New Mock Draft Has Pittsburgh Pirates Going For a College Bat

D1 Baseball posted their first mock draft a few days ago and they have some insight as to where the Pittsburgh Pirates might go with the 12th overall pick in the draft on June 12th, which is exactly three weeks away. D1 notes that the Pirates have been busy scouting college bats, with a couple in particular standing out. Their choice in the mock draft is Jake Burger, a third baseman from Missouri State. They note that the Pirates have been following him closely all spring, but also say that they would have a hard time passing up on Virginia outfielder Adam Haseley, who went tenth overall in their mock draft.

We talked about Haseley here after he went to the Pirates in a Baseball America mock draft about a month ago. That link has video on the toolsy outfielder, who has shown the ability to hit for average, with some power and speed. He plays center field and his arm is strong enough that he is also a starting pitcher, although he’s not considered a pitching prospect.

The new player here is Jake Burger, although he has been considered a mid-first round pick for awhile, he has just never lined up with the Pirates in any rankings or mock drafts. MLB Pipeline has the 21-year-old, 6’2″, 220 third baseman ranked 16th in this draft class. He rates at least average in all five tools, with 55 (on the 20-80 scouting scale) ratings for power and arm. Burger will likely stick at third base due to a reliable glove and strong arm, although he doesn’t have the best range.

Burger going to hit for average because he makes consistent contact and he has slugged 20 home runs this season in 52 games. There are some questions on his bat speed, as his homers seem to come more from strength than quickness. The belief is that he will hit for average, but there is a split as to whether he will have 20-25 home run a year power in the pros. He’s not the most graceful or mechanically sound player, but he gets the job done on both sides of the ball.

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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.

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Bobby L

Off topic a bit, but are there any updates on Seth Romero?


Burger has no plus tools…highest rating is 55 on a 20 to 80 scale. No thanks…we have a AA team stocked full of those types. We need high ceiling difference makers, not safe mediicre types.


Have you looked at the draft board? If they want a college power bat, it’s the only one that remotely fits their draft position (albeit a reach at #12 ). Otherwise they either go prep (see you in 5 years) or go for other tools.

Bill Harvey

Finally, I have been on this guy for a month now. He has some flaws, but is the safest power bat in the draft. Let’s get this done.

Burger is not Will Craig. Craig was never going to stick at third, Burger will. His instincts at the position make up for his “lack of athleticism.” Burger’s swing is a bit hitchy, but he has never had trouble hitting.

Scott K

My question would be, what is the level of competition he’s facing at Missouri State? Hitchy swing and slow bat speed may work at that level, but no way it translates to MLB success.

Please take an OF w tools over this guy.

joe s

Pirates have not done well with college bats at number 1. Newman is not hitting and Craig is at best a singles hitter with a big body. Now once again the Pirates are expected to take a half player. Might be able to hit but no range and a big stiff in the field. My god, please try to get athletic with the number one pick. International hitting signings are a disgrace. I early said they should reach for a 3b or catcher but is this the guy? If they take him, I surely hope so.

IC Bob

If you are going to crack on Newman then you have to applaud the drafting of Kramer (a college bat from the same draft class). I would say the bucs have really struggled with drafting or developing power hitters and I think thats more of a mistake in thinking they made early on then actually lack of execution.


Craig is playing in a league notorious for sapping over the fence power. People need to relax about a guy who hasn’t been in professional ball for even a year before rushing to judgments on him


Fair, guilty as charged. I do hope he works out, just bummed so far on the lack of power.

mitch t

What he said. Same for Newman: y’all understand he was hit TWICE in the face this year.


Agree on Craig, but I wouldn’t bucket Newman into your statement. Newman was drafted for his balanced value of hitting for average, decent running tool, and ability to stick at SS. Not the same as Craig or (apparently) Burger. A player with the projection of sticking at short gets his offense judged on a different scale than a corner infield hitter.


Sounds like a better version of Will Craig, ie, someone who can actually stick at 3b AND hit for average (with some pop)?

Daniel D

Hmm, sounds more like a similar version of Will Craig. He doesn’t have great range and “isn’t the most graceful or mechanically sound player.” Scouting reports will say he can stick at third for now (before the draft), but after he’s drafted we’ll hear that he needs to move to first to reach the big leagues. One Will Craig is enough.


DD….you talked me into not wanting him drafted. 🙂


Doesn’t seem he’s projected to have a ton of upside but 3b seems to be a huge need in the near future.


If he projects as a decent defender with some nice pop to hit 20 and drive in say 75 to 80. I take it. In fact the Bucs really need a little more balance in the farm system and this year get some bats.

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