By Jason Shetler
The 2016 MLB Draft will begin Thursday, June 9th. Coverage will be shown by both MLB Network and MLB.com. The Pirates hold the 22nd overall pick. Here are ten draft prospects who are projected in the mid-to late first round that the Pirates could select.
Alex Kirilloff: Pittsburgh area native Alex Kirilloff is a 6’2, left-handed hitting outfielder from Plum High School. Kirilloff possesses big time power. He currently has a commitment to play at Liberty University. Baseball America had the Pirates taking Kirilloff in their mock draft.
Braxton Garrett: Braxton Garrett is your prototypical left-handed starting pitcher who throws a low-90’s fastball and has good command of it. His secondary offering is an above average curveball. Garrett pitched for Florence High School in Alabama, and has a commitment to Vanderbilt.
Cal Quantrill: Cal Quantrill is 6’3, right-handed pitcher out of Stanford University. The son of former big league reliever Paul Quantrill had Tommy John surgery during his sophomore year. Quantrill throws a fastball in the low-90’s along with a very good changeup.
Connor Jones: The San Diego Padres selected Connor Jones in the 21st round of the 2013 MLB Draft, but he didn’t sign. He decided to attend the University of Virginia instead. Jones is a right-handed pitcher who stands 6’3. His arsenal includes a low-90’s sinker, which can top out at 95 mph, and a sharp slider.
Drew Mendoza: Drew Mendoza is a 6’4, left-handed bat who played both shortstop and third base at Lake Minneola High School in Florida. Mendoza possesses very good bat speed and has the potential to hit for power moving forward. He’s currently committed to playing at Florida State University.
Matt Manning: Just like his dad, former NBA center Rich Manning, Matt Manning also stands tall at 6’6. He pitched for Sheldon High School in Sacramento. Manning is consistently in the mid-90’s with his fastball, and also throws a power curveball to go with it. Loyola Marymount University is Manning’s current commitment.
Nolan Jones: No relation to Connor Jones, Nolan Jones is a 6’4, left-handed hitting shortstop/third baseman from Holy Ghost Prep High School in Pennsylvania. Jones is considered as one of the best contact hitters in this year’s draft in terms of high school players, and is committed to playing at the University of Virginia. MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo has Jones going to the Pirates in his mock draft.
Robert Tyler: Robert Tyler was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles as a 28th rounder in 2013, but chose to pitch at the University of Georgia. Tyler is a 6’4, right-hander who can throw a mid-to-upper 90’s fastball along with a good curve.
Taylor Trammell: Taylor Trammell is a 6’2, left-handed batting outfielder who played his high school ball at Mount Paran Christian, which is located in Georgia. Trammell displays terrific bat speed, quickness on the basepaths and above average defense, so he certainly has the makings of a solid, all-around player. Georgia Tech is where Trammell is committed to playing.
T.J. Zeuch: Before coming to the Steel City to pitch for the Pitt Panthers, T.J. Zeuch was a 31st round selection in 2013 by the Kansas City Royals. Zeuch has quite the repertoire, as he throws a mid-90’s two-seam fastball along with a curveball and slider that both have a chance to become plus pitches in the future. Jim Callis of MLB.com has the Pirates selecting Zeuch in his mock draft.