On MLB.com, Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis released their final mock drafts on Thursday, just hours before the draft starts. They have the Pittsburgh Pirates going in totally different directions, though the picks are ones we have heard before.
Mayo has the Pirates going with Casey Gillaspie, a power-hitting first baseman from Wichita State. Gillaspie is a switch-hitter, who should hit for power and average in the majors, drawing comparisons at times to Mark Teixeira. He is someone that would likely move quick through the system, though not everyone is sold on his abilities being so high. Gillaspie has been ranked in the 20’s by some and others have him as a mid-second round talent.
Jim Callis has the Pirates going with a huge prep arm and it’s someone we heard for the first time this morning with Baseball America. He thinks Grant Holmes will drop to the Pirates and this probably backs up the BA pick, hinting that there are some late rumors that have Holmes dropping back. He would seem like a steal at #24 for the Pirates. Holmes is right-hander that can touch high 90’s, with a plus curve ball and a change-up that is now considered at least average. As show in the video here, he has some command issues, but also gets some great movement on his fastball. He has a strong 6’0″ frame, but his one downside is that he has little room for growth, which means less projection than most high school pitchers. Mayo believes Holmes will be gone at the #14 spot, which is closer to where he has been mentioned most of this season.
Gillaspie would probably be the more popular pick, as he will fill a need in the system, could move quick and is the safer pick. Holmes however, has the upside of a frontline starter and the Pirates seem to go more towards upside over safety with their picks.
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.