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An Early Look at Potential 2024 Draft Options For Pirates

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Pittsburgh Pirates-MLB Draft

During the Winter Meetings earlier this month, the Pittsburgh Pirates and every other MLB team had their draft position assigned to them for the 2024 draft. The Pirates were given the ninth overall pick.

Although it’s a ways away, it’s never too early to discuss some potential targets for the Pirates.

As we all know, the Pirates had the privilege of selecting at the number one spot in 2021 and 2023. In the 2021 draft, the Pirates selected catcher Henry Davis, and last year, they selected right-handed pitcher Paul Skenes.

Like most drafts, there is never really a consensus, but there are a few names the Pirates might target at the nine spot come July 2024.

OF, Braden Montgomery (Transferred to Texas A&M from Stanford)

Montgomery had a significant improvement in OPS from 2022 to 2023. Two seasons ago, Montgomery posted a .294/.361/.596 slash line with an OPS of .957 in 245 at-bats. In addition, the switch hitter drove in 57 runs while smashing 18 homers, two triples, and 16 doubles.

This past year, Montgomery slashed .336/.461/.611 with an OPS of 1.072 in 244 at-bats. Montgomery drove in 61 runs while smashing 17 homers, one triple, and 14 doubles.

Where Montgomery improved the most was his discipline at the plate. During the 2022 season, Montgomery drew 18 walks (6.6% BB%). Last, Montgomery drew 51 walks (16.5% BB%). In addition, His K% dropped 6.6% from 26.6% to 20.6%.

For fans of the advanced stats, Montgomery’s wOBA jumped from .415 to .470, and his wRC+ jumped from 121 to 148. Baseball America and MLB Pipeline currently have him ranked ninth on their big board.

Baseball America mentioned that Montgomery nearly has an 80-grade arm, which would slot him perfectly in right field. In addition, Montgomery has pitched in college but doesn’t seem to have a future there.

1B/OF, Charlie Condon (University of Georgia)

Standing at 6-foot-6, and weighing 211 pounds, Condon fits the first baseman mold perfectly. “He’s a power-over-hit offensive profile with long levers and some swing-and-miss issues against spin and off-speed,” said Baseball America.

Condon was a redshirt Freshman heading into the 2023 season, and it seems the redshirt worked. The big slugger smashed 25 homers and drove in 66 runs.

In terms of SEC rankings, Condon finished second in average (.386), first in slugging (.800), fourth in OBP (.484), and first in OPS (1.284). As a reminder, the SEC had the likes of Wyatt Langford and Dylan Crews in 2023, both of whom were selected in the top four of the draft. 

In addition, Condon will take his walks. In 210 at-bats, the righty walked 13% of the time, and he kept his strikeout rate at 17.7%. The one stat that draws some concern is his groundball percentage.

In 2023, Condon hit the ball on the ground 34.7% of the time, and if you look around at the Pirates’ system, you have a ton of guys who hit the ball on the ground way too often.

Take Ke’Bryan Hayes, for example. Last season, Hayes hit the ball on the ground 41.8%, with an average exit velocity of 92.2 mph. Condon nearly averaged 94 mph in exit velocity. I’m not saying they’re the same player, but similar patterns are there.

Condon is currently ranked 14th by Baseball America and seventh by MLB Pipeline.

OF Mike Sirota (Northeastern University)

Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Ben Cherington has a tendency to fall in love with Cape Cod League darlings, and Sirota fits the bill.

Sirota played a total of 37 games in the Cape Cod League over three years. In that time, Sirota accumulated a .312/.465/.477 slash line with 18 RBIs, seven stolen bases, three homers, two triples, and five doubles in 109 at-bats.

In 2023, Sirota surpassed career-highs at the collegiate level. In 214 at-bats, the righty slashed .346/.472/.678 with an OPS of 1.149. In addition, he drove in 54 runs, stole 19 bases, hammered 18 homers, hit nine doubles and four triples.

Sirota’s walk rate jumped from 10.4% in 2022 to 16.6% last season, and his strikeout rate went up from 17.7% to 18.5%. In addition, Sirota had a wOBA of .502 and a wRC+ of 164.

Baseball America feels his 6-foot-2, 180-pound frame allows him to have the athleticism to man centerfield and offers him the opportunity to have a 20-20 type of projection at the professional level.

Baseball America mentioned Sirota has “lightning-fast hands and advanced barrel sense.” As of right now, Sirota is currently ranked fifth by Baseball America and 12th by MLB Pipeline.

Wild Card: 1B/LHP Jac Caglianone (University of Florida)

Like every year, MLB’s draft has some surprise drops and slips. If Caglianone dropped to the ninth spot, the Pirates would have a fun player on their hands.

Caglianone has the potential to be a legitimate two-way player. The lefty led the country with 33 homers in 2023 while posting a 4.34 ERA and was Florida’s weekend starter.

In addition to a 95 mph fastball, Caglianone offers what MLB Pipeline categorized as a “nifty changeup.” If anything, Caglianone has legitimate power from the left side, and the Pirates desperately need power in their system.

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