Pittsburgh Pirates MLB Draft History And Projections
As we approach the 2018 MLB Draft on June 4, we’ll break down each major league team’s recent draft history, picking out tendencies where applicable, highlighting the team’s 2018 draft pool and also touching on the organization’s most successful recent draft picks.
Additionally, each team is listed with potential draft targets. These players either fit the typical modus operandi of the organization or are players who have been specifically linked or rumored as fits with a team throughout the spring. Baseball America will continue to add and subtract players from the potential draft target section as we continue to gather information in the final weeks leading up to the draft. Players are listed with a line of skinny to get a quick idea of who they are, but our full scouting reports will give a more complete picture of a player.
It’s also worth pointing out that while in some cases a team might appear to have a clear tendency with certain demographics (i.e., high school pitchers or college hitters), the sample we are looking at is small enough that teams could simply be following a best player available strategy and the results are showing something that’s not an overarching scouting philosophy. It’s more likely that tendencies can be discovered at the extremes, rather than slight apparent preferences in the last five years.
Here is a breakdown of the recent MLB Draft history of the Pittsburgh Pirates:
General Manager: Neal Huntington (Since 2008)
Scouting Director: Joe Delli Carri (Since 2012)
2018 Bonus Pool (Rank): $10,390,400 (7th)
2018 MLB Draft Order:
1st Round: 10th
Supplemental 1st Round: 36th
2nd Round: 51st
3rd Round: 86th
4th-40: 10th in each round.
First Round Picks Since 2013:
2017: Shane Baz (12th)
2016: Will Craig (22nd)
2014: Cole Tucker (24th)
Best Recent Pick (2010-2017 Drafts):
RHP Gerrit Cole (No. 1 overall, 2011) still holds the record for the highest draft signing bonus this century at $8 million, and trails only Matt White ($10.2 million) and Travis Lee ($10 million) all-time. Both White and Lee got their money in 1996 as free agents after exploiting a loophole that required teams to sign players within 15 days of being selected. Cole largely lived up to expectations with the Pirates, posting a 3.50 ERA from 2013-2017 and serving as the team’s ace before he was traded to the Astros in January 2018.
Recent Tendencies (Last Five Years/Top Five Rounds):
The Pirates have drafted more hitters (20) than any other team in the top five rounds of the draft since 2013. They are second among all clubs in position player percentage, with 62.5 percent of the team’s picks dedicated to bats—trailing only the Mets (64 percent).
Additionally, Pittsburgh has been in the top third when it comes to percentage of high school players selected (46.9 percent), though the team has given an equal number of picks (15) to prep players and four-year university products.
Prior to 2017, each of scouting director Joe Delli Carri’s six first round picks dating back to 2013 went to hitters. With the No. 12 pick last year, the team opted for prep righthander Shane Baz, which broke that streak as the Pirates attempted to add more impact arms to a system that recently graduated a number of pitchers to the big leagues. The 2018 class offers a number of arms if Delli Carri wants to continue that trend.
Pirates Focus On Improving Player Development
The fact that Pirates prospects tended to improve dramatically with new organizations did not go unnoticed by ownership.
Potential Draft Targets:
3B Nolan Gorman — Gorman is a slugging third baseman with near top-of-the-scale raw power and a strong arm, but has some questions about his feel to hit
P Ethan Hankins — Previously the top prep player in the class thanks to a potential 80-grade fastball, Hankins has been slowed by injury but is trending in the right direction
SS Jonathan India — One of college baseball's most impressive performers, India is solid across the board and is tapping into unprecedented power this spring
OF Jarred Kelenic — Solid in every area, Kelenic is one of the best pure hitters in the prep class and scouts are expecting more power to come
P Shane McClanahan — An electrifying, albeit sporadic, lefthander with some of the best pure stuff in the class, McClanahan has a fastball that tickles 100 mph
C Noah Naylor — The younger brother of Josh Naylor, Noah is more hit over power with exceptional barrel awareness and a track record against professional arms
P Kumar Rocker — Big, physical and imposing, Rocker has loud pure stuff, including a fastball up to 98 mph and a breaking ball that falls off the table
P Grayson Rodriguez — The Texas pop-up overhauled his body in the offseason and has been up to 97-98 mph with ease out of a big, 6-foot-4 frame
OF Travis Swaggerty — Swaggerty is a potential five-tool talent with a real shot to stick in center field who showed increased power this spring
P Carter Stewart — Stewart has the best breaking ball in the 2018 class in a powerful, downer curveball—oh, and he's touched 98 mph this spring
Cole Winn — One of the most consistent prep arms this spring, there are no real holes to speak of in Winn's game