Today we look at news and notes around the draft, including a local kid making a strong impression. The Pittsburgh Pirates own the 22nd and 41st picks this year. The draft begins on June 9th and lasts three days, with the first two rounds selected on day one. You can view our draft preview here, which covers many of the names who fall in the Pirates’ range. It also focuses in on players who fit the recent draft strategy of the Pirates.
In Baseball America’s first mock draft last week, they had Plum HS 1B/OF/RHP Alex Kirilloff going to the Pirates. For those that don’t know, Plum HS is in Pittsburgh. Kirilloff has had a nice April so far, going 4-for-4 with four walks during a doubleheader last Friday, throwing a shutout during one of the games. Our own David Hague saw him hit two doubles on Wednesday, one off the base of the wall in left field, then other pulled down the line in right field. He also drew a walk and then stole two bases. Kirilloff is considered a position player for most due to his power(link above has more details), and it showed on the mound on Wednesday. He wasn’t sharp early, giving up two walks and two doubles in the first, a run in the second, and his command looked shaky at times throughout the outing.
As we mentioned over the weekend, Oklahoma’s Alec Hansen was moved to the bullpen due to poor results. He was someone who was picked as a possible first overall pick if he could show just a little bit of improvements with his command. Hansen’s fastball/slider combo gives him two plus pitches when he is on, but those outings have been few and far between. He didn’t get into any games over the weekend last week, instead making his first relief appearance during a mid-week game. Hansen went one shutout inning, allowing a hit and a walk, with one strikeout. I would say that if he ends up dropping too far in the draft, he’s likely to go back to school for his senior year to try to rebuild that top of the first round status he had earlier.
California starter Daulton Jefferies won’t make his start this weekend due to a calf strain. It’s not a serious injury, but it cost him last weekend’s start as well. Jefferies hasn’t gone to the Pirates in any mock drafts yet, but he has been ranked as a late first round pick by many people. He was impressive in his first six starts, with a 1.29 ERA over 42 innings, with six walks, 47 strikeouts, and a .208 BAA. Jefferies can hit 95 MPH with his fastball, and has a slider/change combo that rank as average pitches, with above average command. His downside(before the injury) is the size, at 6’0″, 180 pounds, which doesn’t give him much projection to add stamina or velocity.
Nebraska’s Ryan Boldt has really turned it on lately, finally showing the potential that scouts saw for years. Through 29 games, he is hitting .331/.385/.504, with four homers and 14 stolen bases. He’s intriguing, because he’s a center fielder, who can hit at the top of the order, but also provides a little power. Boldt did a great job of getting on base last year as a sophomore, but he had just nine stolen bases and ten extra-base hits in 55 games. He has eclipsed both of those totals this year in nearly half the games. Boldt could be a fit for the Pirates with their first pick if he lasts that long.
News and Notes
**Jim Callis posted the final draft bonus pool numbers this week and the Pirates have a $7,007,900 pool from their top ten picks. We heard back in February that the Pirates had just under $7M to spend on draft picks and that number went up slightly because they moved from the 24th overall pick at the time, up to the 22nd pick.
**Scout.com has a nice article on Virginia’s Matt Thaiss, who is hitting .372/.462/.562 in 31 games, with five homers, 18 walks and just three strikeouts in 143 plate appearances. The article talks about his ability to put the ball in play, with a swing that doesn’t project to have much power potential.
** D1 Baseball posted their mid-season update of the top 100 college prospects this year(subscription required). Since it’s only college players, you want to focus in on the players in the 10-20 range for the Pirates’ two early picks. The aforementioned Daulton Jefferies is ranked 10th, though this came out before the news that he would miss another start. Georgia’s Robert Tyler is 12th, and that’s a name that has been connected to the Pirates twice already. Matt Thaiss is 17th. Ryan Boldt is 24th, which seems low considering his recent run. Alec Hansen dropped all the way down to #72, but with a high-90’s fastball and a “devastating” slider coming from a 6’7″, 235 pound frame, he’s still got the potential to go much higher if he can get on track. In our next article, we will look at some of the players we haven’t mentioned, who are in the 10-25 range of these rankings.