MLB teams scout all kinds of players during the pre-draft period, many more than they have the ability or inclination to choose or sign. Nevertheless, early interest from Pirates scouts does necessarily presage their draft day selection, and news reports of interest from Pirates scouts have on several past occasions predicted picks that ended up being made - see Taylor Lewis and Dace Kime for two examples. The following are some players from the 2017 draft class in whom Pirates scouts have been reported to have at least some level of interest. None of these names are likely to be called tonight, but file them away for future reference, just in case.
Igor Baez, catcher, Flagler College (St. Augustine, Florida):
Saints baseball coach Dave Barnett expects the senior from Ocoee High School to be selected in the late rounds of the three-day draft that begins tonight.
"The Cubs and Pirates have shown a lot of interest in him," Barnett said of the 6-foot-1, 185-pound catcher, who hit .297 with seven home runs and eight doubles this season.
- Brent Woronoff, The St. Augustine Record, June 11, 2017
Baez is a right-handed hitting catcher and a senior from Flagler College, a D-II school. He has hit for a solid average with a little bit of power, and his coach describes him as "one of the best receivers I’ve ever had". His profile on Flagler's site mentions that his favorite athlete is Roberto Clemente and his favorite artist is Wiz Khalifa, so he certainly sounds like the kind of guy who would enjoy being a Pirate.
Andrew Eyster, outfielder, Forest High School (Ocala, Florida):
The recent high school graduates most likely to be selected are Forest’s 6-3, 200-pound righthander Hunter McMullen, a Florida signee, and 6-3, 190-pound outfielder Andrew Eyster, a Santa Fe College signee.
Eyster said he has heard from around 20 teams with some requesting he fill out information forms and others like the Toronto Blue Jays, Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals working him out and/or making in-home visits.
"You never really know, but I have been told I could be a second-day pick between the fifth and 10th round," said Eyster, who hit .530 with 35 RBIs and six home runs to earn the Star-Banner’s 2017 player of the year award.
- John Patton, The Ocala Star-Banner, June 11, 2017
Eyster bats from the right side and throws with his right arm. It seems as though he might want above-slot money.
Graham Spraker, right-handed pitcher, Quincy University (Quincy, Illinois):
Dominic Miles, center fielder, Quincy University (Quincy, Illinois):
It's a longshot that either of the recent Quincy University graduates gets drafted, but several teams have monitored their progress and expressed interest.
Scouts from the Chicago White Sox, New York Mets and Toronto Blue Jays visited QU Stadium this spring. The Pittsburgh Pirates had a scout at the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament. Spraker caught the eye of a Texas Rangers scout during the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship.
- Matt Shuckerman, The Herald-Whig, June 3, 2017
Shuckerman doesn't seem clear on which of these two seniors the Pirates' scout was watching, so I provided information on both. Spraker is a starting pitcher listed at 6'3'' and 200 lbs, and Shuckerman's article says that he works in the low 90s and has touched as high as 96. His walk rate seems a bit high, so he may have issues with command and/or control. Miles bats from the left side and throws with his right arm, and he's listed at 6'2'' and 195 lbs. He's a speedy leadoff type without much power, but good contact ability and on-base skills. Shuckerman says that on defense, Miles has good hands and good range, but a below-average arm.
Nick Vichio, right-handed pitcher, Missouri Baptist University (St. Louis, Missouri):
The most important pair of eyeballs at Harris Field probably belonged to someone with no dog in Friday's fight - a scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Of course, the scout was enamoured with Vichio's four strikeouts in 11/3 innings, but the number that also caught his eye was the one appearing on his radar gun: 96 miles per hour, the speed of the fastest of Vichio's pitches in his team's 5-3 win over the Eagles on the biggest stage in the NAIA.
- Byron Edelman, The Lewiston Tribune, 5/28/17
Vichio is a relief pitcher who transferred to MBU, a NAIA school, for the 2017 season after three years at D-I Saint Louis University. He had surgery for a torn labrum in 2014, and MBU's team page lists him as a junior, so I'd assume that he had a medical redshirt in one of his seasons at SLU. Vichio served as MBU's closer this season and helped pitch them to a slot in the postseason, putting up a 1.89 ERA and 52/6 K/BB in 33 1/3 innings.
Justin Vought, catcher, Wyoming Valley West High School, Plymouth, PA:
Since Valley West’s season ended, Vought has been on a U.S. tour of sorts, performing in front of scouting directors, general managers and front office personnel in Kansas City, Texas, Pittsburgh, Miami and Tampa to work out for the Yankees.
- Steve Bennett, The Citizens' Voice, June 11, 2017
Vought is a right-handed batter, and is listed at 6'3'' and 195 lbs. According to Bennett's piece, the strengths of Vought's game are his "arm strength, his power and his ability to run well for a catcher". Vought is a Maryland commit, and there is some film of him here.