According to a report published in today's Bangor Daily News, scouts from the Pirates have displayed significant interest in outfielder Taylor Lewis from the University of Maine. Lewis is a college junior from Connecticut who bats from the left side and throws with his left hand. He's one of four captains for the Black Bears this year, and he mainly plays center field. Listed at 6-foot and 200 pounds, he was one of his team's best offensive performers in 2010 (.369/.428/.626, with 21 SB in 22 attempts), but his play has dropped off somewhat this year (.288/.370/.420, with 20 SB in 24 attempts). He is also the current holder of Maine's record for career triples, with 20.
The BDN article indicates that Lewis could be drafted in the first ten rounds, and Baseball America agrees with that assessment . BA rates Lewis as the fifth-best 2011 draft prospect in "Upper New England" (i.e. Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont). They tout his speed (including a 6.5 second time in the 60-yard dash), his athleticism (including an offer to play football at Boston College), and his defense in center field. They also note that his throwing arm is very weak, and that he shows less power in games than in batting practice (due to a misguided approach that they feel could be corrected).
Even if the report is true, the mere fact that the Pirates are interested in Lewis doesn't necessarily mean that he'll end up as one of our draftees. Some other team may well like him more, and be doing a better job of keeping their interest out of the press. Nevertheless, these types of reports do sometimes offer a glimpse of the future, and as such are worth noting and keeping in mind on draft day.
Below the cut is a video interview with Lewis from 2010.