Baseball America has been putting out a new mock draft every Friday and will continue to do so up until draft day, which is now just 17 days away. Yesterday, Jim Callis gave his best guess for the Pittsburgh Pirates, predicting they will go with Mike Nikorak, a high school right-hander from Pennsylvania. In BA’s newest mock draft, they have Nikorak going to the San Francisco Giants with the 18th pick and the Pirates going with prep lefty Kolby Allard.
Allard was one of our headline players for the prep pitcher draft preview back in February. He turns 18 in August, which makes him very young for this draft class. The Pirates mentioned last year that they look for players like that who do well in their draft class, because they could be a year behind other players in development, with more room to grow. So Allard fits that bill, except he already has some strong credentials coming into this year, with a low 90’s fastball, excellent control and a strong curve.
He has drawbacks, one being his size at 6’1″, 170 pounds, which isn’t big for a pitcher. The other one is that he has been out for two months with a back injury. He is working his way back to full strength, but he likely won’t pitch anywhere before the draft, so scouts have to go on old reports. He was a consensus top ten player in the preseason, rated as high as third by one source. That means that if he is available, the Pirates could get a real steal with their first pick in this draft.
The next three picks in BA’s new mock draft have all been mentioned with the Pirates recently, college outfielder and Pittsburgh native Ian Happ, prep SS/3B Cornelius Randolph and JUCO pitcher Phil Bickford.
BA goes through the compensation round, selecting Boston College 1B/OF Chris Shaw for the Pirates. He missed some time this year with a broken hamate, but was ranked around this area before that, sometimes a little lower. His season has been over since last Friday and he finished with a .319/.411/.611 slash line in 40 games. He had 11 homers, even with the injury costing him time, and hamate injuries sap power.
I personally don’t see this pick happening because he doesn’t fit the athletic player mold. He will end up at first base because he is big and very slow, so his bat has to carry him. He probably does have enough bat to make to the Majors and contribute as a first baseman, so he is intriguing because that is a tough position to fill through the draft. I could be wrong, I just think the Pirates will go with either a pitcher that has starter potential or a more athletic player that isn’t stuck playing the position that requires the most offense to be considered valuable.
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.