Pirates complete Day 1 with infielder Kramer
UCLA product has experience at third base and shortstop, but could play second
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates finished up the first day of the 2015 Draft on Monday night by selecting UCLA infielder Kevin Kramer with the 62nd overall pick.
Kramer was ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the No. 165 Draft prospect. The Indians drafted him out of Turlock (Calif.) High School in the 25th round in 2011, but he opted to attend UCLA instead.
Kramer spent most of his collegiate career at third base, starting all 66 games there as a sophomore, but he was announced Monday night as a shortstop.
The Pirates used two of their three Day 1 picks on college shortstops, with Kramer joining No. 19 overall pick Kevin Newman, out of the University of Arizona.
And they weren't alone in their middle-infield blitz, either. A record-tying eight shortstops went in Monday night's first round alone.
"It's a good year for shortstops. Been a good year for middle-of-the-diamond players," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. "Each Draft has strengths. Each Draft has challenges. This just happened to be a good year for middle-of-the-diamond players.
"We feel very fortunate to get two guys that we like their overall package."
The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at 1 p.m. ET.
Kramer sat out all of 2014 following shoulder surgery and received a medical redshirt, then hit .323/.423/.476 with seven home runs and 34 RBIs for the Bruins this spring.
"We see ... great signs of continuing strength from what he's doing from where he started at the beginning of the year through the middle and end of the year," Pirates scouting director Joe DelliCarri said.
Kramer was also named a first-team All-Pacific 12 Conference selection this season, and he was a Collegiate Baseball preseason All-American.
If Kramer can return to full health, some believe he could wind up sticking at shortstop. If not, the left-handed hitter could profile as an offensive-minded second baseman, considering his advanced approach at the plate.
After watching Kramer closely this spring, the Pirates believe he can recapture his pre-injury form.
"Good signs of that coming back, and not just coming back, but signs of it being there again," DelliCarri said. "We feel more than fine with where he's at. ... I think we're going to continue to see a little bit more as he goes."