Ok, Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t know anything about Conor Uselton and Steve Jennings, but he could like them eventually?
I realize two days after the Pens raised the cup and one day after Jameson Taillon’s return it will be hard to get many people to click on Pirates’ draft picks, but here’s a quick synopsis of the Pirates first four picks: #12, #42, #50 and #72. In a clickbait type exaggeration the first pick was a Taillon clone from Texas and two of the other three are stud high school quarterbacks….hence the Ben reference.
#12 Shane Baz – high school pitcher from Texas
Recommended slot bonus $4M
Jameson Taillon’s return was well timed as the Pirates selected another Texas RH with their first pick. This is what I wrote last week in the Draft Preview, when I gave Baz the 2nd best odds of being selected by the Pirates:
The best of the second tier of players, Baz has 5 legit pitches: a plus fastball, a plus cutter, a plus slider and a curve and a changeup. He also is one of the youngest high school players (born 6/99). He adds plus makeup and plus athleticism. He’d be the perfect Mitch Keller-type of sandwich round pick but it’s doubtful he makes it out of the top 15. Jonathan Mayo and I discussed Baz as a possible pick but we noted that the Pirates don’t seem to want to take a HS arm with their first pick due to the large chance of injury and the large 1st pick slot value. That’s the only thing not bumping Baz up to the favorite. He also has a TCU commit which means he might require slot. Finally for you Statcast junkies, the Pirates love spin rate and Baz has the highest of high school pitchers.
MLB.com Video here: Shane Baz
Pedro Martinez scouting him HERE
#42 Steve Jennings – high school pitcher from Tennessee
Recommended slot bonus $1.6M
Jennings is the first of the quarterbacks and the one that stuck with football the longest. He tore his ACL playing football his junior season, but it didn’t hold him back on the diamond. The football time cost him views on the showcase circuit. This hidden nature of Jennings might be added value, as does the inability to focus only on baseball. If you watch Jennings’ football highlight video (HERE) you can see the athleticism that oozes out. Jennings has a weak U of Mississippi commit.
MLB.com Video here: Steve Jennings
#50 Calvin Mitchell – high school outfielder from California
Recommended slot bonus $1.04M
Mitchell is the one player I haven’t referenced yet. He supposedly tore it up on the showcase circuit last summer, but struggled this spring due to fiddling with his swing mechanics. He has a weak commit to the University of San Diego so he should be signable. He also is from the same high school as current Pirate Trevor Williams.
MLB.com Video here: Calvin Mitchell
#72 Connor Uselton – high school outfielder from Oklahoma
Recommended slot bonus $804k
The second of the quarterbacks, Uselton actually game up football after being a successful starter in his freshman year (Video: HERE). My thinking on Uselton is that he has star potential, but he’s a tougher sign because he has a May 1998 birthday and could be a sophomore eligible draftee if he honored his commit to Oklahoma State. He could be a center fielder with his athleticism and has the strong quarterback arm that works in right if he has to move. His best asset at the moment is his plus raw power, which would be even better if he can stay in center. I don’t know how much money above the recommended slot it may take to get him.
MLB.com Video here: Connor Uselton