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Pirates select high school pitcher Gunnar Hoglund at 36

ALICE HERDEN | Special to the Tampa Bay Times

In the after 11 pm round, after the TV cameras were turned off, the Pirates selected a pair of high school players with Division I commitments, Gunnar Hoglund from Florida and Braxtan Aschcraft from Texas.

With the 36th pick overall, and the first of the Competitive Balance Round A, the Pirates selected right-handed pitcher Gunnar Hoglund, who stands 6-4 and weighs 210 pounds and turned 18 five months ago. While not pitching, Hoglund has played third base, showing good power. He played for Fivay Hgh School in Hudson, Florida, just north of St. Petersburg, and had already graduated earlier in the year from Dayspring Christian Academy, which doesn’t have a baseball team. He has a verbal commitment to Ole Miss.

Hoglund sits in the low 90’s and has touched 96 with at least an average curve. He hates to walk batters and fulfilled his quest of not issuing any free passes in the regular season, although he did give up a pair in a losing effort in the playoffs. In his Junior year he walked 8 and struck out 86 in 50 13 innings, then as a Senior compiled a 0.27 ERA with 2 walks and 105 K’s in 46 23 innings, punching out 58% of the batters he faced.

Notes from Kiley McDaniel at FanGraphs

Hoglund was a solid name to monitor from last summer, sitting 88-91 mph with a soft curveball but a clean arm and projectable frame. That projection came quickly, as Hoglund hit 96 mph in a couple early starts and then all the scouting heat came rushing in. I saw him on a colder night working 90-93 mph, a tick or two below where he was the week before and week after I was there. He had consistent above-average life on the heater, and you could easily project his 76-80 mph curveball to above average as well.

He didn’t throw a changeup in the game, but it looked like it had average potential in warmups, and while the competition he faces in the spring isn’t that strong, Hoglund currently has an 87:0 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His frame is near ideal at about 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, and his arm is a little late to catch up with his delivery but that’s more of a timing issue than a fatal flaw. Hoglund is a two-way threat with a smooth lefty swing and is a good student, so the signability is rumored to be in the seven figures to keep him from Ole Miss. That said, he’s now in the mix for the second round, where his price could be met.

From Perfect Game in 2017

Big and strong athletic build. Crossfire delivery with a closed front side, high 3/4’s arm slot, hides the ball well, could get over his front side more consistently, creates angle to the plate. Fastball topped out at 92 mph, threw strikes, mostly straight but the ball jumps on hitters due to the deception in his delivery. Curveball has good tightness and depth, has a feel for his curveball. Very hard to hit when he’s getting over his front side and is down in the zone. Has a chance as a two-way player, nice swing with bat speed and strength behind hit, spread stance with a short and direct path, handles the ball well and lets his strength work for him. Very good student, verbal commitment to Mississippi.