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Pirates Had Eyes On Shane Baz All Along

Shane Baz 2017 MLB Draft Shane Baz (Photo by Mike Janes)

For months, Shane Baz felt there was a pretty good chance the Pirates would select him with the 11th overall pick in the draft.

The righthander from Concordia Lutheran High in Tomball, Texas, turned out to be right.

“They talked to my father a lot, and we met with them before the season started,” Baz said. “So, it was in the back of my mind that the Pirates might be the team. I’m excited they did pick me. They have one of the best organizations in baseball, especially when it comes to developing pitchers.”

Baz is the first high school pitcher selected in the first round by the Pirates since Jameson Taillon in 2010 with the second pick.

Coincidentally, Taillon returned to the active roster for the Pirates on draft night and pitched five scoreless innings to beat the Rockies, just over a month after having testicular cancer surgery.

The 18-year-old Baz went 6-2, 0.93 with 96 strikeouts this season while also batting .431. He played third base on days he didn’t pitch, but the Pirates clearly want the 6-foot-3 Baz to pitch.

His fastball reaches 98 mph and consistently sits in the low to mid-90s. He also developed a cutter with outstanding boring action during summer ball last year, though his four-seamer remains his out pitch.

Baz’s slider and curveball both flash plus, and he impresses with his ability to repeat his delivery on a consistent basis. Like most young pitchers with overpowering stuff, he has only a rudimentary changeup at this stage.

“We are very pleased to potentially add a quality young man and pitcher to our organization,” scouting director Joe DelliCarri said. “We have been impressed by Shane, his family and his pitch arsenal.”

A Texas Christian recruit, Baz graduated from the same high school as Pirates third base prospect Ke’Bryan Hayes. A 2015 first-rounder, Hayes is playing at high Class A Bradenton.

“It’s great to have someone I know already in the organization,” Baz said. “Almost as soon as I got picked, Ke’ reached out to let me know he would be there to answer any questions I might have.”

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