The 2023 MLB Draft got underway when the Pittsburgh Pirates made LSU right-handed pitcher Paul Skenes the first overall pick. In the second round on day one — the Pirates’ third pick of the night — the Pirates again went pitching in prep righty Zander Mueth.
After the Pirates took Garret Forrester, a corner infielder from Oregon State to begin day two, it looked like they might look for position players to complement the two pitchers they took on day one.
Instead, the Pirates used their final seven picks of the second day of the draft on pitchers, with all seven coming from the college ranks.
“I think you’re getting a collection in a general sense of a lot of traits that are important to the organization,” Pirates scouting director Joe DelliCarri said. “We believe this collection or group definitely has some unique opportunities in some different areas to take advantage of growth and big gaps in growth that we think we can tap into with our coaches and player development.”
Not only did the Pirates make a run on collegiate pitching, but four draftees in a row came from the SEC, which is likely the top college conference in the country.
Though the competition in the SEC is surely a step up from some of the other conferences in college — and the high school ranks, obviously — it just happened to be a coincidence that the Pirates were making their way across the southern states.
“There’s no question we see a lot of the SEC,” DelliCarri said. “No different than a lot of the other conferences that our scouts are in everyday. At the same point in time, they collection of who they are and traits that were attractive to us. But, sincerely no direct design to go into the SEC and take stuff out of the SEC, pitchers out of the SEC, it was just more the individuals that aligned with what were looking for more than it was conferenced based.”
The selections the Pirates made on Monday come from all different walks of life and have had different paths to getting to this point. Some had more success in terms of stats, some didn’t.
For the Pirates, targeting guys they want to bring into the organization means more than just what you would find on the back of a baseball card.
“I would share a little insight into, we like to see adversity,” DelliCarri said. “We like to see some ups and downs… we get a chance to talk to them about it. We get a chance to see their aptitude and how they make changes from week to week. That’s a big part of the looksie of what we value.”
An organization can never have enough pitching depth, and the Pirates certainly added to their depth pool in the first two days of the draft.
With still one more day — 10 more rounds — to go, the Pirates will surely be adding even more.
The Lone Wolf
As mentioned earlier, there was only one position player the Pirates took on day two in Forrester from Oregon State.
Forrester put up impressive numbers in his senior season in the PAC-12, as he slashed .341/.485/.522 with 12 doubles, 10 homers and 52 RBIs in 61 games.
In addition to his stats, there’s a lot to like about Forrester — including his bloodlines. His father, Gary, is a former minor league infielder.
The Pirates like what they see from their third-rounder.
“He’s got a long track record of being around the game, understands the game, sees the game,” said DelliCarri. “He does have very, very good swing decisions coming into professional baseball… He’s a high-contact hitter that does hit the ball hard, so there’s a lot here. I think there’s an opportunity to get even more out of Garret.