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Pittsburgh Pirates 2021 MLB Draft Report Card

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Best Pure Hitter: Catcher Henry Davis (1) was one of the most impressive hitters in the class with excellent bat-to-ball skills and solid power to the pull side. A career .337/.435/.565 hitter with Louisville, Davis continued to hit for average and power in his brief pro debut between rookie ball and High-A, with a .308/.387/.808 slash line and three home runs in just eight games.

Best Power Hitter: Davis’ track record of power production in college would make him a candidate for this category, but outfielder Lonnie White (2s) has the bat speed and natural strength to get to consistent plus raw power. White showcased that impressive raw power in his debut and posted exit velocities that placed him near the top of his age group.

Fastest Runner: Outfielder Luke Brown (9) and shortstop Mike Jarvis (7) are both small, speed players with 65 or better running ability. Brown stole 17 bags in 22 tries (77.3%) this spring with Louisville, while Jarvis went 16-for-20 (80%) with San Diego State before tacking on a perfect 11-for-11 in his pro debut.

Best Defensive Player: Catcher Wyatt Hendrie (7) has a plus arm behind the plate and has improved his footwork, blocking and receiving enough to get above-average defensive projections, while outfielder Braylon Bishop (14) probably should have never been available on day three considering his standout athleticism, bat speed, running ability and raw power. He has the toolset to be a good defensive center fielder with plenty of refinement and work.

Best Fastball: Pittsburgh targeted upside prep arms early in the draft after taking Davis with the first overall pick. Lefthander Anthony Solometo (2) has touched 96 mph and should have that pitch play up with his deception and unique delivery, while righthander Bubba Chandler (3) is a freak athlete with tremendous arm strength who has touched 97 mph and should continue to work closer to the velocity more consistently as he gets more fully focused pitching reps.

Best Secondary Pitch: RHP Owen Kellington (4) became the second-highest drafted Vermont prospect ever when the Pirates took him with the 102nd pick and the organization is excited about his sharp curveball that has above-average potential. It’s worth mentioning Chandler’s slider here as well, which has earned double-plus projections in the past.

Best Pro Debut: There were a number of impressive debuts for the Pirates this year, led by their top pick in the class, Davis. Second baseman and third baseman Jackson Glenn (5) hit .340/.454/.491 between rookie ball and Low-A; righthander Justin Meis (10) posted a 2.04 ERA over 17.2 innings with Low-A Bradenton; lefthander Tyler Samaniego (15) racked up 15 strikeouts to just two walks in seven innings of relief with Low-A Bradenton; and Jarvis in addition to being perfect on the bases made it to High-A Greensboro and put up a combined .333/.433/.596 slash line between there and the FCL.

Best Athlete: Pittsburgh took advantage of the impressive athleticism in the 2021 prep class, and each of Chandler, White and Bishop could make arguments for this category. Chandler was also a standout basketball player and quarterback committed to Clemson, White was a Penn State commit as a baseball player and wide receiver and Bishop was a talented high school quarterback and safety who also finished fourth in the state in the triple jump. Take your pick of a strong group here.

Most Intriguing Background: Clemson fans were anxious throughout the draft cycle about Chandler’s increasing draft stock and worried that he wouldn’t make it to their powerhouse football program, so he gets the nod here.

Closest To The Majors: Catchers are typically slow to work through the minors, but Davis could move quickly thanks to his impressive offensive ability and if his bat proves well ahead of his defensive development, he has the athleticism to move off the position if it becomes warranted—though his 70 grade arm is his best individual tool and would be a great asset to any team.

Best Late-Round Pick (Or NDFA): Bishop is the more obvious name to pick here considering his prep pedigree and all-around toolset. Samaniego might be a sleeper pick considering his electric debut.

The One Who Got Away: The Pirates had more draft capital than any other team considering their placement in the draft order and additional picks. They made the most of the class and signed everyone they selected.

Henry Davis (Mike Janes Four Seam Images)

Reviewing The 2021 MLB Draft First Round One Year Later

J.J. Cooper analyzes the 2020 first round, slotting players into five categories: Better Than Expected, Do It All Over Again, Too Soon To Tell, Slight Concerns and Reasons To Worry.

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