First Look at Some of the Pirates’ Top Draft Picks

With the 2015 amateur draft in the books, we take a look at some highlights of the top picks for the Pittsburgh Pirates. We have videos from #19 overall pick Kevin Newman, #32 pick Ke’Bryan Hayes, second round pick Kevin Kramer, seventh rounder Mitchell Tolman and ninth round pick Bret Helton. You can find out more on each of these players in our draft pick tracker, which has player pages for all 41 picks.

This first video is a compilation of highlights put together by Arizona Baseball. In it, you will see Kevin Newman in the field, at the plate and on the bases. He makes a really nice play up the middle around the 1:45 mark.

Here is video of Ke’Bryan Hayes. You’ll see during the fielding drills that he is at shortstop, but he will be playing third base. This video is from Prospect Pipeline.

Kevin Kramer, the Pirates’ second round pick, is shown below in this lengthy video from Moore Baseball. It includes fielding drills and batting practice.

Another video from Moore Baseball, this one for third baseman Mitchell Tolman, who was taken in the seventh round. This has pre-game video and game footage.

This video is a good one of ninth round pick Bret Helton. He just looks like a good pitcher, physically looks like someone that can give you innings, plus his demeanor, the way he attacks hitters and how he goes about his business on the mound all look good. He has already agreed to sign.

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I like “gamer” rather than “toolsy”. They win more games for you.


John: Thanks for the video – very impressive bat speed from Hayes. Newman looks good and seems to be a very heady ballplayer. His past 2 years in the Cape Cod League are an indication that he is a solid contact hitter for high average and if he can stick at SS, the Pirates have a very nice prospect.

Also agree with NMR regarding some Jacob Taylor video.


Helton’s signing is official, it appears.


Really looking forward to seeing video of Jacob Taylor.


Great story on Newman at

Scott H

Very nice.

It’s a little discouraging that nearly all of the highlights from our first round pick were singles, runs scored or defensive plays (no real “impact” or exciting moments), but at least he does the little things well.

And if I recall correctly, Cole Tucker’s video featured the same type of highlights last year.


Also, a steal of home is a pretty exciting impact play. And it wasn’t his only one, either. He walked the Wildcats off against Rice with one, too.–video-024146846.html


A lot of scouting videos are like that. One of Kris Bryant’s included a strikeout and a popup. Since there just aren’t as many cameras around the college and high school game, footage is sparse.

I saw Newman a lot over the past three years. Line-drive swing, great approach, and perfectly willing (and able with excellent bat control) to take the hits the infield gives him.

And if he has any raw power, gap or otherwise, you wouldn’t have seen it at Arizona. Since they play half their games in Hi Corbett, which is huge and suppresses power, the entire Arizona lineup tend to have line-drive approaches. Even Refsnyder, who’s got some appreciable pop, and should debut this year for the Yankees, wasn’t a huge home run hitter in college just because the ballpark dictates that.

Although, Bobby Dalbec was able to hit a lot of home runs, even in that huge ball park, so keep that kid on your draft radars.


Nice tidbit about the home park.

Power will certainly limit his ceiling; not going to get a 5-win player here. But there are folks that rave about this kid’s hit tool, and at the level of contact he posted in college you could very reasonably expect a .280/.350/.390 big league hitter. Add in solid defense with value added on the bases and you’ve easily got a 2-3 win player in this environment. There were only 12 shortstops in all of baseball to post 2 wins last year; 10 the year before. A starting shortstop in the top third of the league is absolutely a win for any first round draft pick, let alone one in the back half.

Put another way, Neil Walker has averaged 2.7 WAR/600 PA. That’s absolutely a reasonable ceiling for Newman, with a high floor as well.


That’s what I see him being, too. He could have a couple really great years and post upwards of 4 or 5 WAR, but those would be isolated, I suspect, like Freddy Sanchez’s batting title season. I think he’ll draw more walks, too, as a pro, since Andy Lopez always got his hitters to attack early in the count and put the ball in play. With his eye and contact skill, I could see Newman having success in deeper counts, too, draw more walks without too big an uptick in strikeouts, and maybe wait a bit more on pitches he can drive rather than just pitches he can handle to hit for extra bases more often.


Actually, Andy Lopez mentioned exactly that approach in his interview concerning Newman.

This may or may not be the article you were talking about, rburgh.


It was. I just couldn’t post that link from my phone.


All the hitters seem to have really short, direct paths for their hands to the ball. I could see them working with Hayes and Kramer on what their lower bodies are doing, but mechanically, the hitters look sound already, and can probably just focus on their approaches, adjusting to new/better competition, and maybe adding a bit of power.

I don’t remember Tolman at third from the Oregon at Arizona series this year. Did he play a position other than third? His batting looks familiar, but a different guy was manning third at the two games I went to.

Also, on Newman, this video illustrates really well the sort of hitter he is. Smart, good contact skill, and willing to take what the defense gives him. The ball he punched through the hole on the right side while the first baseman was holding the runner, you could see in his swing that all he wanted to do was put it on the ground that way and take the free hit. If he can translate that kind of skill against better competition in the pros, he’ll be a heck of a hitter for average.

And I’m also pretty sure that steal of home at the end of the video was a walk-off, just for added drama.

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