The picks before the Bucs, who are at #9 and #14 in tonight's first round:
1 - RHP Mark Appel (Stanford) to the Astros;
2 - 3B Kris Bryant (San Diego) to the Cubs;
3 - RHP Jonathan Gray (Oklahoma) to the Rockies;
4 - RHP Kohl Stewart (St. Pius X HS) to the Twins;
5 - OF Clint Frazier (Loganville HS) to the Indians;
6 - 3B Colin Moran (North Carolina) to the Marlins;
7 - LHP Trey Ball (New Castle HS) to the Red Sox;
8 - SS Hunter Dozier (Stepen Austin) to the Royals, in the first stretch of the night; he was considered a marginal first round talent.
And the Bucs picked *tada* Austin Meadows, a high school outfielder from Grayson HS in Georgia. The 18 year old lefty is big (6'3", 210) and raw, and requires some coaching up, but was considered by many services to be a potential top five selection. MLB Network's John Hart compared him to Jay Bruce.
He doesn't come with a blowout five tool package, but across the board all his tools are above average to plus, making him a pretty complete player. Meadows is a kid that should bat for average (he hit .535 with 14 doubles, a triple, four HRs and 28 RBI as a senior) and power. He's considered a top notch defender with a chance to stick in center field (he may grow into a corner OF'er), owning the kind of profile that the Pirates look for in their OF candidates. In comparing him to the Pirates' last high round OF prep selection Josh Bell, Jim Callis of Baseball America tweeted that Bell has a better bat, but Meadows has better all-around tools.
The draft went on:
10 - RHP Phil Bickford (Oaks Christian HS) to the Blue Jays;
11 - 1B Dominic Smith (Serra HS) to the Mets;
12 - 1B/3B DJ Peterson (New Mexico) to the Mariners;
13 - OF Hunter Renfroe (Mississppi State) to the Padres.
The Bucs next pick was catcher Reese McGuire from Kentwood High School in Washington, who many had going to Pittsburgh as the ninth selection, so the brass should be happy with their early haul. Meadows fell to them yet they still got their original man. He hit .436 with 13 doubles, three triples, four home runs and 20 RBI in his final prep season. McGuire is also an 18 year old lefty hitter (throws right) who is 6'1", 210 pounds.
He was thought to be by many the top catching prospect in the 2013 draft class, athletic, good technically behind the plate, blessed with a rocket arm and has been calling his own games throughout HS. McGuire will also take some time to percolate through the system.
Now comes the hard part - signing them. Neither will be cheap, and both have major college scholarships in their pockets. The slot amount for Meadows is $3,029,600, and for McGuire it's $2,569,800, so let's hope that's in their price range...but don't be surprised if it's not, especially in Meadows' case.
The Pirates continued their quest for upside players rather than going the safer college route. There's more risk and time involved from draft to the show for prep players, but it's the road that the smaller revenue clubs have to travel to become successful.