The Pirates have been locked onto Florida high school shortstop Manny Machado for weeks and it remains all but certain that they will select the 17-year-old with their first-round pick, the second overall, on Monday in Major League Baseball’s First-Year Draft.
The right-handed hitting Machado batted .639 with 12 home runs and 56 RBIs for Brito Private School in Hialeah, a Miami suburb, this spring. He had 55 hits in 86 at-bats. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder also scored 43 runs, stole 17 bases and hit 27 doubles and five triples.
Machado is represented by agent Scott Boras, who is famous for getting big-money contracts for his clients. The Pirates, though, believe they will be able to strike a deal for Machado, who has also signed a letter of intent to play at Florida International.
If something would cause the Pirates to think they might be unable to sign Machado between now and Monday then their fallback plan is All-America left-handed pitcher Drew Pomeranz from the University of Mississippi. Pirates general manager Neal Huntington has reportedly scouted all of Pomeranz’s outings in recent weeks.
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Pomeranz was named the Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year this season and has gone has gone 8-2 with a 2.21 ERA in 15 starts. In 93 2/3 innings, he has allowed 64 hits, walked 46 and struck out 134.
Pomeranz, 21, is scheduled to start Friday night when the Rebels (38-22) open regional play in the NCAA Tournament by facing St. John’s (40-18) at Charlottesville, Va. Ironically, Pomeranz will face the Red Storm’s Kyle Hansen, brother of injured Pirates pitcher Craig Hansen.
The Pirates have also not ruled out taking high school pitcher Jameson Taillon.