Let The Kids Play: Pittsburgh Pirates 2020 Draft

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This year’s draft was a productive one for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ben Cherington, the team’s new general manager, loaded up on pitching. The Pirates also drafted a young short stop, however their focus was on new arms for their rotation and bullpen. Changes were inevitable in the Pirates organization, and it may now be time to let the kids play.

Round 1; 7th pick: Nick Gonzales, SS, New Mexico State

The Pirates made a solid pick at number one. Gonzales is an incredible fielder who can hit for both power and average. He is also fast out of the batter’s box, applying pressure on the defense. In 2020, he was able to gather 12 home runs, a .448 batting average, 36 RBI and a .610 on base percentage.

His fielding is just as good, and his awareness is amazing for such a young player. Gonzales always makes the tough plays, and he makes them look easy. He’s able to get to the ball quickly and efficiently.

 The Arizona native will be an essential piece to rebuilding the Pirates infield. Gonzales is just going to get better over time and will greatly help the left side. With impressive offensive numbers and great defensive skills, Gonzales will be a staple to the organization. 

Competitive Balance – Round A; 31st Pick: Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP, South Carolina 

The first of many pitchers, Mlodzinski is the pitcher the Pirates have been waiting for. With a deadly breaking ball and outstanding control of the strike zone, Mlodzinski is a star in the making. 

His 2020 season, he went 2-1, with a 2.84 ERA, 25.1 IP, and 22 Ks. Mlodzinski is an early candidate for Cherington’s best pick with the Pirates. The young pitcher will boost a rotation led by Chris Archer and Joe Musgrove. 

2nd Round; 44th Pick: Jared Jones, RHP, La Mirada H.S., California 

Jones has already committed to play for the University of Texas at Austin. He is still very young and probably won’t make his major league debut for a few more years. However, that does not mean he was a bad pick. 

Jones’ high school career record is 20-6, with an .089 ERA, 180.1 IP, and 255 punchouts. His fastball tops out at 96 mph, however he can get it higher. Jones also throws unbelievably hard, but he can slow it down and throw an effective breaking ball. Jones can get his fastball to elite levels if he stays the course. This pick again improves the Pirates pitching staff for the future.

3rd Round; 79th Pick: Nick Garcia, RHP, Chapman 

Coming out of the bullpen, Garcia was highly successful. Like Jones, Garcia throws very hard, however his control isn’t quite there yet. Although he might have some issues commanding the strike zone, he still has potential. 

In the 2018-2019 season, Garcia had a record of 9-0, with 12 saves, 56.0 IP, 0.64 ERA, 14 walks, and 82 Ks. However, in 2020 his stats took a bit of a decline; 4-1, with 0 saves, 27.0 IP, 2.00 ERA, 7 BB, and 36 Ks. The pick for Garcia for still a great choice on Cherington’s part, though the new pitcher has a lot to work on. 

4th Round; 108th Pick: Jack Hartman, RHP, Appalachian St. 

Yet another bullpen arm the Pirates could look forward to, Hartman is similar to Garcia in terms of how they control their pitches. In 10 appearances this year Hartman had an ERA of 3.00, and 22 Ks. On top of that he only walked nine batters and had four successful saves. All of this in just 12.0 IP. 

To say Hartman would be a big help to the bullpen is obvious, but which new arm is better; Hartman or Garcia? Although Garcia’s stats are better, expect Hartman to be a little more consistent. 

5th Round; 138th Pick; Logan Hofmann, RHP Northwestern St. 

The last pick in the 2020 draft for the Pirates, Hofmann has a lot to offer. Hofmann had an incredible ERA in 2020 of 0.00 in four starts. Yes, 0.00 in four starts. With 28.0 IP and 38 Ks, Hofmann’s possibilities are endless. 

Hofmann was a steal for the Pirates and Cherington, a 20 year-old who can throw a fastball in low 90’s. Although the pitch speed isn’t there, yet, his command of the strike zone is elite. 

Signed 

Since the draft, the Pirates have signed all of their picks. Overall, the 2020 Pirates draft was solid. They now have a wealth of young pitchers just itching to make their debut. However, the lack of lefties was a bit startling, their rotation only has two left handed pitchers. 

A lot of these players won’t be in league for quite sometime, but when they do finally come in, expect them to make a splash. And help lead the Pirates back to glory. 

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