There are about five weeks left before the first day of the 2022 MLB draft, meaning that we still have plenty of time to look at top draft options for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who select fourth overall. A lot could change between now and then, so the plan is to look at all of the players who rank around where the Pirates select.
In April, we started our Draft Prospect Watch articles, where we look at a new player each Sunday. Our first choice was Druw Jones. The next Sunday we looked at Elijah Green. That was followed by Jackson Holliday, after he moved up some draft charts. In the fourth installment, we went with Termarr Johnson, who has been on the radar all season for the fourth overall pick. The next week was a name that has been linked to the Pirates recently, Cam Collier, who is the son of a former Pirates player. Three weeks ago we looked at Brooks Lee, who has been tied to the Pirates numerous times this year, including all of the most recent mock drafts. Our first pitcher was two weeks ago when we checked out prep right-hander Brock Porter. That was followed by Cole Young, a prep shortstop from North Allegheny HS.
I wasn’t going to include Georgia Tech catcher Kevin Parada here because the Pirates just took a catcher first overall last year, plus they stocked up on catching prospects in trades. You never draft for need in baseball, but it can be used as a tiebreaker if you can’t choose between multiple players. In this case, it’s really not about drafting a second catcher. It’s more about drafting a top college bat who happens to be a catcher. Parada is a bat with huge big league upside and multiple sources say that he is on the radar of the Pirates. He’s 6’1″, about 200 pounds, a right-handed bat, who turns 21 in August.
According to Baseball America, Parada rated as a 65 grade hitter, with 60 grade power. His other three tools are all considered to be just below average. A catcher with 45 defense and a 45 arm, might not stick at catcher, but a 65 grade hitter with 60 grade power is going to have value wherever they put him in the field. I’ll note that BA indicates that he has a desire to stay behind the plate in pro ball, and his defensive game has improved. Parada has been on the prospect radar for quite some time, as he was rated as BA’s 48th best prospect coming out of high school. He went undrafted, but that was only due to his bonus demands and commitment to Georgia Tech. He’s a draft-eligible sophomore, but that extra eligibility won’t matter if he’s getting drafted fourth overall. Parada has improved his stock this year by getting stronger, which has led to more power, while at the same time he cut down on his strikeout rate.
MLB Pipeline has Parada rated as the sixth best prospect in this draft class. They rate his tools slightly different than BA. Instead of a 65 bat, they have him at 60. Running is 45 for BA and 40 for Pipeline. Defense is 45 for BA and 50 for Pipeline. So nothing major, all half grades, but a 65/60 grade sounds better for a bat, while a 50 grade defense sounds better for someone who wants to stick at the position. Pipeline says that he doesn’t try to do too much at the plate, swinging with a line drive approach that uses the whole field. He consistently makes hard contact against all types of pitchers. They actually put projections on him, saying he could hit .280+ per season with 20+ homers each year.
Kiley McDaniel at ESPN also ranked Parada sixth in his latest update, moving him up ten spots from earlier rankings due to Parada tapping into more power. He doesn’t go as in depth, but he says that Parada may have to move to first base down the line. The offense is above average and he likes the track record of success at the plate.
Here are some videos of Parada. The first is live game action from Prospect Live. Notice the unusual stance from Parada, though he gets set in a better spot as the pitcher starts his motion.
Here is a video of all 26 of his homers this year. This is an impressive video when you see where he’s hitting them