Today’s Draft Prospect Watch is a summary of the players we have covered here over the last 12 weeks, leading up to next week’s draft, where the Pittsburgh Pirates have the fourth overall selection. As you can imagine with 12 players and the team picking fourth, some of these guys will go at least ten picks later. I highly doubt I picked the top 12 guys to cover, mostly because I went with the preference of the Pirates (according to the rumors) with some of my picks.
Instead of just including 12 links, I’m going to put them in groups with my quick comments on the group as a whole. The Draft Prospect Watch article for each player is linked to their name.
Group One: Players Who They Shouldn’t Pass On
If the Pirates have a chance to select Druw Jones or Jackson Holliday, they should take them. In my opinion, they are tier one in this class. There’s not a huge gap between them and the rest of the best, but they should go 1-2 in the draft. I’m going to explain why I said that they shouldn’t pass when we look at the next group. I am torn as to whether Elijah Green belongs here as well, but I would have a very hard time passing on him, so we will say he’s on the edge of this group, but doesn’t fit in any other group. I don’t know if he’s my definite #3, but luckily I don’t have to make these decisions.
Group Two: If No One From Group One is Available, Change the Plan
Recent reports have said that Termarr Johnson could be a savings pick for the Pirates because if he doesn’t go here, there’s a good chance that his next chance at getting picked won’t be until eighth overall. Whether that’s true or not, calling someone a savings pick has a bit of a negative sound, though I think Pirates fans are okay with it now after they saw how saving on the top pick could lead to stacking the draft class. Johnson is an elite bat, during a time in baseball where players swing for the fences in every count and strikeouts are a big part of the game. That “swing hard and hope for the best” approach is awful for the future of the game and games are hard to watch already, so someone who can make consistent hard contact with power is special right now. If the Pirates pick him fourth, they won’t be reaching.
Cam Collier and Cole Young fit more as the savings picks, even though both are very good (possibly top ten for both) players. I’m okay with these picks if no one from group one is available. I think the Pirates attacked the 2021 draft perfectly, and if you can’t get Holliday or Jones (I still can’t 100% commit to including Green there, but I doubt he provides any savings), then you go savings here and get a top talent who signs cheaper. After that, you add top talents who dropped due to bonus demands like last year.
Group Three: But The Pirates Want a College Bat!
I won’t go into as much detail here. The Pirates have been connected to college bats because they took college bats each of the last two years, and supposedly they have been scouting them heavily this year. You would hope that is true because it means they are doing what you’re supposed to do. It would be odd if they weren’t scouting them. Brooks Lee has been connected to the Pirates over and over, so if he’s the pick, no one should be surprised. We also covered Kevin Parada, Jace Jung and Jacob Berry because they have been loosely connected to the Pirates. They are all top college bats, as is Gavin Cross, who I added because he’s a top ten talent. He could be a different approach to the savings pick.
Group Four: This Isn’t a Group, It’s Where I Put the Only Pitcher
2022 is not the year to add a pitcher with the fourth overall pick. Pirates have the 36th pick and 44th pick, look for pitching there. I profiled pitcher Brock Porter because he’s recognized as the top pitcher in this draft class. I don’t see him as an option here, but I’m 100% sure that the Pirates have scouted him and pitching is one of the nine positions in which they need talent right now, sooooo…..
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.