If you’ve followed the draft coverage here, you know the name Marcelo Mayer. He’s been at least mentioned since the beginning, but with the draft being pushed back to July this year, you’re hearing his name a lot more than you would in the past. He has basically dominated the mock drafts recently, going to the Pittsburgh Pirates in an overwhelming majority of them. That didn’t change today with two new mock drafts released. Jim Callis at MLB Pipeline and Keith Law at The Athletic both predicted the popular prep shortstop to go to the Pirates with the first over pick when the draft starts in just under three weeks.
We had a mock draft a few days ago that had Mayer going to the Pirates. Not only was it noted in that mock draft, but I mentioned that it has been noted often now, the Pirates don’t seem to have a favorite. I don’t necessarily believe that, but it can be a sort of truth, in that they would be perfectly fine with any of 4-5 players with this top pick because there are no franchise-changing players or consensus best players. The team who is picking fourth this year (in my opinion) will be getting someone who could have went first for the right price. With no clear top player, the industry opinion that the Pirates will go for the best deal among the top players, then have extra money in their draft bonus pool to spread around for other picks, seems like the best game plan.
I also think that drafting for need would be a smart decision here, when normally it wouldn’t be the wise choice. The top four players seem to be Mayer, Jordan Lawlar, Jack Leiter and Henry Davis. While Leiter would be a quicker potential help than two prep shortstops, the Pirates are seriously lacking in catching talent, which Davis would instantly provide. They have plenty of pitching talent spread throughout the system. So if you accept that those are the four top players and there is really no separation between them, then drafting for need is perfectly acceptable. The Pirates might not feel that same way about the cluster at the top and there being no true #1 talent, but it seems to be the industry opinion at this point.