By Jason Shetler
The 2017 MLB Draft will begin on Monday, June 12th. After finishing below .500 last year, the Pirates will be selecting near the Top 10 at #12. Different baseball publications have been giving out their mock drafts, and here are some of the draft prospects who the Pirates could take in the first round.
Adam Haseley – One of the better college players in this draft is Adam Haseley, an outfielder from the University of Virginia. Despite good numbers as a pitcher, he will be drafted as a position player. Haseley is 6’1, 195 lb, who bats and throws left-handed. He profiles as a high on base guy, with decent power and above average speed. Defensively, Haseley possesses a strong arm and can play all three outfield spots.
Alex Fraedo – In the 2014 MLB Draft, the Detroit Tigers chose Alex Fraedo with their 40th round pick, but he did not sign with them. Fraedo is a 6’5, 225 lb, right-hander out of the University of Florida. His fastball sits 93 mph and can top out at 95. He also throws an excellent slider, which most scouts consider the best in the entire draft. Pirates GM Neal Huntington has a reputation for drafting taller pitchers, and Fraedo would fit that bill.
D.L. Hall – Perhaps one of the top prep pitchers in this year’s draft class is D.L. Hall. The 6’2, 170 lb, lefty from Valdosta High School in Georgia, has a commitment to pitch at Florida State. Hall’s fastball is 92-93 mph, topping out at 95, while his curveball is a plus offering. The Pirates are lacking quality left-handed arms in the system, so Hall is someone they could have their eye on.
Hans Crouse – Like D.L. Hall, Hans Crouse is another outstanding prep pitcher in the upcoming draft. Crouse is a righty, listed at 6’4, 185 lb, out of Dana Hills High School in California, with a commitment to USC. The repertoire for Crouse includes a mid-90’s fastball that can touch 97 mph, a good curveball and a developing changeup.
J.B. Bukauskas – J.B. Bukauskas was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks as a 20th round selection in 2014, but he chose to pitch at the University of North Carolina instead. Bukauskas has racked up a tons of strikeouts for the Tar Heels, despite his 5’11 size, which could make him a Tim Lincecum type. The arsenal for Bukauskas includes a fastball that ranges 92-95 mph, a sharp slider and a changeup.
Nick Pratto – Nick Pratto is among the best prep position players in this year’s draft. Pratto is a left-handed hitting first baseman from Huntington Beach High School in California, who is listed at 6’2, 195 lb. He has a commitment to play at USC. Pratto is said to have impressive power, as well as good speed for a first baseman. On the defensive side, he is considered above average at the position. Potentially, Pratto could become a lefty version of Paul Goldschmidt.
Shane Baz – Most projections had Shane Baz going late first round, but he is starting to climb up on most draft boards. Baz is a 6’3, 190 lb, right hander out of Concordia Lutheran High School in Texas, the same school that produced Ke’Bryan Hayes, who the Pirates drafted two years ago as a first round compensation pick. The repertoire for Baz is a five-pitch mix. His fastball sits around 93 mph, while the cutter and slider are his two best secondary pitches, and have the potential of being plus offerings. Baz also throws the curveball and changeup, both of which are average right now.