Baseball America posted their draft report card for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday morning. They grade the players in multiple categories, find the best in multiple pitching and hitting strengths.
Will Craig was named the best pure hitter, best power hitter, best pro debut and closest to the majors. Craig was taken 22nd overall and hit .280/.412/.362 in 218 at-bats, with a 41:37 BB/SO ratio. He finished second in the NYPL in OBP, and ninth in OPS.
Best defensive player is shortstop Stephen Alemais, who was named on Monday as one of the best defensive players in the entire draft class.
Fastest runner is Garrett Brown, a raw outfielder, who was taken in the 23rd round. He’s one of the fastest players in the organization now. Brown was slightly old for the draft class and didn’t hit much at Bristol, so he is a long shot to turn into a legit prospect at this point. He is very athletic and the speed is a legit plus tool (some say plus-plus), but he played football in college up until his senior season. That gives you hope that there is a lot of room for growth with more baseball experience. Brown was also named the best athlete and his football career gives him the most intriguing background.
Best fastball had numerous players mentioned, including Will Craig, who was a closer in college. Blake Cederlind, Max Kranick and Braeden Ogle all got some recognition. They didn’t mention 13th round pick John Pomeroy, who hit 98 MPH during the instructional league. I wouldn’t rate him as the best fastball though due to command issues. Pomeroy just throws the hardest of the group.
The best secondary pitch section has a couple errors. Braeden Ogle was mentioned as having an average curveball, but he throws a slider. Cam Vieaux was mentioned for his changeup, though Vieaux’s second best pitch is his slider, something he mentioned to us as well. Travis MacGregor got mentioned for his changeup and one of the GCL catchers, who caught all three of the young pitchers, agreed with MacGregor having the best change. He also mentioned that Max Kranick had the best breaking ball (curve) of the group.
Speaking of Kranick, he got a mention after Will Craig in the best pro debut department. He was also named the best late round pick and that is an easy choice. He was rated as a possible 2/3 round pick coming into the draft and dropped due to bonus demands. He eventually ended up signing for $300,000, which we mentioned as a steal.
As mentioned on Monday (see Alemais link above), Nick Lodolo was the one that got away during the draft. The Pirates signed every other pick in the top 13 rounds, so it was a fairly simple choice. Hagen Owenby (14th round) wasn’t mentioned, but he is a catcher with plus power, who put on a crazy home run display in a HR derby after being drafted. Neither of them were rated high, but Michael Danielak (28th round) and Craig Dedelow (34th round) are literally the players who got away, because both agreed to sign, then decided days later to return to college instead. Both were on the travel roster for Bristol, so it was a surprise that neither ended up signing.
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.