With the draft now four short months away, it's clearly time to preview some of the players the Pittsburgh Pirates could take in the 2014 first year amateur draft. The team selects 25th overall this year, which is refreshing just to type.
Here are some players who might find there way to the Buccos late in the first round and could fill some voids in the minor league system.
Sean Newcomb, LHP
Newcomb, a left-handed pitcher who is currently a junior at the University of Hartford, would instantly become one of the top pitching prospects in the system. More importantly, he would provide the team with a starting pitching prospect who tosses from the left side of the mound. The system is chalk full of right handed pitching prospects throughout, but lack a major force from the left side. The Pirates traditionally use two, if not three, left handed pitchers in their rotation, as lefties have a decided advantage at PNC Park. Francisco Liriano, Jeff Locke and Wandy Rodriguez have all benefited from playing within the confines of PNC.
According to MLB.com, the lefty set a school record with 92 strikeouts in 72 innings last spring in the Cape Cod League, despite battling mononucleosis. He stands at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds and works between 90-94 mph while reaching a top speed of 97 mph. He has an exceptional slider that he combines with a curveball and changeup, an impressive repertoire for a collegiate pitcher. While still learning to properly repeat his delivery, few from the left side ever reach that velocity.
Brandon FInnegan, LHP
Finnegan, a junior left-handed pitcher from Texas Christian University, fits a similar bill as Newcomb. Incredibly, Finnegan didn't pick up a single win in 2013 as he finished the year 0-8.
Yet, the record was not a reflection of the lefty's impressive arsenal. Standing at only 5-foot-11 and weighing 185 pounds, Finnegan has an overpowering fastball that typically sits between 93-95 and can reach near triple digits at times, similar to White Sox pitcher Chris Sale.
As with most prospects at this stage, Finnegan is still looking to refine his delivery, which will lead to improved control. The debate with Finnegan will be to send him through the minors as a starter, or convert him along the way to a relief pitcher, where Finnegan could someday grow to be a closer.
Michael Chavis 3B
While just a senior at Sprayberry High School in Georgia, Chalvis is one of the more impressive third base prospects in the 2014 draft, which is rather thin at the position.
He doesn't command any outstanding trait, but rather has the makings of solid tools across all facets. An opposite type of player compared to Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez, Chavis is more of a line-drive hitter, although he did win a home run derby at the Prefect Game All-America Classic. He commands a strong arm as well, and is more of a sure thing to develop into a very good defensive third baseman with decent offensive abilities. Think Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Martin Prado or Seattle Mariners counterpart Kyle Seager.
Ti'Quan Forbes, SS
Another high school prospect, Forbes is a slender 6-foot-4, 175 pound prospect who has above average speed and base running abilities and can cover plenty of ground at short.
Hailing from Columbia High School in Mississippi, Forbes has some offensive upside as well, and he should see his quick bat-speed translate to more power at higher levels of professional baseball once he adds to his skinny frame.
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