Pirates Likely To Go After A Bat Early In June Draft

Outfielders Kjerstad And Veen First-Round Possibilities

Eric Hagman
May 19, 2020 - 3:31 pm
Heston Kjerstad

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh (93.7 The Fan) - Major League Baseball's five-round draft will be held June 10 and 11 with the Pirates having six selections, including the seventh pick in the first round.

This will be Ben Cherington's first draft as Pirates general manager.  MLB.com draft expert Jonathan Mayo said Cherington's past drafts with Boston and Toronto don't offer many clues to what he will do this year.

"If you look back over his history, I think they've done a number of different things," Mayo said.  "You still have some of the holdovers from the scouting staff.  Joe Dellicarri (amateur scouting director) is still in Pittsburgh and a lot of his staff is still there.  I think it remains to be seen who is going to be there for them to take."

There's been no consensus on a particular first-round pick in recent mock drafts, but projections have the Pirates going for a hitter, rather than a pitcher.

"I still think it probably ends up being a college player.  My colleague Jim Callis had them taking (outfielder) Heston Kjerstad from Arkansas in his last mock.  I certainly could see that happen."

Kjerstad is a 6-foot-3, 205 pound, left-handed power hitter.  He was a unanimous first team preseason All-American.  He played in 16 games before the Razorbacks' season was halted, batting .448 with six home runs.

Another possibility, according to Mayo, is a high school outfielder from Port Orange, Florida.

"I think if Zac Veen is there that fits the mold of what they've done in the past. He's a very good high school player, but so much depends on who is around for when they pick."

Veen, 18, is a left-handed hitter, who has also played first base.

One player that Mayo doesn't believe will be the Pirates choice is West Allegheny outfielder Austin Hendrick, who has committed to play at Mississippi State.

"I know people would love to see the Pirates take the hometown kid," Mayo said.  "I don't think that would be a huge stretch, but I don't think he quite belongs there.  I don't see him as a top-10 guy.  I think he's kind of more an 11-to-15, which is splitting hairs."

The Pirates will have a competitive balance round A pick, the 31st overall.  They will then have one selection in each of the next four rounds.



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