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Prep righty Baz 'honored' to go to Bucs at 12

Hard-throwing Texan features fastball that has touched 98 mph
MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- For the first time since selecting Jameson Taillon second overall in 2010, the Pirates used their first Draft pick on a high school pitcher. The Bucs selected right-hander Shane Baz with the 12th overall pick in the first round of the 2017 Draft on Monday night.

Baz was ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Draft's No. 18 prospect. Standing 6-foot-3, the 17-year-old features a 92-96 mph fastball that has touched 98 mph and throws a handful of other pitches, including a cutter, curveball and changeup.

Full Game Coverage

PITTSBURGH -- For the first time since selecting Jameson Taillon second overall in 2010, the Pirates used their first Draft pick on a high school pitcher. The Bucs selected right-hander Shane Baz with the 12th overall pick in the first round of the 2017 Draft on Monday night.

Baz was ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Draft's No. 18 prospect. Standing 6-foot-3, the 17-year-old features a 92-96 mph fastball that has touched 98 mph and throws a handful of other pitches, including a cutter, curveball and changeup.

Full Game Coverage

The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET.

Pirates' 42nd overall pick: Steve Jennings
Pirates' 50th overall: Calvin Mitchell
Pirates' 72nd overall: Conner Uselton

:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::

"Really, really competitive pitcher," Pirates director of amateur scouting Joe DelliCarri said. "We talked about the stuff being plus or positive across the board."

The Pirates had been linked to Baz in the weeks leading up to the Draft, and Baz said Pirates area scout Wayne Mathis left a positive impression when they met earlier this year.

"They have an awesome track record. I'm definitely honored they picked me," Baz said. "They've got to have one of the best systems in baseball, if not the best." Baz attended Concordia Lutheran High School in Tomball, Texas, the same school as third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes, picked 32nd overall by the Pirates in 2015 and now one of their top prospects. Baz is committed to Texas Christian University and is considered by Draft analysts to be a relatively difficult sign.

Video: COL@PIT: Pirates' draft pick celebrates with family

Baz has referred to TCU as his "dream school," according to the Houston Chronicle. Last year, the Bucs were unable to sign high school left-hander Nick Lodolo, who honored his commitment to TCU.

"I haven't gotten there yet. I'm just enjoying this for now," Baz said Monday night. "I'll have to speak with my advisor and go over that another time."

Baz, who also played third base and outfield, went 6-2 with a 0.93 ERA and 96 strikeouts while batting .431 this spring.

Video: 2017 Draft: Pirates GM Huntington on drafting Baz

"We're looking forward to finishing the signing process, getting him into the organization, developing all of his pitches, developing his ability to use and recognize swings," general manager Neal Huntington said. "We'll get to know him more. We'll get to understand him more. He also has action and movement to the various fastball that intrigues us, and we're looking forward to getting him hopefully into our system and getting him going."

The 12th overall pick comes with a slot value of $4,032,000, a large portion of the Pirates' overall pool of $10,135,900, the seventh-highest figure in this year's Draft. Last year, the Pirates signed first-round pick Will Craig for $2,253,700, the full value of the 22nd overall selection.

Video: Draft 2017: Martinez profiles RHP Shane Baz

The past four years, the Pirates used their first selection on a position player: Will Craig, Kevin Newman, Cole Tucker and Austin Meadows. In the three Drafts before that, Pittsburgh chose a trio of right-handers: Mark Appel, Gerrit Cole and Taillon. The Pirates have signed each of their first overall picks since Appel elected to remain at Stanford University in 2012.

"We definitely have some work to do," DelliCarri said. "We're very hopeful in getting something done and then moving forward and starting Shane's career."

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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