The first round of the 2022 MLB draft will take place on Sunday, July 17 in Los Angeles. With a little more thank six weeks to go, it’s time to start highlighting some potential options for the Pirates with their first selection. The Bucs hold the fourth overall selection in the first round.
Since taking over as Pirates general manager, Ben Cherington has led the Pirates through two drafts. In 2020, the Pirates took Nick Gonzales with the seventh pick and the Pirates took Henry Davis first overall last season.
OF Druw Jones, Georgia (H.S)
Prep outfielder Druw Jones is considered by many to be the top overall player available in this year’s class, meaning it’s probably likely he’s off the board before the Pirates are on the clock. Jones is the son of five-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove recipient Andruw Jones.
Like his father, Jones is considered to be a very good defensive player, possessing elite defensive abilities and a plus arm. With excellent speed, Jones is more than capable of patrolling center field as a professional, and should see some Gold Gloves in his future.
Offensively, Jones has a strong profile and his capable of possessing plus-power. The 18-year-old isn’t quite as refined with the bat as he is with his glove, but still carries big upside at the plate.
SS Brooks Lee, Cal Poly
Lee has been the player most often mocked to the Pirates by multiple outlets to date. Additionally, Lee fits Cherington’s profiles of his previous two first round selections as a college bat.
The switch-hitting Lee is hitting .357 with a 1.125 OPS in 58 games this season for Cal Poly. He’s recorded 25 doubles, a triple and 15 home runs. Lee posted a 1.099 OPS and six home runs in 21 games with the Summer League last season, again something that the Pirates have put emphasis on under Cherington.
Lee possess a plus-hit tool and above-average power at the plate. He may be more of a doubles hitter than a home run threat, but Lee has the ability to leave the yard. In the field, he has a strong arm, though some scouts question if he will remain at short in the long run
C Kevin Parada, Georgia Tech
Another college bat, Parada would give the Pirates back-to-back first round picks used on catchers. But again, Cherington’s philosophy has largely been take the best player available, regardless of position. If the Bucs front office determines that player is Parada, he could be the pick.
Parada’s appeal lies with his bat, as he is both a plus-hitter and posses plus-power as evident by his .356 batting average and his 26 homers in 56 games this season for Georgia Tech. He’s driven in 86 runs and has more walks (28) than strikeouts (27).
Defensively, Parada has a pretty good feel with his glove, but lacks the strong arm from someone like Davis a year ago. If Parada would have to move from behind the plate, his bat would certainly play at first base.