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Pirates Mock Draft: Experts Predict Pittsburgh’s 2024 First-Round Pick

The Pirates own the No. 9 overall selection in Round 1

The Pittsburgh Pirates hit the jackpot in the 2023 MLB Draft.

Not only did they win the inaugural draft lottery, awarding them the No. 1 overall pick for the second time in three years. They used the selection to land Paul Skenes, who wasted no time in making an immense impact on the franchise.

Skenes just earned a National League All-Star selection in his rookie season and already looks like one of the best pitchers in baseball, breathing new life into an organization that’s on the upswing while competing for a playoff spot in 2024.

Skenes’ don’t grow on trees. He was a truly elite college prospect after dominating at LSU. So, one shouldn’t expect the Pirates’ next first-round pick to burst onto the scene in quite the same manner.

That said, Pittsburgh owns the No. 9 overall pick in the 2024 MLB Draft. And that selection should afford the Pirates the opportunity to infuse more high-upside talent into their impressive farm system.

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The MLB draft is unique in that most teams don’t choose players based on need. After all, Skenes is an outlier, as most prospects spend multiple years developing in the minors before debuting in the majors. Who’s to say what a team will need in 2026, for instance?

But mock drafts remain a popular exercise this time of year. So, let’s join the fun by looking at who draft experts think the Pirates will pluck from the board at No. 9 this Sunday, along with their explanations.

Jonathan Mayo, MLB Pipeline (July 4): James Tibbs, OF, Florida State
If they want to go the high school hitter route, the Pirates will definitely consider (Konnor) Griffin or (Bryce) Rainer here. They’ll also consider Tennessee’s Christian Moore as an alternative college bat and East Carolina right-hander Trey Yesavage should they shift focus to a college pitcher.

Carlos Collazo, Baseball America (July 1): Braden Montgomery, OF, Texas A&M
There’s a lot of noise about the Pirates scouting up the top two high schoolers pretty heavily. (Konnor) Griffin is still on the board in this scenario, but so is Montgomery and (Nick) Kurtz, both of whom they have been linked to. If Montgomery doesn’t get taken by Oakland, Kansas City or St. Louis, this feels like one of his most likely homes inside the top 10.

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Kiley McDaniel, ESPN (June 19): James Tibbs, OF, Florida State
For some teams, Tibbs wins a straight up head-to-head with (Nick) Kurtz, (Braden) Montgomery, Christian Moore or Ryan Waldschmidt as a power bat, not even factoring in price. Pittsburgh has kicked the tires on (Cam) Caminiti but is believed to be locked on college options at this pick, with Tibbs the perceived leader. Idaho high school pitcher Dax Whitney is also targeted by the Pirates for their other Day 1 picks.

Featured image via Dylan Widger/USA TODAY Sports Images