In Jonathan Mayo’s latest mock, the MLB Draft plays out roughly probably expected through the first seven picks, with catcher Mike Zunino going to the Mariners at No. 3 and Carlos Correa, the last of the seven top players, going to the Padres at No. 7. That means that teammates and high school pitchers Max Fried and the injured Lucas Giolito are the highest-upside players available to the Pirates. Mayo has the Bucs going with Fried.
If the Bucs go the college route, it could be shortstop Deven Marrero or right-hander Chris Stratton, but Fried’s upside might be too much to pass up.
I would hope the Pirates would agree with that logic. I don’t think they’re going to take Marrero, but he and Stratton would both be reaches at No. 8. Fried has a lesser chance of reaching his ceiling than those players, but his upside is greater, and a team like the Pirates needs to try to find stars in the first round.
For more on the draft, check out Minor League Ball.