With all of the big mock drafts and rankings now in right before the draft starts, here is the general feeling that we are getting about the draft…we don’t know. The type of players the Pittsburgh Pirates are linked to cover everything, from hurt college pitchers, college pitchers that have fallen for one reason or another, college bats at the corner infield positions, high upside, but raw prep outfielders, and some prep arms.
There are the names that we are hearing most in the final days.
The players that have been talked about as “falling to the Pirates” has everything covered. We heard San Francisco outfielder Bradley Zimmer’s name this week, a polished five tool center fielder, who would obviously help sooner than later. We heard Jacob Gatewood, a player who ends up either as a power hitting shortstop in the majors, or a “remember when the Pirates drafted that third baseman that struck out all the time, what happened to him?” pick.
We have seen Kyle Freeland and Tyler Beede both fall, two college pitchers that have been named in the top ten and fallen to the Pirates in mock drafts this week. We heard UNLV’s Erick Fedde could be the choice and even yesterday, East Carolina’s Jeff Hoffman was ranked as the 25th best player in the draft. Both needed Tommy John surgery and both will be out until mid-season in 2015, but they offer huge upside for a team willing to gamble. Brandon Finnegan from TCU went to the Pirates yesterday in a mock draft, which also happened early in the year. He has been in the teens all season as far as rankings.
Just today, the name Grant Holmes was mentioned twice for the Pirate, something that hasn’t happened since February before he even threw a pitch. Sean Reid-Foley went after the Pirates in at least one mock draft and Touki Toussaint was even mentioned today as a player that won’t get past the Pirates pick. Those are three names that have constantly been mentioned higher all year, all huge potential, with a lot to like already. Late last month, pitcher Luis Ortiz dropped to the Pirates in a couple mock drafts. He had been dealing with a forearm injury this season, but seems to have returned to form, which was top 10-15 early on. A high school pitcher that didn’t fall, but has been mentioned for the Pirates often since April is Spencer Adams. Another high upside arm, but unlike the others, his stock has gone up as the season progressed.
Then we have the players like Indiana’s Kyle Schwarber, Wichita State’s Casey Gillaspie and Stanford’s Alex Blandino all being mentioned as the Pirates pick. The latter is a solid bat and glove at third baseman, while the other two offer a power bat at first base. A.J. Reed from Kentucky is another first baseman(plus a darn good pitcher too) that gets mentioned as a first round pick from time to time, so he could be picked. Even Virginia outfielder Derek Fisher has been around the Pirates range all year, except for a brief time when people dropped him following hamate surgery. He doesn’t have the upside of Zimmer in the outfield, but he is still a solid pick at #24.
Still not done though with the players mentioned for the Pirates recently. There is Monte Harrison, who might just end up being the best player in this draft, a five tool outfielder that can do everything. He is a three sport star, who should take off in baseball once he concentrates on the one sport. He has gone to the Pirates in multiple mock drafts recently.
You could also see them taking prep 1B/OF Braxton Davidson. He has huge upside with the bat from the left side and supposedly the Pirates really like him. How about Ti’Quan Forbes, a high school shortstop that projects by many to stay at the position, get on base at a decent clip and steal you some bases. Wouldn’t that look nice at the top of the order in a few years? He has never been mentioned going to the Pirates, but he has been in the 25-30 range a lot.
You have 14 names right there that have gone to the Pirates in mock drafts/ranking, plus a few other names that get mentioned in their range. If you check this post later and don’t see the Pirates pick mentioned, don’t be totally surprised, it seems like anything can happen with this year’s first round pick. You might even see one of them end up as the Pirates pick in the 39th spot. Whoever they end up taking though, we will have them covered here.
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.