The Pittsburgh Pirates transformed the second day of the MLB Draft into a sudden spike in demand for right-gave pitching.
In the wake of taking New Mexico State shortstop Nick Gonzales in the first round and South Carolina right-hander Carmen Mlodzinski in the serious equalization round Wednesday night, the Pirates on Thursday picked three back to back righty pitchers: Southern California prep star Jared Jones in the second round (No. 44), Division III closer Nick Garcia in the third (No. 79) and Appalachian State reliever Jack Hartman in the fourth (No. 108).
The draft was abbreviated from 40 rounds to five adjusts this year on account of the coronavirus pandemic and was led for all intents and purposes. The Pirates have a $11,154,500 draft pool to sign players. Undrafted players can sign for $20,000 bonuses.
The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Jones, who featured at La Mirada High School and is a University of Texas select, has a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and an or more slider however needs to chip away at his order.
Jones was 2-1 with a 0.82 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 17 innings this spring before his season was halted as a result of the coronavirus crisis. He was 7-1 with a 0.77 ERA as a lesser and 7-2 with a 0.80 ERA as a sophomore.
“He’s got exceptional rhythm in his delivery,” MLB Network investigator Dan O’Dowd said on the draft communicate. “Some effort in his delivery. He’s a great competitor who started to make big strides in his fastball command. There’s simply a lot to like about this kid. He’s got one of the higher upsides of anyone in this year’s draft.”
Garcia was 9-0 with a 0.64 ERA and recorded 12 spares as the closer for Chapman University’s 2019 Division III national victors and had a 2.00 ERA with 36 strikeouts and seven strolls more than five beginnings and 27 innings in the 2019 and ’20 seasons consolidated.
O’Dowd raved about Garcia’s “huge upside,” contrasted him with John Smoltz and said the Pirates “are getting truly a first-round talent in the third round.”
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Hartman recorded 22 strikeouts and four spares in 12 innings this spring. As a lesser, he had 26 strikeouts in 21⅔ innings in 20 appearances.
Hartman was a position player in his initial two seasons, as a first year recruit at Tallahassee Community College and a sophomore at College of Central Florida.