Draft Prospect Watch: Two Top College Pitchers from the Same School

The 2020 MLB draft will be held on June 10-11, and it will consist of five rounds. Teams will also be able to sign non-drafted players for a maximum $20,000 bonus.

The Pittsburgh Pirates own the seventh overall pick in this draft, as well as the 31st and 44th overall picks. Their draft bonus pool for five rounds was announced last month (that link has been updated since the Red Sox lost their second round draft pick). Each Saturday, we have been taking an in depth look at draft prospects who could be a good fit for that seventh overall pick, as well as players who fits better with those two lower picks. We have run out of guys who have been mentioned near the seventh pick, but we still have plenty of options for the two lower picks. In case you missed it, here’s our draft preview article.

We have posted 20 Draft Prospect Watch articles so far, which are all linked here:

Nick Gonzales and Jordan Westburg

Asa Lacy, JT Ginn and Emerson Hancock

Jordan Walker and Zac Veen

Garrett Mitchell and Freddy Zamora

Austin Wells and Patrick Bailey

Tyler Soderstrom and Drew Romo

Jared Kelley and Alex Santos

Max Meyer and CJ Van Eyk

Heston Kjerstad and Daniel Cabrera

Carson Tucker

Robert Hassell and Pete Crow-Armstrong

Cade Cavalli and Bryce Jarvis

Mick Abel and Reid Detmers

Carson Montgomery and Tanner Witt

Nick Bitsko and Ed Howard

Austin Hendrick and Garrett Crochet

Dillon Dingler and Casey Martin

Cole Wilcox and Clayton Beeter

Tanner Burns and Bobby Miller

Justin Foscue and Aaron Sabato

Today we look at two of the top ranked players who haven’t been covered here yet. Both are strong possibilities for the 31st overall pick. At this point we are just trying to cover all of the bases here, so we are looking at the two highly rated players by Baseball America in their latest mock draft, who aren’t listed above. The top two left at this point just happen to be pitchers on the same college staff. Miami right-handed pitchers Slade Cecconi and Chris McMahon were rated 23rd and 25th on the May 27th update.

We start with the higher ranked Cecconi, who stands 6’4″, 220 and turns 21 years old at the end of this month. He’s a draft-eligible sophomore, who missed time during his senior year of high school, so there isn’t a huge track record here. Cecconi made four starts this year before play was halted. He had a 3.80 ERA in 21.1 innings, with a 30:7 SO/BB ratio and a .190 BAA.

Cecconi has two above average pitches, starting with a mid-90s fastball, to go along with a hard slider/cutter that gets excellent results. He also throws a curveball and a changeup, with both pitches being average offerings, though some scouts think both are better than average. Cecconi throws strikes, but MLB Pipeline says he lacks command.

The missed time over the last three seasons leaves scouts with some questions. He doesn’t always hold his velocity well and his 3rd/4th pitches are inconsistent, as is his slider at times. His command could also be better. Those are things that could improve as he continues to strengthen his workhorse frame and gets more experience on the mound. So there’s a chance that he ends up as a reliever, though the ceiling is much higher.

Here’s a video from February courtesy of Perfect Game Baseball

Here’s video of his eight-strikeout game earlier this year

Chris McMahon is a junior, who stands 6’2″, 205 pounds and turned 21 years old back in February. He made four starts before play was halted this year and dominated, posting a 1.05 ERA in 25.2 innings, with a 38:5 SO/BB ratio and a .207 BAA. As a sophomore last year, he had a 3.73 ERA in 60.1 innings, with a 67:23 SO/BB ratio and a .229 BAA.

McMahon has a strong track record, ranking 100th overall during the 2017 draft by MLB Pipeline. He was hitting 95 MPH in high school and now holds his mid-90s velocity better, while getting up to 98 MPH with some movement. His second best pitch is a plus changeup that he can use against both lefties and righties in any situation/count.

He also throws a slider that is called average by some, and a plus pitch by others. The pitch can get inconsistent, though it’s an effective offering when it’s on. He’s an athletic player, with command of his pitches and an easy, repeatable delivery. McMahon should have no issue remaining in the starting role in the pros and his three-pitch mix, command and ability to hold his stuff late, gives him a high upside.

Here’s video from Perfect Game Baseball

Here’s a 12-strikeout game from February

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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