Weekend Pirates Draft Prospects Preview: 4/13-4/15

Baseball America and Keith Law both released mid-season draft rankings this week. We’ve been following the draft prospects for about two months now. We’ve seen Deven Marrero, who started out as a top five prospect, slump at the plate this season. We saw Lucas Giolito go down with an elbow injury. We saw Victor Roache go out for the year with a broken wrist. We saw Kyle Zimmer soar up the ranks with a breakout season on the mound. Mike Zunino has also had a huge season after starting out as the fifth best prospect in the draft.

We’ve seen how these players have performed. The mid-season rankings give us some perspective on those performances. They allow us to see what the in-season numbers mean to a player’s overall value. Here is a rundown of all of the players who we’ve been following this year.

Mark Appel – He started off as the number one prospect for Baseball America and the number three prospect in Law’s rankings. He stayed at number three on Law’s rankings, and moved down to number four on Baseball America’s rankings. Appel seems like Gerrit Cole. Amazing stuff, and ace upside, but his numbers aren’t dominant because he elevates his pitches.

Byron Buxton/Mike Zunino – Baseball America had Buxton at number three and Zunino at number five to start the year. Law had Buxton number one and Zunino number seven. Both outlets have Buxton as the number one prospect and Zunino as number two in the mid-season rankings.

Lucas Giolito – He was the consensus number two prospect in the draft, but a sprained elbow put him out. Law notes that he could pitch again this year. Baseball America has him ranked sixth, while Law has him 11th. Law notes he could sneak back in to the top 10. I think it would be hard for the Pirates to pass on him at eighth overall.

Deven Marrero – At the start of the year he was ranked 4th in both rankings. Law dropped him to seventh, while BA dropped him to 13th. Law included an interesting note that his floor seems to be Pittsburgh at 8th overall. Marrero is a strong defensive shortstop, drawing comparisons to Omar Vizquel. Both outlets note that he’s shown a lack of effort this Spring, although Law notes that’s unusual for him.

Kevin Gausman – At the start of the year BA had him sixth and Law had him fifth. Now BA has him fifth and Law has him sixth. He’s pretty much stayed in the same spot, just out of reach for the Pirates. I doubt he slips to them, since he looks like a pretty safe pick.

Kyle Zimmer – Coming in to the year he was ranked 18th by Law and 28th by BA. Law has him at 4th and BA has him 3rd. It looks like he’s moved well beyond the Pirates range.

Chris Beck – BA had him as a top 10 pick heading in to the year. Law had him 31st. BA dropped him to 27th, while Law doesn’t have him in the top 50.

Victor Roache – He dropped to 14th in BA’s rankings, down from 9th. Law had him much lower at the start of the year, ranking at 45th, so it’s no surprise that he’s not in Law’s top 50.

Gavin Cecchini – He moved from 16 to 11 in the BA rankings, and 13 to 14 in Law’s rankings. Both say he has a good chance of staying at shortstop.

Trey Williams – He went from 27th to 33rd in BA’s rankings, and he has never been on Law’s top 50.

Here are some of the notable names who have jumped in to the top ten.

Michael Wacha – Baseball America moved him from 23rd to 7th. LAw moved him from 10th to 16th.

Carlos Correa – BA moved him from 17th to 8th. Law moved him from 6th to 5th, and said he’s a dark horse to go first overall. Both suggest that he will eventually move to third base.

Marcus Stroman – BA moved him from 22nd to 9th. Law moved him from 36th to 23rd. He’s short, at 5′ 8″, and has the stuff to be a starter, but his size has people thinking he’ll be a reliever.

Max Fried – He went from 15th to 10th for BA, and 8th to 9th for Law. He’s a left hander who pitches for the same team as Giolito.

Albert Almora – Law moved him from 27th to 8th, and says he’s one of the best defensive center fielders to come out of the high school ranks. He also notes that he has a feel for hitting, with the potential to hit for power. BA moved him from 14th to 12th.

If the draft went according to the rankings, here is who the Pirates would end up with for their first two picks.

1st Round (8th overall) – Carlos Correa (BA), Albert Almora (Law)

1st Round Comp (45th overall) – Branden Kline (BA), Kenny Diekroeger (Law)

Kline is a right-handed pitcher for UVA who moved from the bullpen to the rotation this year. Diekroeger is a second baseman who can hit for some power.

Notes From the Past Week

-Deven Marrero combined to go 2-for-7 with a walk and a run in two games this week against New Mexico.

-Trey Williams went 1-for-2 on Wednesday with a home run, a double, and three walks.

-Mike Zunino went 2-for-5 with a double and a home run against Florida State on Tuesday.

The schedule for the top draft prospects this weekend:


6:00 PM EST – Georgia Southern (Chris Beck) vs Appalachian State

6:00 PM EST – San Francisco (Kyle Zimmer) at Loyola Marymount

6:00 PM EST – Florida (Mike Zunino) at Tennessee

8:00 PM EST – LSU (Kevin Gausman) vs Alabama

8:30 PM EST – Stanford (Mark Appel) vs Oregon

9:30 PM EST – Arizona State (Deven Marrero) vs USC


3:00 PM EST – Florida (Zunino) at Tennessee

9:30 PM EST – Arizona State (Marrero) vs USC


2:00 PM EST – Florida (Zunino) at Tennessee

3:30 PM EST – Arizona State (Marrero) vs USC

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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Nice to see Duke&#8 217;s Marcus Stroman move into Pirate territory.  He&#8 217;s short but has a quality arm.  I&#8 217;d like to see him go at #8 .


 The Pirates prefer tall pitchers….


When was the last time any 5’9″ RHP went in the first round?  No teams prefer 5’9″ RHPs.

Of course it makes sense b/c if you can’t see over the lineman you can’t pitch for the Pirates 🙂


I’d be quite happy if Correa remained on the board till the eighth pick. But I suspect that that won’t happen. Despite the lack of publicly available information about Correa, his perceived value climbs as time passes. BA and Law talk to scouts, so their views on Correa reflect that fact and their love for Correa continues to grow. Sickles is also a big fan. Given the attrition from the preseason the Top-10 players and given a more favorable view of Correa’s value, a team picking before the Pirates may take him.

Gavin Cecchini

may be a worthy substitute if the Pirates feel compelled to pick a shortstop.


I feel like based on our approach the last couple of seasons we need to change direction this year.  In my opinion we need to go after as many prolific college hitters as possible.  These guys should be able to move through the system faster and we won’t run into issues having to pay over slot and get penalized.  


franchises rarely EVER draft based on need. because thats an awful way to take things into consideration when trying to upgrade your system. you pretty much ALWAYS draft the best player available on your draft board. take for instance the penguins in the 2011 NHL Draft. they took two defensemen with their 1st rd (Joe Morrow) and 2nd rd (Scott Harrington) picks when their system was already loaded with D men as it is. at the time of their picks, both of them were the best players available at that position the Penguins were at, so Shero took them


 a la Dave Littlefield and Bryan Bullington

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