It’s been almost a year since the 2021 MLB Draft concluded. At the time, the Pirates were praised by many for what was considered a strong draft class, especially with their first four selections.
The Bucs held the first selection in the entire draft, and chose catcher Henry Davis from the University of Louisville. Their following selections were used on a variety of players, both pitchers and position players. So, how are some of the more notable selections performing?
C Henry Davis, Round 1 (Pick 1)
In 46 minor league games to date, Davis has posted an impressive .287/.408/.561 slash line. He’s showcased his strong power potential with 11 doubles, two triples and 10 homers to begin his professional career.
After getting off to a slow start with Double-A Altoona this season, Davis is has seven hits in his last 16 at-bats, including four doubles and a homer and has driven in seven runs over that stretch, a span of four games.
Davis missed some time this season after getting hit by a pitch on his wrist. In fact, the 22-year-old has been hit by a whopping 16 pitches in 38 games so far this season. When healthy, Davis has shown the potential that made him the first overall selection in last year’s class.
LHP Anthony Solometo, Round 2 (Pick 37)
When the Pirates selected Solometo to begin the second round, the first thing that stood out was his unorthodox delivery that somewhat resembles that of Madison Bumgarner. More than that, the Pirates were getting great value with the selection as the left-hander was rated the 17th-best draft prospect by MLB Pipeline.
The 19-year-old has made four appearances (three starts) with the Bradenton Marauders so far this year, covering 13 innings in total. Solometo has impressed so far, as he’s posted a 2.08 ERA with 13 strikeouts to begin his pro career. Solometo is currently on the 7-day injured list.
OF Lonnie White, Round Comp B (Pick 64)
It took a signing bonus of $1.5M to convince White to forgo his college football commitment to Penn State and begin his professional baseball career with the Pirates. White appeared in nine games with the Pirates FCL team last year after being drafted. In those nine games, White collected eight hits in 31 at-bats. Four of those eight hits went for extra bases (two doubles and two homeruns).
White is currently on the 60-day injured list with what was reported as a UCL injury in his elbow. He has yet to appear in a game this season.
SS/RHP Bubba Chandler, Round 3 (Pick 72)
Like with White, Chandler was committed to play college football, and baseball for that fact, as he was set to be a part of the Clemson Tigers. It took a heavy over-slot deal to convince one of the more intriguing prospects in last year’s draft to sign with the Pirates.
It’s early, but so far, the 19-year-old Chandler has opened some eyes in the Pirates organization. In nine games at the plate this season in rookie ball, Chandler is slashing .278/.409/.722 with a triple, two homers and a stolen base. On the mound, Chandler has tossed eight scoreless innings and has only allowed three hits. His walks are high (six) but so are his strikeouts (13).
RHP Justin Meis, Round 10 (Pick 283)
Meis, a Pittsburgh native, was selected by the Pirates out of Eastern Michigan in the 10th round. The right-hander’s professional career got off to a strong start, earning a promotion to High-A Greensboro a few weeks ago.
After a shaky start to begin his time with Greensboro, Meis delivered a strong start with the Grasshoppers on Tuesday. He went five innings, allowed one run on two hits, four walks and struck out five. In 70.1 innings in the Pirates system, Meis carries a 3.71 ERA and 83 punch outs.
OF Braylon Bishop, Round 14 (Pick 403)
The Pirates selected MLB Pipeline’s 94th-rated prospect in the 14th round and were somewhat surprisingly able to convince his to forgo his college commitment to Arkansas. Bishop came into the system with multiple intriguing tools, which have been on display early in his career.
Through 12 games in the FCL, Bishop carries an OPS of .825, and has shown a keen eye at the plate, drawing nine free passes in 40 plate appearances. Bishop is considered a plus-defender with a strong arm from the outfield.
LHP Tyler Samaniego, Round 15 (Pick 433)
As a later-round selection, Samaniego sure has stood out in a draft class that featured some star power. The left-handed reliver has a 1.80 ERA through his first 28 career appearances. In 35 innings, the 23-year-old has only allowed 14 hits. He’s walked 15 and has punched out 52 opposing batters.
Samaniego has already worked his way to Double-A Altoona, where he carries a 4.09 ERA but a much more impressive 2.77 FIP. He’s established himself as one to watch as he continues his development.