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Pittsburgh Pirates 2023 MLB Draft Report Card


To see 2023 Draft Report Cards for every team, see our Draft Report Card landing page, here.

Revisiting the 2023 Pirates MLB Draft class after the conclusion of the minor league season.

Best Pure Hitter: Shortstop Mitch Jebb (2) has a crouched and slappy swing with good bat speed and excellent pure contact skills. He struck out at just an 11.6% rate during the spring with Michigan State and in his pro debut he slashed .297/.382/.398 with more walks (17) than strikeouts (11) and an outstanding 92% overall contact rate. He has a chance for an above-average hit tool. 

Best Power Hitter: Third baseman/first baseman Garret Forrester (3) stood out more for his average and on-base skills at Oregon State, but he is physical and has raw power in the tank. He posted some of the better exit velocities in Pittsburgh’s draft class, including a 93-mph average mark in his pro debut. He might need to pull the ball in the air with more intent to tap into his solid-average raw power moving forward.

Fastest Runner: Jebb (2) is a good enough runner that some scouts have wondered if he could play center field if his arm becomes too stretched for shortstop. He’s a plus runner with good range at the position and went 11-for-12 (91.2%) in stolen base attempts in his pro debut.

Best Defensive Player: In Pittsburgh’s pitcher-heavy 2023 draft, Jebb (2) is gobbling up categories and that continues with this one. He’s a fine defender and has a chance to stick up the middle with good range, though he needs to sharpen his actions and strengthen his arm to solidify a shortstop profile moving forward.

Best Fastball: Righthander Paul Skenes (1) was the No. 1 overall pick for a reason and he is perhaps the best pitching prospect to come out of the draft since Stephen Strasburg. That starts with a fastball that averaged more than 98 mph and was routinely into the triple digits and as high as 103 mph. Critics about his fastball shape are nit-picking more than anything with this sort of velocity and fastball command. It’s a double-plus pitch. 

Best Secondary Pitch: Likewise, Skenes (1) has a slider that could be a double-plus offering. The shape of the slider wasn’t quite as electric in his pro debut as it was with Louisiana State this spring, but he added a ton of horizontal sweep to the pitch. The combination of power and nearly 11 inches of horizontal movement makes it a devastating offering and legitimate out-pitch.

Best Pro Debut: Offensively, no player in Pittsburgh’s class was as impressive as second baseman and outfielder Charles McAdoo (13), who hit .302/.412/.510 with five home runs at Low-A Bradenton. On the mound, lefthander Jaden Woods (7) impressed and showed much better feel for a quality changeup than he did in college while posting a 3.14 ERA and striking out 21 batters in 14.1 innings.

Best Athlete: Skenes (1) has excellent strength, power and body control on the mound to repeat his delivery. He was a legitimate first round talent as a hitter before he put the bat down and focused on pitching prior to the 2023 season. He might have been too big ultimately to stick at catcher in pro ball, but he caught at a high level and has massive raw power from the right side. 

Most Intriguing Background: Skenes wasn’t the only former two-way player the Pirates drafted in 2023. Righthander Danny Carrion (9) started his college career as an infielder but converted to the mound after his sophomore year and thrived in a reliever role with a low-90s fastball and vertical slider. He was also a three-sport athlete in high school who played quarterback and free safety on the football field and was a first-team basketball player as a senior. 

Closest To The Majors: Skenes (1) was the most big league ready player in the 2023 draft class and could be ready on day one at the big league level in 2024 if the Pirates want him in the major leagues.

Best Day Three Pick (Or NDFA): McAdoo’s (13) strong debut makes him the pick here. His ultimate defensive home is still a question, and he might have to just mash to be a valuable everyday player, but his baseball card stats were impressive, as were his underlying batted ball data and hitting metrics.

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