PITTSBURGH -- Unlike last year's MLB Draft, which saw the Pirates select four of their eight high school draftees on Day 1, the Bucs focused much of their early attention on selecting college players. Through the first two days, nine of their 11 picks were selected out of college. They
PITTSBURGH -- Unlike last year's MLB Draft, which saw the Pirates select four of their eight high school draftees on Day 1, the Bucs focused much of their early attention on selecting college players. Through the first two days, nine of their 11 picks were selected out of college. They dipped into the high school talent pool on Day 3 of the Draft, however, drafting eight prep players in their final 30 picks.
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It appears the gem of the class is No. 10 overall selection Travis Swaggerty, who was the first top 10 pick for the Pirates since Austin Meadows was taken No. 9 overall in 2013.
:: 2018 Draft coverage ::
Swaggerty, an outfielder from the University of South Alabama, entered as MLB Pipeline's No. 11 Draft prospect. After coming into college as a two-way player, he quickly quit pitching to focus solely on hitting. He slashed .296/.455/.526 with 10 doubles, 13 home runs and 39 RBIs during his senior year.
"There's a player, premium position, that has a chance to hit in all three facets of the game," Pirates senior director of amateur scouting Joe DelliCarri said on Monday. "[He] stood out at that part of the board that he was the right fit for us there."
The Pirates also selected a pair of high school right-handers -- Competitive Balance Round A pick Gunnar Hoglund (36th overall) and second-rounder Braxton Ashcraft (51st overall) -- on Day 1. They followed by taking eight consecutive college players on Day 2, and finished the Draft with 31 college players and 10 from high school.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the Pirates have agreed to terms with Hoglund, who is currently committed to Mississippi. Meanwhile, Ashcraft told KXXV-TV in Texas that the Pirates hope to fly him up to sign before next week.
When asked whether signability played a factor in selecting a plethora of college players on the first two days of the Draft, general manager Neal Huntington said the Pirates were distributing their money aggressively due to the way the pool system is set up.
"The reality is that there's a finite number [of money] that you can use to sign players," Huntington said on Tuesday. "It wasn't that we walked away from some players because we couldn't afford them. We walked away from players because maybe they didn't fit in our pool, or we chose the players that we liked the best."
The Pirates ended up with 14 right-handed pitchers, three lefties, four catchers, 10 outfielders and 10 infielders.
Pittsburgh selected another outfield slugger on Day 3 when it took Jonah Davis out of UC Berkeley in the 15th round (444th overall). Davis' junior stats in 2018 jumped off the page, as he batted .321 with two triples, 14 home runs and 58 RBIs over 54 games.
Another intriguing Day 3 pick came in the 19th round, when the Bucs continued a recent trend by selecting right-hander Will Kobos (564th overall). It marked the fourth consecutive year they've drafted a player from George Washington, which is coached by former Pirates hitting coach Gregg Ritchie.
The Pirates also selected a local product in the 28th round, taking University of Delaware infielder Nick Patten. Patten began his high school career at Butler High School, north of Pittsburgh, before transferring to IMG Academy. The University of Delaware also recently produced right-hander Chad Kuhl, who was drafted by the Pirates in 2013 after his junior season with the Blue Hens.
Mason Wittner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh.