of the top three picks is Lee, so they have a chance at a high risk/high reward guy.

CTBucco

Jones?

ArkyWags

Dru Jones? I mean he’s the guy I’d want most of all but no way he’s even there at 4.

Last edited 2 months ago by ArkyWags
AdministrativeSky236

Man that pre-pitch stance is something lol, he definitely gets into a much better hitting position during the delivery so not something to worry about imo

TNBucs

His pre-pitch stance gives him a start on developing the Stargell windmill routine 🙂

redwards60

You can never have enough quality catchers, and we have yet to see a quality catcher in Pittsburgh this year. Selecting Parada wouldn’t be the worst selection, but I would only consider it if Jones, Green, and Holliday are all gone in the first three picks. Something tells me at least one of them will still be there at #4 .

Last edited 2 months ago by redwards60
Colin

Pretty much how I feel about it. Still wouldn’t mind if we took Lesko even with injury

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