New Mock Draft from MLB Pipeline Returns to a Familiar Name

MLB Pipeline has been doing a mock draft once a week for the last two months, flipping between Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis making the picks. This week they were back to Callis, who has Brooks Lee as the pick for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the fourth overall spot. Here’s our Draft Prospect Watch article for Lee.

If you’ve been following along, you know that Lee has been linked with the Pirates for months, and for a long stretch he was the only name that was popping up for them in mock drafts. That string was recently broken with the pick of Termarr Johnson, but Callis has Johnson going first overall in his draft now, which I believe is the first time his name has been mentioned first. That pick is followed by Druw Jones and Jackson Holliday, two sons of All-Star big league players.

Callis mentions that the Pirates have been connected to a college bat and he goes with Lee over Georgia Tech catcher Kevin Parada because the Pirates took a catcher (Henry Davis) with their first overall pick last year. Callis also mentions Cam Collier, who has popped up for the Pirates recently.

The draft is just over three weeks away, so expect the mock drafts to pick up a bit soon.

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PIRATES DISCUSSION

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TNBucs

Brock Porter up to 9th–if the guys who scouted Burrows and Priester are still with the Pirates and like Porter, I’d give him serious consideration.

redwards60

If Jones. Green, and Holliday all go in top 3, Collier is growing on me

1979andCounting

I fell hard for Termarr Johnson watching him at the MLB Combine. If we want an 80-grade hitter we’ll take him at #4 . But doubtful he’ll be around. His comps are Tony Gwynn and Robinson Cano. And besides, he would be one helluva insurance policy for Nicky G. Actually he would fly past Nicky G. on the 2B depth chart.

NMR

The Cam Collier Conundrum seems to be that even his loudest supporters, all of whomst universally laud him for his performance relative to age of competition…don’t actually project him to be a notably good big leaguer?

60 hit, 50 power, 50 defender at a non-premium position for a kid with no real remaining physical projection is…fine?

What’s the value of performance relative to age unless it portends an exponentially better performance when it matters? Seems like there’s a disconnect here.

redwards60

You make a good point about Collier…I am generally not keen on drafting a player this high who doesn’t have some plus tools. I also don’t like the idea of drafting a second baseman in the top 10…

kja1970

“60 hit, 50 power, 50 defender at a non-premium position for a kid with no real remaining physical projection is…fine?”

Pirates need to identify and select the best 1B in the draft

MLB is not a free market and the Bucs have been terrible at 1B for nearly 25 years

“Best player available” is just a way to avoid criticism

Fit is important for a small market team

Collier might be that guy

NMR

I really like this take, just maybe not applied to the player in question.

Ivan Melendez just slashed .387/.508/.863 with more walks than strikeouts against Big12 competition and is probably available in the comp round. How much better than that would we really expect Cam to be in three years?

Danatural08

Please take Melendez, dude is a stud

b mcferren

Kumar Rocker with 25 k’s in 15 innings

We need pitching pronto and this guy is part of the solution

Rocker needs to be the #4 pick

redwards60

No, I pass

skliesen

I’m not convinced this 25 K’s in 15 IP stat is of any meaningful importance considering the level of competition. However, if he’s showing velocity, movement, control/command, and pitch variety he did when he was at Vandy, than yeah I’m down with taking him.

emjayinTN

You know that cannot possibly be the case, and even if it was, who is representing Rocker? The Pirates are not wanting any part of that. BA – #4 Termarr Johnson is the real deal – a 70 grade hitter. If not him, Cam Collier #10 , 17.6 years old with a 60 hit tool and 55 power.

If Termarr, that makes quite a few high MI prospects available for possibly a package to get a solid #2 or #3 “right now” SP

skliesen

Pirates aren’t drafting anyone without knowing their price to sign relative to slot.

I want upside, preferably a Pitcher, and one who will sign for less than slot. This is why I’m pounding table for Lesko over all others.

Rocker could fit this profile.

Lord knows Pirates don’t need another low upside, SAFE, MI.

redwards60

I would easily take an injured Lesko over Rocker…not impressed with Rocker

Last edited 5 days ago by redwards60
b mcferren

has more chance of being a star than any name mentioned so far

AdministrativeSky236

If he’s there in the sandwich round or top of the second, i say we roll the dice

joebaseball

Has he changed agents yet?

b mcferren

didn’t stop us from signing Cole

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

That was also the draft before the bonus pool caps. So they were able to sign Cole and Bell, with no spending limitations. Cole’s record bonus amount was only broken a couple years ago by Rutschman.

b mcferren

jury is still out on this strategy of overdraft in first round and the spend big in lower rounds

I haven’t seen it work yet…

this technique appears very similar to signing Hembree, Yoshi, Gamel and Roberto Perez instead of using all that money on a real starting pitcher

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

It is. But also doesn’t change the fact they spent $13M on 2 players alone in 2011. While in 2022, their entire pool isn’t even $14M. Although if you include the 5% overage, it’s almost $14.5M.

NMR

Remember, though, that the cap has had a massive price control effect as well. Knocked down value across the board. You recognized this with your comparison of Adley to Gerrit.

There aren’t really two players worth $13m anymore to begin with.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I guess my question would be, to what context do you mean? As in you don’t feel there’s been the ability for a team to draft 2 players of Cole and Bell’s quality, at the time?

NMR

No, that I don’t believe the draft cap has actually precluded teams from drafting two players of their quality at the same time.

