NICK BUCKNER, CORNER OUTFIELDER
|Born: August 9, 1995
Height: 6′ 1″
Drafted: 14th Round, 419th Overall, 2013
How Acquired: Draft
High School: North Shore HS (TX)
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Buckner was regarded when drafted as having good raw power and a quick bat. He’d shown the ability to make hard contact thus far, but scouts weren’t sure whether he’d be able to handle higher quality pitching. The Pirates announced him as a center fielder, but he profiles better as a corner player due to just adequate speed and arm strength, and in fact he has yet to play center as a pro. He had a commitment to the University of Houston, but Baseball America considered him signable. He came to a deal with the Pirates at the end of June for a little above the slot amount.
Buckner not surprisingly struggled in his pro debut, although he came on strong at the end, batting .400 in his last seven games. His main problem was LHPs; he posted a .361 OPS against them and .712 against RHPs. The high K rate obviously is an issue. Buckner played all but a couple games in right.
Buckner served as the primary right fielder at Bristol, although he also was the DH in 21 games. He made progress at the plate, hitting some doubles and greatly increasing his walk rate, but he struck out at an alarming rate, especially considering that he had no HRs. He posted a .755 OPS against RHPs, but only .583 against LHPs, mainly due to having no extra base hits against the latter.
Buckner returned to Bristol, where he was again the primary right fielder. He had largely the same season as the year before, except his walk rate dropped while he continued to strike out at an alarming rate. For the second straight year, he hit no HRs.
Buckner seems to be stagnating. An outfielder who strikes out a third of the time with no over-the-fence power faces a rough road. He may transition to a lower-level organizational role.
|2016: Minor league contract
|Signing Bonus: $135,000
MiLB Debut: 2013
MiLB FA Eligible: 2019
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: 2017
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 8, 2013: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 14th round, 419th overall pick; signed on June 29.|