Vandy SS, Berkeley RHP lead Bucs' Day 2 picks

June 5th, 2018

PITTSBURGH -- After making three selections on Day 1 of the 2018 MLB Draft -- including their first Top-10 pick since went No. 9 overall in 2013 -- the Pirates continued to bolster their farm system with eight more picks on Tuesday.
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The Bucs took University of South Alabama outfielder Travis Swaggerty with their first pick on Monday (10th overall), followed by high school right-handers Gunnar Hoglund (36th overall) and Braxton Ashcraft (51st overall). On Day 2 of the Draft, Rounds 3-10, the Pirates put all of their focus on college prospects, taking college pitchers or position players with all eight picks. They selected four pitchers, an outfielder, a shortstop, a third baseman and a catcher.
The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on at noon ET.
Round 3: SS Connor Kaiser, Vanderbilt
The Pirates began Day 2 with their second college bat of the Draft. Following a sophomore campaign that saw him post a pedestrian .600 OPS, the junior is slashing .298/.397/.452 over 56 games with the Commodores this season.
"The young man is strong on and off the field; aptitude and attitude," Pirates senior director of amateur scouting Joe DelliCarri said. "I think you're going to continue to see those types of players grow in areas of their game. In this case, with Connor, he's gotten a little stronger."
Kaiser put up great numbers in the Cape Cod Baseball League last summer, batting .300 while collecting nine doubles, one triple and two home runs through 37 regular-season games. Despite not displaying a lot of power at the plate during his time at Vanderbilt, he recently erupted for three home runs and 10 RBIs in a win against Clemson that helped the Commodores clinch a spot in the Super Regionals.
At 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, Kaiser's size, ability to hit for contact and defensive skill set make him an attractive pick for the Bucs.
Round 4: RHP Aaron Shortridge, University of California, Berkeley
The Pirates took a college arm in the fourth round -- their third right-hander through their first five picks of the Draft. After making 23 of his 26 appearances out of the bullpen through his first two years with the Golden Bears, Shortridge has made the transition to the starting rotation and made 12 starts in his junior season. He posted a 2.77 ERA, striking out 74 while issuing 14 walks through 91 innings.
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Over 14 appearances during his sophomore year -- 13 of which came in relief -- Shortridge posted a phenomenal 1.99 ERA as he allowed just five earned runs over 22 2/3 innings. He was the first college pitcher the Pirates selected in this Draft, as they'd taken a pair of high school arms on Day 1.
The 114th pick comes with a slot value of $488,200.
Round 5: C Grant Koch, Arkansas
Listed at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, Koch has been the primary starter behind the plate for the Razorbacks over his sophomore and junior campaigns. Additionally, he led the U.S. collegiate national team in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage last summer with a slash line of .372/.500/.535.
Koch,'s No. 131 Draft prospect, has followed up a career-high 13 home runs over 63 game during his sophomore year with 7 home runs through 57 games in 2018. Despite the dip in offensive production -- his OPS has dropped from .856 to .763 -- he has seen a slight increase in walks and decrease in strikeouts. He also recorded 433 putouts and posted a .998 fielding percentage with just one error in 465 chances.
"He's going to be solid behind the plate," DelliCarri said. "And we believe that we can catch a little bit more of the offense in him, [an] upside as well."
The 144th pick comes with a slot value of $364,600.
Round 6: RHP Michael Flynn, Arizona
The Pirates went with another college right-hander in the sixth round, selecting this 6-foot-3 junior. Flynn,'s No. 188 Draft prospect, served primarily as the No. 2 starter in Arizona's starting rotation in 2018. He made 15 appearances -- 13 of which were starts -- and posted a 4.89 ERA over 73 2/3 innings of work. The 188th pick comes with a slot value of $275,600.

Flynn has a fastball that typically sits around 90-94 mph and a curveball he throws in the 79-82 mph range, as well as a cutter and a slider in his repertoire. He was the second pitcher from Arizona's starting rotation to be taken within a 13-pick span, as his roommate -- junior right-hander Cody Deason -- was selected by the Houston Astros in the fifth round.
Round 7: OF Brett Kinneman, North Carolina State
The native Pennsylvanian and West York High School (York, Pa.) graduate started his 2018 campaign red-hot offensively, leading the country in home runs and RBIs on March 21. Despite not managing to keep up his torrid pace, the junior smashed 17 home runs and collected 61 RBIs while posting a .973 OPS -- all three of which were career highs. The 204th pick comes with a slot value of $215,500.

Kinneman was listed as's No. 148 Draft prospect. The left-handed-hitting outfielder earned some high praise from his college coach due to his playing style.
"He's just a throwback to everything the game used to be when we all fell in love with it," NC State head coach Elliott Avent told in March. "I grew up loving Mickey Mantle, and I call him Mickey Mantle because he reminds me of Mickey Mantle."
Round 8: LHP Zach Spears, Miami (OH)
The 21-year-old southpaw stands at a towering 6-foot-7 and weighs 237 pounds. Baseball America ranked Spears the No. 11 Draft prospect from Ohio.
He tied a team high with 14 starts for the Redhawks in 2018. In 15 appearances, Spears posted a 3.73 ERA and struck out a team-high 88 batters while walking 39 over 82 innings of work. The 234th pick comes with a slot value of $171,800.
Round 9: RHP Logan Stoelke, Louisiana Lafayette
Stoelke's collegiate career started with very little focus on pitching as he threw 16 1/3 innings over 13 appearances through his first three seasons at Louisiana Lafayette. He made appearances in 42 games his junior year, most commonly as an outfielder.
He broke out in the bullpen during his senior season, however, turning his focus solely on pitching due to the Ragin' Cajuns' pitching staff being inflicted with injuries this spring. He led the team with 10 saves, posting a 2.97 ERA over 21 relief appearances. The 264th pick comes with a slot value of $150,200.
"The ball comes out good, [he] throws strikes," DelliCarri said. "We're really excited to work with him and the upside there. We look at the innings as a positive of what he can do, where he is right now and where we can take him."
Round 10: 3B Mike Gretler, Oregon State
The Pirates wrapped up the day with another college bat. It's the second straight year the Bucs have drafted Gretler, as they selected him in the 39th round in 2017. The senior has slashed .314/.389/.498 with seven home runs in 58 games for the Beavers in 2018. The 294th pick comes with a slot value of $140,800.
"He's the glue to our team, the ultimate team guy," Oregon State associate head coach Pat Bailey told the Portland Tribune last week.