Thursday, June 5, 2014

And It's...Cole Tucker

Well, the Bucs threw a bit of a change up to the local mock draft community, GW included, and selected 17 year old SS Cole Tucker in the first real reach of the draft. Baseball America had him ranked #84, so Pittsburgh's brass saw something the others didn't in the lanky infielder.

He played on 2013's gold medal 18-and-under U.S. National Team and had a strong showing in the recent National High School Invitational games, which may have helped pump up his draft slot. Many thought that higher rated Jacob Gatewood or Monte Harrison would be the Pirate selection. Neal Huntington said “We felt he was...the best player available for our board. We did not think he would get to us at 39." Take that, BA!

Tucker is 6'4", 185 pounds, comes out of Mountain Pointe HS in Arizona, and he has a commitment to Arizona. The switch hitter batted .404 with eight doubles, four triples, five HRs, 30 RBI & 13 stolen bases this past season. Like Neil Walker, he's a better hitter from the left side than the right; his swing gets long against lefties.

For a tall kid, he's more a gap guy than banger, though with that frame, you can probably project some power to come with maturity. He's also shown some versatility, playing both second and the outfield, although he is projected to be able to stick at short. His arm is strong and his speed is average, but with an excellent first step in the field.

The basis for the pick is probably projectabilty; he's young and has a frame that should carry some extra muscle as he gets older. He's also a fit for a Bucco need; they're awfully thin in middle infielders, especially in the upper levels. And we can't forget the Pirate preference to go over slot with later picks; they might be able to shave a few shekels from their first round allotment of $1,925,500. If nothing else, they probably won't have any signing issues with Tucker.

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