Pirates select three infielders on Day 1

The Pittsburgh Pirates shunned pitchers in the first two rounds of the MLB draft and loaded up on position players.

The Pirates selected Arizona shortstop Kevin Newman with the No. 19 overall pick in the 2015 draft.

“When I found out it was the Pirates, I was ecstatic,” Newman said Monday night. “It hasn’t sunk in to its fullest yet. Still running on fumes now, just really excited.”

One of many notable college shortstops in the class, Newman stands out for his pure hitting ability, above- average speed and potential to stick at shortstop long term. The 21-year-old won’t offer much power at the next level, but he should be a top-of-the-order hitter who gets on a base, makes a lot of contact and steals upwards of 20-25 bases in a given season, while also playing above-average defense at a premium position.

Newman is Winner of back-to-back batting titles in the Cape Cod League, he hit .375 in the summer of 2013, while raising that figure to .385 last season.

“My approach at the plate is a gap-to-gap approach," Newman said. "I don’t try to hit home runs.”

With the 32nd overall selection, their compensation for losing catcher Russell Martin in free agency, the Pirates selected third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes, 18, out of Concordia Lutheran (Texas) High School.

Hayes is the son of Charlie Hayes, a third baseman who spent 14 years in the Majors and played for the Pirates in 1996.

The 6-foot-1, 207-pound Hayes is regarded as an advanced high school hitter, as he closely resembles his father, who was a fourth-round pick by the Giants in 1983.

“I can’t even describe it. It’s like a weight just flew off of my chest,” said Hayes, who watched every pick up to his at a gathering at his father’s facility in Tomball. “I’m just so blessed and so thankful. Thankful for God and thankful for everyone that supported me.”

Hayes hit .436 (41-for-94) with 16 doubles, one triple, three home runs, 27 RBIs and 12 stolen bases during his senior season.

Hayes has committed to the University of Tennessee, but he's considered one of the more signable high school prospects in this year's Draft class.

Newman batted .370/.426/.489 with two home runs, 10 doubles, 22 stolen bases and more walks (20) than strikeouts (15) in 258 plate appearances this spring for Arizona.

The Bucs chose shortstop Cole Tucker in the first round last year and selected outfielder Connor Joe in Compensation Round A.

In 2013, they used a pair of first-round selections on center fielder Austin Meadows and catcher Reese McGuire.

Pittsburgh had pick number 62 in the second round of the draft and again selected an infielder as they tabbed UCLA shortstop Kevin Kramer.

After missing the entire 2014 season because of a torn labrum in his right shoulder, Kramer bounced back this spring, hitting .323 with 7 home runs and 14 doubles. His 82 hits also led the team.

“Obviously sitting out a whole year gives you some perspective,” Kramer said. “You take it for granted. I definitely enjoy baseball a lot more now than I used to.”

Kramer does have a season of eligibility remaining after redshirting in 2004, but he said in April that he anticipated turning pro.


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