Steve from Saint Louis asked Jim Callis why Deven Merrero was still considered a first round prospect, given his offensive struggles. Was Steve undervaluing defense, or do scouts really think he will be able to hit as a pro?
Jim Callis: Undervaluing the defense of a player who can stick at shortstop at the major league level—there aren't many of those in a typical draft. Marrero has had some success hitting in summer ball, and some teams believe he'll provide quality defense at short and hit decently. He's a lock first-rounder, could go in the top 10.
It appears to have been decided on BD that Marrero can't hit, that any interest in him reflects either idiocy by the front office or a scouting failure. While the Pirates' front office is clearly capable of making a mistake, let me offer another possibility. This year his BABIP is 283. As a freshman it was 437 and as a sophomore it was 358. While 437 seems ridiculously high (and probably reflects the bats then in use), 283 seems ridiculously low for a player with decent speed. Most of Merrero's other peripheral stats do not look bad, so another possibility is that he's just hitting in bad luck at the plate this year.
If a player with more upside is available, I'm not advocating for Marerro. But I'd like to suggest that the discussion here has been rather free of analysis and the only data ever discussed is this year's performance. In assessing that it seems reasonable look at other performance and to note that he hit 328 with wood bats in the Cape Cod League and led Team USA with his 19 hits and 14 RBI in 14 games (hitting 322).