The regular season is winding down in college baseball and it has wrapped up for many high school players. That means it is mock draft season, as we are less than three weeks away from the draft, which starts on June 5th. The Pittsburgh Pirates will select 24th that day and three mock drafts(linked below) from three major sources, picked three different players for the Pirates. We have mentioned all draft season long that you won’t have a good idea of who the Pirates could take until about five minutes before they make their pick, but these mock drafts give you a sense of the type of talent that will be available.
On Thursday, Keith Law posted his first mock draft and picked Tyler Beede for the Pirates. The right-hander from Vanderbilt went up against a strong South Carolina team on Thursday and had a so-so performance. He went 8.1 innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits, four walks and one hit batter. He threw 122 pitches. Beede had six strikeouts. The big hit he allowed was a home run to third baseman Joey Pankake, who is a likely 2nd-3rd round pick. Pankake went 2-for-5 and drove in two runs. The homer was his fifth of the season. South Carolina also has another potential 2nd-3rd round pick in catcher Grayson Greiner, who went 0-for-3 with two walks.
Jonathan Mayo posted his first mock draft and he had Wichita State first baseman Casey Gillaspie going to the Pirates. This is a familiar name in the 24th spot. Gillaspie has gone to the Pirates in a couple previous mock drafts/rankings. On Thursday against Illinois State, Gillaspie went 1-for-1 with three walks. On Friday night, he went 1-for-2 with two walks in his team’s 2-1 victory.
Indiana lost 2-1 to Minnesota on Thursday and both of their big bats were quiet. Catcher Kyle Schwarber was 0-for-2 with two walks, while first baseman Sam Travis was 0-for-4 on the night. Travis is a potential second round target for the Pirates, while Schwarber was the pick for the Pirates in Baseball America’s first mock draft. The Saturday night game wasn’t any better for the two Indiana sluggers. Travis went 0-for-4 again, while Schwarber had a single in five trips to the plate.
If you missed it from Friday afternoon, Baseball America posted their second mock draft and had prep outfielder Monte Harrison going to the Pirates. Harrison is a very athletic player, who also excels at basketball and football. He is a potential five tool player with plus rankings in speed, arm and power.
Matt Imhof from Cal Poly was part of our third draft preview, which was posted this week. He took on Cal State Northridge on Friday night and went seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks, with four strikeouts. Imhof is usually mentioned just below the Pirates pick in the 25-35 range, so a game like this won’t help his case to go higher.
Right-hander Luke Weaver from Florida State has been around the Pirates range all season, always rated within a handful of spots from that 24th pick. He finished his regular season strong on Thursday, throwing seven shutout innings over Duke. Weaver threw 91 pitches on the night, striking out four, while giving up five hits and one walk. He was part of our second draft preview.
In his final regular season start, Sean Newcomb had a strong outing against Stony Brook. He went seven innings, giving up one run on six hits and a walk. Newcomb used 108 pitches in the game and struck out eight batters. He was part of our first draft preview, although it looks like he has pitched himself into the 10-15 range of the first round at this point.
Brandon Finnegan from TCU may be pitching himself into the Pirates range, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. He got injured during a start three weeks ago and missed his next game. When he returned last week, Finnegan was on a limited pitch count and wasn’t at his best. This week against Baylor, he was really off his game. In 3.1 innings, he gave up six runs(five earned) on five hits, a walk and he struck out three batters. Questions about the shoulder soreness that kept him out, could lead him to slide from the top ten, where he was pre-injury.
Kyle Freeland from Evansville has been rated 24th overall twice within the last month. Once recently by Keith Law, and then a couple weeks earlier, Chris Crawford had him there. He doesn’t seem like a possible selection for the Pirates, because most people rank him much higher. Freeland helped his case on Thursday against Missouri State, throwing seven shutout innings. He gave up two hits, walked two and struck out 11 batters.
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.