7-11-21 – By Craig Toth
In the days leading up to the MLB Draft it seemed very likely, according to experts and amateurs alike, that Marcelo Mayer would come off the board first for your Pittsburgh Pirates. Other mentioned options included Jack Leiter, Jordan Lawlar, Khalil Watson and one Henry Davis. As we all know by now the choice Ben Cherington and the Pirates made was to bring the hard hitting, power armed Louisville Catcher into the Pittsburgh’s Farm System; which has already brought on criticisms from some for not selecting the best player in the draft, and ultimately trying to save money on the first pick.
Well, if you look at the the majority of the top 10 picks, and even beyond, you can easily see drafting the so-called best player available wasn’t the strategy for many teams; as evident by Mayer dropping to 4th overall, the Orioles once again maximizing value, the Royals going totally off the board with the 39th Ranked Draft Prospect and Watson dropping the whole way down to 16 after being in the conversation as a sleeper for the 1:1.
So, honestly before you get to upset with the pick, and start comparing this kid to failed Pirates 1st Rounders of the past, please remember that Davis was ranked in the Top 5 on most sites, arguably had the best bat in the entire NCAA this past season, has a canon for an arm and took the opportunity in the off-season to work on improving his overall defense; especially as it pertains to his receiving and framing.
Now, I would be lying if I said I didn’t want Mayer, and maybe even Leiter over Davis, however, it’s hard to argue with a .370/.482/.663 slash line, 15 homers and 31 walks versus 24 strikeouts on the season. Power and patience at the plate is not a combination you find very often; plus he sprays the ball all over field. Sure, he may not have been the first choice of many Pirates Fans, but let’s not declare it, and him, a bust just yet.
The MLB Draft resumes tomorrow with the Second Round, and another first pick for the Pirates, which gives you plenty of time to peruse my look at Pittsburgh’s possible selections Beyond The 1:1. And, of course we will be back with plenty more MLB Draft Talk over the next couple of days to keep you updated on all of the Pirates selections in rounds 2 through 20.