Pirates Draft RHP Mitch Keller in the Second Round

The Pittsburgh Pirates have drafted right-handed pitcher Mitch Keller from Xavier High School in the second round with the 64th overall pick. Unlike the previous two picks, Keller was ranked close to this pick. He was ranked 76th by Baseball America, and the highest he was ranked was 63rd by Keith Law.

Keller is 6′ 3″, 195 pounds and has a projectable frame. He sits 90-94 MPH, touching 95. Baseball America says he has the potential for an average curveball and an average changeup. MLB.com says his curve could be above-average. He also has an easy delivery, which could help him add velocity if he adds muscle to his frame.

Law, who had him ranked the highest, says that he has the chance to be a quality number three starter, with the floor as a high-leverage reliever, assuming he can develop a changeup and throw strikes. His brother, Jon, plays in the Baltimore Orioles’ farm system. Mitch has a commitment to the University of North Carolina.

UPDATE 11:51 PM: Mitch Keller’s player page.

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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Wait just a minute. They drafted a 17-year old SS who was comfortably in the top 100 prospects in the country (including 18 year olds, 19 year olds, 20 year olds, and 21 year olds) and you don’t think they are drafting for upside? Take two deep breaths and think about that fact. They also drafted a couple of HS pitchers, which they seem to have a terrific track record in developing.

And you can never have too many catchers. Developing catchers is a very unpredictable process, it’s a good idea to have a lot of them that can hit.

Also JGA, thanks for the JaCoby reference. He was pretty much regarded as a shot in the dark, based on poor college production and lousy swing mechanics. Maybe (probably) the swing still is a work in progress, but he’s hitting pretty well against much better pitching that he saw in college.

Plus, if they can sign some of these guys below slot, they have room for some Eric Weiss types in the late rounds. The Pirates have probably invested 50,000 man-hours scouting and evaluating the draft pool, and very few of us have even spent 50.


The Pirates continue to go against the grain in a draft that raise serious, serious red-flags in my mind. The Pirates have left some serious high-end talent on the board for what appear more singable players. Not a fan of either of the first two picks, and this pick is harder to understand with Sam Travis still on the board. Very, very interesting strategy from the organization thus far.


I’ll admit the second pick to me was a little bit of a head scratcher but Joe reminds of a JaCoby Jones type that is very versatile and could fit in a lot of positions on the diamond. One thing to keep in mind is that these guys change positions very frequently in the lower levels so while tucker looks like a shortstop right now, who’s to say he couldn’t fill out and develop some 3B power. I just think it might be a little short sighted to label any of these picks with serious red flags.


Like I said,the next josh harrison.

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