Josh Bell masterfully created a market for himself and took advantage of uncapped spending, but his cost always led his tools and not the other way around.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Ok, I see what you’re saying. I could understand that. Might be considered a bit of a loaded question but, do you believe everything else left the same with the Pirates draft last year, they could’ve drafted Leiter instead of Davis?

b mcferren

Lee has a David Freese comp?

PirateRican21

World Series MVP, let’s do it!

clemo83

Admittedly I haven’t be tracking draft coverage, I’m trying to get more tuned into the draft conversation as we get closer. Hard to remember us being connected to a single player from so many outlets.

Can this college bat be an all star? Seems like we’d be passing on higher upside talent.

Last edited 6 days ago by clemo83
jaygray007

when i hear “shortstop with power” i don’t really also think “low upside”. of course Lee could be an all star. all of these guys could be an all star.

clemo83

Sounds like your pretty defensive about this guy. College vs prep is always a question of upside. Just wonder if he’s worth the pick. Is he projected to be a shortstop long term?

Last edited 6 days ago by clemo83
jaygray007

i feel like there’s a lot of Anti Lee sentiment here. Just a PSA to remind all that not all Caucasian shortstops in the NCAA are the same. Not every white guy is Kevin Newman.

Last edited 6 days ago by jaygray007
NMR

Rare swing and miss on this one, buddy. Shower it off and come back ready to play.

PirateRican21

Awesome response!

AdministrativeSky236

Nobody has said anything about him being white (that I know of). He’s a college bat from a small conference who feasted on lower levels of competition and had much lower numbers against better schools, so it is fair to be skeptical since we have a player of similar profile who has had some trouble with big strikeout numbers (see: Gonzales, Nick)

jaygray007

i’m being a little tongue in cheek there, obviously.

the small school worry is totally valid. But also, idk what K concerns youre seeing with Lee. his K rate is under 10 percent.

agent00

from BA’s scouting report:

He has rarely faced good breaking stuff and will need to prove he can handle that.”

jaygray007

that’s fine, and understood! but i can’t imagine any of the high school guys have frequently faced good breaking stuff either.

Maybe i was off base in thinking that people are thinking “Kevin Newman” when they see brooks lee. I shouldnt have put that burden on everyone. I shouldve waited for a specific “Kevin Newman” mention.

Last edited 6 days ago by jaygray007
agent00

for what it’s worth i think he’ll definitely be better than newman  😄 

Last edited 6 days ago by agent00
AdministrativeSky236

Cam collier mentioned! Willing this to happen

jaygray007

He’s become “my guy” too 🙂

realistically though, i’m going to do the mental gymnastics necessary to convince myself what whatever they do is awesome. That’s how i’ve been operating for the last 18 yrs of my life being interested in this topic.

hoffmark83

I know it’s only a mock draft but, thanks but no thanks on Lee please!

jaygray007

could you just share why youre so averse?

hoffmark83

Green, Jones and Holiday could all still be available and Callis would STILL have the Pirates picking Lee.

agent00

if i see one more mock draft with the pirates taking brooks lee i’m just going to…..

Wilbur Miller

Worry not. The Pirates have been planting the Lee stuff to boost his profile so the O’s or D’bags will take him. There’s some deep, nefarious strategy at play here.

agent00

then they’ll just take collier. the pirates are taking a college hitter and they won’t be denied!!

jaygray007

what’s with the Lee hate?

agent00

to me he’s an unexciting pick. he does mostly everything well. nothing really stands out. so he’ll be a solid pro most likely. but at 4, you should be (imo) shooting for upside.

also it’s just my personal drafting philosophy. i’d almost always go with high school talent with first round picks. my exception would be if there’s a strasburg or kris bryant talent available.

PirateRican21

I flip flop more than a politician on this subject, but on your philosophy ( not saying is wrong at all!). Wouldn’t be better to take the safest bet on the pick you are spending the most on? I’ve been on Green since early last year and now I’m on the Johnson bandwagon as well and would love either pick, but I wouldn’t hate the Lee pick if they went that route.

agent00

if the safest bet is a solid to average player? dunno. it’s not the wrong approach per se. i just disagree with it.

to me, the pirates lack elite high end talent (cruz is the probably the only player in the org that has this type of talent)…..if you’re picking 4th overall, to me, you have to shoot for a player that has that elite upside.

CTBucco

Agreed. If they pass on Green or Jones to take Lee, I’ll be pretty upset. I could be won back over if they can save a couple $M on Lee to go high upside with later picks like they did last year. The difference with last year is that Davis has a decent chance to be a star at C or at least well above average, IMO.

My other issue with Lee is lack of performance against the upper levels and with good breaking pitches. I can forgive a HS player for not seeing good breaking pitches plus, they have three years to figure it out and still come out ahead of a guy like Lee who is already 20/21 years old and not proven to be able to hit breaking pitches yet. I’ve been an outspoken critic of Lee but I do have to admit that last year (’21) his track record against top level competition was much better than this year and did well in the Cape Cod league. Sample sizes are very small all around.

NMR

Also less and less convinced the Cape is all that relevant anymore.

Top arms aren’t risking the additional wear and tear.

Seems like it works better to raise red flags (Will Craig actually can’t hit with wood) than portend great projection in pro ball (Newman and Gonzales).

agent00

yep. you said it better than i could have!

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