In a hopeless draft, it was unclear who the Pirates would go with until the selection was announced.
Hailed as the best varsity hitter in the draft, Davis has exploded at home this year, hitting 0.370 / 0.482 0.663 with 15 home runs and more walks than strikeouts in 50 games. Known as a first defense receiver out of high school, Davis hit 0.280 with three homers in freshman in 2019 and was hitting well before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Player No.4 on ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel Top 200 Drafts scoreboard, Davis has top-notch arm strength, which McDaniel rates as an 80 on the 20-80 scale, although the rest of its defense needs work.
The Texas Rangers caught Vanderbilt right-hander Jack Leiter with the second pick, netting a right-hander with a mid-90s fastball and two overpowered breaking pitches. Leiter is the son of former Big League All-Star pitcher Al Leiter. His repertoire could play near the top of a big league rotation. He was 11-4 with a 2.13 ERA with the Commodores, including a no-hit against South Carolina. He struck out 179 catches in 110 innings.
The Detroit Tigers went with Oklahoma high school pitcher Jackson Jobe at No.3, a year after taking on Arizona State slugger Spencer Torkelson with the first pick. Jobe’s father, Brandt, is a PGA golfer who now competes in the Champions Tour. Jobe was slated to be the first high school pitcher drafted after going 9-0 with a 0.13 ERA at Heritage Hall. It has a mix of deep heights, including a slider that has been rated as one of the best in the draft class.
There had been speculation that the Pirates would go with one of the best shortstops in high school, Marcelo Mayer or Jordan Lawlar, at No.1, and Davis said the Pirates informed him he would be the first. choice only one hour before the draft.
“I really wanted to share with my family, but I didn’t because I was told not to,” he said.
He described the past 24 hours as “frustrating, because you don’t really control anything, but exciting at the same time, your next big step in your career is about to begin. I did a lot of work to get there. . Everyone in my life has helped me get to where I am now and I’m excited to continue. “
The AL East leaders Boston Red Sox took fourth and selected southpaw Mayer, who drew comparisons to Los Angeles Dodgers star Corey Seager.
“I saw it coming,” Mayer said of his fall against the Red Sox. “I knew they were high on me. I’m just super blessed to be a part of the organization. “
Mayer hit 14 home runs in his senior year at Eastlake High School in California, a little short of the school record set by 2000 No.1 pick Adrian Gonzalez. Marcelo produced .392 with 45 RBIs and 46 RBIs.
The Baltimore Orioles followed with Sam Houston outfielder Colton Cowser, who impressed with his skill and performance despite playing at a smaller college. He was named Southland Conference Player of the Year after hitting .374 with 16 home runs, 52 RBIs and 61 runs scored.
The Pirates took first place overall for the first time since taking on Gerrit Cole in 2011, by far the most successful of their previous four caps. Their other top picks were infielder Jeff King (1986) and right-hander Kris Benson (1996) and Bryan Bullington (2002).
Davis becomes Louisville’s second wide receiver drafted in the first round in recent years after Dodgers wide receiver Will Smith. the last wide receiver drafted first was Joe Mauer, picked up by the Minnesota Twins in 2001. Only three other receivers went with the first pick – Steve Chilcott in 1966, Mike Ivie in 1970 and Danny Goodwin, who was drafted twice first, in 1971 and 1975.
The first pick in the draft has a slot value of $ 8,415,300, and it’s possible the Pirates made a pre-draft deal with Davis to sign for less than that in order to save money for later. in the draft. Pittsburgh’s total draft pool is $ 14,394,000, the highest in the draft. The Astros, who lost their first and second round picks as a penalty for their sign-stealing scandal, have the smallest pool at $ 2,940,600.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced the Bellco Theater selections in Denver. Major League Baseball has moved the draft from its long-running June slot to the July All-Star weekend in an effort to better showcase its future stars.
After the league reduced the draft from 40 rounds to five last year in response to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s event will take place in 20 rounds spread over three days.
The draft opened on Sunday night with the first 36 caps in play. Fans were allowed to watch the event in person for the first time, and a handful of spectators booed loudly as Manfred took the stage. Previous releases had taken place at MLB Network’s studio in Secaucus, New Jersey, which only had room for the media and small groups of friends and family.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.