KYLE WATSON, FIRST BASEMAN
|Born: January 14, 1996
Height: 6′ 3″
Drafted: 37th Round, 1108th Overall, 2017
How Acquired: Draft
College: University of Mississippi
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Watson didn’t hit a great deal in his three-year collegiate career, combining for a 221/334/316 line in 294 at-bats, with four homers. He played regularly only as a freshman and seems to have been a backup after that. His junior season in 2017 was actually his worst, as he posted just a 173/273/267 line. He stole 22 bases in 27 attempts, but most of that came in his freshman year, when he went 13-for-16. The Pirates announced him as a shortstop, but he spent more time in the outfield at Mississippi and was listed as an infielder/outfielder on the roster. He also seems pretty big for shortstop. He was an infielder before going to college. His best tool seems to be speed.
The Pirates played Watson semi-regularly at Bristol. In fact, he got roughly the same playing time as much earlier draft picks like Ben Bengtson and Nick Valaika. He spent two-thirds of his time at short and the rest at first. He even batted cleanup a few times. At the plate, he closely duplicated his college career line, with an extremely high K rate. He had major problems defensively at short, with a horrific fielding percentage of .846.
Watson opened the season with West Virginia and played semi-regularly there. He played mostly at first, with a little time at second and third. In fact, after Mason Martin got demoted, Watson was the primary first baseman for quite a while. In mid-August, the Pirates demoted Watson to Morgantown and brought Luke Mangieri up to play first. On the season, Watson showed a little power and a willingness to draw walks, but he continued to have massive problems making contact.
Watson is a bit of a puzzle. The Pirates may see him as an athletic guy who has tools but little experience. He’s gotten more playing time and better assignments than he seems to merit, but the team may have changed its mind late in 2018.
|2019: Minor league contract
MiLB Debut: 2017
MiLB FA Eligible: 2023
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: 2020
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 14, 2017: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 37th round, 1108th overall pick; signed on June 23.|