Jim Callis at MLB Pipeline and Baseball America each put out mock drafts on Friday morning. The draft is now just four days away and teams will be spending their weekend in their draft war rooms putting together their big board.
We start with MLB Pipeline where Callis has the Pittsburgh Pirates taking Texas prep right-hander Shane Baz with the 12th overall pick. If you don’t know the name, you haven’t been following our draft coverage, because he has been mentioned a lot in this spot. He has good size, controls five pitches, with a plus fastball that has touched 100 MPH this spring and a slider that most consider one of the best in the draft.
Baz would be a terrific pick at 12th overall, but some think he is really committed to TCU. I’d have to imagine that if the Pirates take him, it’s because they know they can sign him. Most teams talk to the players before taking them, although we heard last year that 41st overall pick Nick Lodolo was one of the rare ones who the team didn’t talk to first and he ended up going to TCU, choosing school over a $1.75 M bonus. Baz would be giving up a lot more money to go to school.
Callis also mentions that J.B. Bukauskas is a possibility, as he stock has fallen due to a poor finish to his college season. It was just one start and the velocity/plus slider were still there, but there were a lot of scouts in attendance and it was against Davidson, which isn’t the best baseball team this season. When Bukauskas pitches well, teams forget that he has a small frame with effort in his delivery, but when a game like this pops up, then those become legit concerns. He has been a top ten draft pick almost this entire season.
Baseball America has the Pirates taking Nick Pratto with their first round pick. His name has been mentioned once to them in a mock draft already and he’s been rated in the top 20 all year. Pratto is a high school lefty bat, who plays first base. He has the ability to hit for average and power, he plays solid defense as well, but he’s limited to first base and possibly a corner outfield spot due to below average speed. We have heard their desire to add a college bat with the first pick, but some believe Pratto could end up being better than any of those players who have come up as possibilities for the Pirates.
BA has an interesting note for the 42nd overall pick of the Pirates, possibly the 50th overall pick. They say that the Pirates have been heavily linked to 6’4″, right-handed prep pitcher Michael Mercado, who has a commitment to Stanford. His name hasn’t come up yet here because he is more of a second round pick, but this gives you something to follow as the draft goes along. Mercado has moved up in the rankings due to a strong spring. He throws 88-92 MPH now, but he’s listed at 160 pounds, so there is a ton of projection left in his frame. MLB Pipeline rates his curve and control as above average and he already has a decent changeup. This pick would have Pirates written all over it.