The weeks leading up to the MLB Draft are filled with plenty of speculation, and concrete news is tough to come by. Well here's some. This is a list of players we're pretty certain the Pirates have shown at least some level of concrete interest in. With the exception of Jon Harris (who's a pretty big deal), these guys look like potential late-rounders, but this kind of deep Googling has sniffed out actual picks in the past -- prior to the 2010 draft, Vlad noted that the Pirates were scouting Dace Kime, who they then selected in the eighth round. Vlad also found out prior to the 2011 draft that the Bucs were interested in Taylor Lewis, who ended up being their 10th-round pick. So keep these names in mind as the second and third days of the draft unfold.
- Missouri State pitcher Jon Harris says the Pirates and Cubs have been in frequent contact with him. Baseball America ranks him the No. 25 talent in the draft, so he could be an option for the Bucs at either No. 19. BA's latest mock had him going to the Tigers at No. 22, although he could go significantly higher.
- Evansville outfielder Kevin Kaczmarski has worked out for the Pirates and other teams. BA ranks him the No. 371 pick in the draft. He could be an option for something like the eighth through 10th rounds, especially since he's a college senior.
- The Bucs have spoken to North Dakota pitcher Andrew Thome, who BA ranks the No. 422 prospect in the draft. Thome says the Astros have shown the most interest. Like Kaczmarski, Thome is a senior, so he could be in the mix for one of the Pirates' picks late on the second day of the draft.
- The Pirates have spoken to Montana State senior infielder Brody Miller, who (like all the rest of the players we're about to mention) is unranked in BA's Top 500. He's small, at 5-foot-8, and doesn't come from a major program, so my guess is he would be a late-round pick.
- The Pirates have scouted Brooklyn high school shortstop Juan Torres. He's committed to Faulkner Community College in Alabama (the school that produced Kyle McPherson, incidentally), so he could be the sort of high school kid a team could take in the later rounds who actually might sign.
- The Bucs have visited with Minnesota high school pitcher Jake Irvin. He's committed to play at Oklahoma, so he'd probably require a relatively significant bonus.
- Ripon College senior infielder Michael Polcyn and other players participated in an invitation-only workout that the Pirates attended.
- Hopewell Area High School graduate and Francis Marion University utilityman Matt Rubino worked out twice for the Pirates, who believe his future is at catcher.