Pittsburgh Pirates: With Top of Draft Order Set, Some Way Too Early Options At Fourth Overall
|Photo Credit: James Madison University Athletics|
With the regular season over and done with, the 10 teams that qualified for the postseason are making their final preparations to make a push to the World Series. For the other 20 teams in the majors, it's time to start looking toward next season.
Also with the season over we know what the draft order is going to be, with the final standings in place. While the Pittsburgh Pirates won't get the first overall pick again, they will be picking in the top five again.
After losing to the Cincinnati Reds on the final day of the season, the Pirates finished with a 61-101 record, nine games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles, who will be selecting first overall for the second time in the last four drafts.
Rounding out the top four will be the Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers, selecting second third, respectively.
While we have a long way to go in the draft process, there are some names that are already standing out as potential picks when the Pirates come up to pick. As far as landing in the fourth spot, Pittsburgh does have some recent history when it comes to that pick in the draft.
So here is a bit history of the fourth overall pick, how the Pirates fit into it and some way too early names to watch that may be available there.
Not including the 2021 edition, over the previous 15 drafts teams with the fourth overall pick have leaned heavily towards college players. If you take out Brendan McKay, who was drafted as a two-way player out of Louisville, pitchers take a slight advantage over position players by a six to five margin.
Some notable names drafted at the fourth spot in recent history, Kyle Schwarber, Kevin Gausman and more recently, Nick Madrigal and JJ Bleday.
On the prep side of things, there wasn't a position player selected in the fourth spot from 2006 to 2020. That streak was broken this most recent draft, as the Boston Red Sox took Marcelo Mayer with that pick.
Pirates Recent History With The Fourth Pick
This will actually be the fourth time the Pirates have ended up with the fourth overall pick since 2006. The results have been, less than ideal.
They selected Brad Lincoln and Daniel Moskos with back to back picks in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Neither lived up to their billing as first round picks, and were out of the league fairly quickly. Two year later in 2009 the Pirates picked fourth again and selected Tony Sanchez out of Boston College.
While most questioned his bat coming out of college, it was the decline of his defense that led to him not being able to stick around.
Way Too Early Names To Watch
It's not really fair to go by trends set that far back, especially when you consider it's a completely different regime who have their own way of player evaluation. But you can't deny that the trend of college players over prep is quite overwhelming to ignore.
While college arms have controlled the fourth overall spot over the past 15 years, the 2022 edition may not see one go as early as in years prior. Of course, this is incredibly early and some one will more than likely jump up in there at some point, but for now it's going to be easier to look elsewhere.
More or less, the consensus top three in the current draft are Brooks Lee, Jace Jung, and Elijah Green and could go in any order leading up to the Pirates pick.
The Pirates could break the trend and go with Termarr Johnson, a prep hitter from Atlanta, Georgia. We saw with Kahlil Watson last year that height still plays a factor, and Johnson is no guarantee to stick at shortstop, the position you'd get the most value out of.
He's a 'let the bat play' kind of player, showing incredible power despite his smaller frame. There is no doubt he can grow into a major league hitter with power, the concern would be where he would play that would determine his ultimate value.
James Madison isn't an usual college baseball hotbed, but they could very well have a top ten pick come out their school in 2022.
Standing at 6'4", Chase DeLauter has the hitting tools to be a power hitting outfielder for any team that drafts him. He showed off some of those skills at the Cape Cod League, slashing .298/.397/.589 in 124 at bats, slugging 17 extra base hits in that time. He also showed an advanced approach to the plate, walking more than he struck out.
Back at JMU, while he hasn't gotten to play as many games as he would like, he has flashed the tools and put up the numbers that could allow him to truly breakthrough in 2022 if he plays an entire season. In two years so far, DeLauter slashed .385/.488/.657. That's not a typo, he gets on base nearly half the time he steps into the batters box. He's also hit 29 extra base hits in just 169 at bats.
Jacob Berry would provide some major power, as the former Arizona Wildcat hit 17 home runs and hit .352 last year, leading the charge as his team made the College World Series. He has since transferred to LSU, following his coach to the program, his next stop could be a top 10 draft pick.
There are some questions about his defensive home, but even if he ends up at first base, the raw power still profiles there.