With the 19th pick overall in the first round of the 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft, Pirates’ general manager Neal Huntington selected shortstop Kevin Newman from the University of Arizona Wildcats.
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The 6-foot-1, 180-pound junior bats right and throws right. The 21-year-old is the only player to win back-to-back Cape Cod Summer League batting titles. The Poway, California native hit .375 in 2013 and .385 last summer. Newman hit .370 with 19 doubles and 36 RBI at Arizona this year.
According to MLB.com, he is one of the “best pure hitters in the 2015 college class.” Baseball America points out that he is “not flashy in the field, but he has good instincts that maximize his arm, range, and footwork.”
It is the second year in a row that the Pirates chose a shortstop with their top pick. Last year, the Bucs went with shortstop Cole Tucker from Mountain Pointe High School in Ahwatukee, Arizona with the 24th pick overall.
Newman is the first Arizona player taken by the Pirates since righthander Mike Colla back in 2008. Colla is playing for the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits in the Tampa Bay Rays farm system.
The first two rounds are being conducted Monday night. Next up will be rounds 3 through 10 starting at 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday with the last 30 rounds getting underway at noon ET on Wednesday. It is the 50th anniversary of the MLB Draft and it is being held at the MLB Network’s studios in Secaucus, New Jersey.
UPDATE: The Pirates chose third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes from Concordia Lutheran High School in Tomball, Texas, near Houston with the 32nd pick overall in the 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft. Pittsburgh obtained a Compensation Pick at No. 32 because the Toronto Blue Jays signed free agent Russell Martin.
The 6-foot-1, 207-pound University of Tennessee commit bats right and throws right. According to MLB.com, the 17-year-old Hayes “focuses on hitting line drives from gap to gap.”
Shawn Brody at BaseballEssential.com points out that he had a “strong summer showing with the gold-medal-winning Team USA at the 18U Pan-American games, as well as an appearance in the 2014 Under Armour All-America game at Wrigley Field.”
His father Charlie was a San Francisco Giants fourth-round selection out of high school in Mississippi and he played 14 seasons in the Majors.
Pittsburgh closed out the first day of the 2015 MLB Draft by selecting shortstop Kevin Kramer from UCLA with the 62nd pick overall in the second round.
The 6-foot, 194-pound redshirt junior bats left and throws right. The Turlock, California native hit .323 with 34 RBI this season with the Bruins. According to MLB.com, Kranmer is “a solid average runner and has good defensive actions overall, with good range and hands.”