With their 18th round pick in the 2022 MLB draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected right-handed pitcher Elijah Birdsong out of Pacific.
Birdsong stands 6’2″, 200 pounds and he turns 23 in October. He pitched three years at Pacific with a high ERA each season, and he missed the 2021 season due to Tommy John surgery. He had a 7.20 ERA in 20 innings as a freshman. His 2020 season, shortened due to the pandemic, saw him give up five runs in seven innings. This year he had a 5.68 ERA in 44.1 innings over nine starts and two relief appearances, finishing with a 1.38 WHIP and a 37:19 SO/BB ratio. His fastball was sitting 90-93 MPH as a starter this season. He rated well coming out of high school and has added about 4-5 MPH during his college career.
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.
Well you certainly can’t accuse them of scouting the stats. Has me wondering what they think they see in guys like Birdsong, Diamond, Massey and Walsh.
One odd inconsistency between Baseball Reference and Pacific’s website–Pacific credits him with 18 more K’s in the same number of innings:
Named to the Perfect Game All-WCC team prior to the season. Opening Day starter for the Tigers. Appeared in 11 games with nine starts. Was third on the in innings pitched with 44.1. Was third on the team in strikeouts with 55.
Love the name.
So much for drafting HS players on Day 3 and using the savings from Day 2 to try to sign 1-2 of them….two picks left BC…..did you fall asleep at the wheel?
Or…hear me out…the day 2 savings (which were likely minimal) are already spent on Kennedy and Harrington, who was a draft eligible sophomore
I’m starting to think that that’s the case unless they grab someone in the last round.