This is part four in our weekly draft preview leading up to the draft. We profile four players each week, focusing on a college pitcher, college hitter and prep pitcher, prep hitter, who have all been mentioned in the Pittsburgh Pirates range in the first round. The 2014 amateur draft starts on June 5th and the Pirates have the 24th overall selection. You can view the previous previews below.
Derek Fisher, OF, Virginia – Fisher missed over a month of this season due to a broken hamate. When he returned, he wasn’t experiencing the short-term lack of power that normally comes along with hamate surgery. Fisher hit enough to regain his early draft status, which had him in the Pirates range prior to his injury. He has a .289/.352/.421 slash line in 29 games this season, which is a small drop from his previous numbers as a Freshman and Sophomore. Fisher is a solid lefty bat with good size at 6’3″, 210 pounds. He hit well in college right from the start, but he obviously didn’t have the breakout season teams were hoping for after posting an .882 OPS as a Freshman. He has shown improvement in his contact, cutting down his strikeout rate each year. Fisher is an average runner that should hit for a decent average and some power in the majors. His defense/arm are both average at best, but most rate him below average so he is a corner outfielder. As a college player that showed well in Summer Leagues and hit all three years in college, he has a high floor and should move quick in the minors. Video courtesy of Baseball Prospectus.
Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt – I wasn’t going to include Beede in one of these previews, but Keith Law recently had him going to the Pirates in a mock draft, so he was a late addition. Beede has been rated much higher until recently, falling in the top ten for most of the season. His stuff is above average, but due to his control issues and inconsistent results, his stock has dropped. Vanderbilt has a team ERA of 2.53 when Beede isn’t on the mound and he has put up a 3.42 ERA in 84.1 innings. That’s not what you would expect from your Friday night starter. Beede can hit 97 MPH with his fastball and he has a plus change-up and solid curve ball. He has clean mechanics, so if he can improve his control, you could have a pitcher with three plus pitches and that would make him a top-end starter in the Majors. He came to Vanderbilt highly regarded, passing up on signing with the Blue Jays out of high school despite being taken in the first round. Beede has a big game against Ole Miss today in the SEC Tournament that could really affect his draft stock. Video courtesy of Big League Futures.
Monte Harrison, OF, Lee’s Summit West HS (MO) – Harrison might have the highest upside of any position player in the draft. He also plays football and basketball, so once he concentrates on one sport, you could see a jump in talent from someone who is already considered a five-tool player. His worst tool is the hit tool and even that is considered average right now. He has a plus-plus arm, with strong defense, terrific raw power and he can run. He is 6’2″, 195 pounds and bats from the right side. Harrison was recently chosen by Baseball America as their pick for the Pirates and early last month, his name came up as a player the Pirates could be looking at. While the Pirates are loaded with outfield prospects, Harrison would be a very hard player to pass up. Due to his lack of focus on one sport, he isn’t someone that will move fast through the system, but the payoff could be huge. Video courtesy of Baseball America.
Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Sandalwood HS (FL) – Reid-Foley made some waves early this season with huge strikeout numbers. He’s a 6’4″ righty that can hit 95 MPH with his fastball and he throws strikes. He has four pitches and they are all at least average, giving him the potential to be a solid Major League starter. As you can see in the video below courtesy of Perfect Game Baseball, when Reid-Foley is on, he is nearly unhittable. Monte Harrison had no shot and Jakson Reetz, who was mentioned as a back-end of the first round pick at one point this season, didn’t do any better. Reid-Foley has an athletic frame and consistent mechanics. When you combine them with his velocity, four-pitch mix and solid control, you have a high school pitcher with a higher floor than normal, making him one of the safer prep picks this year.
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.