With the nineteenth pick in the draft, the Pirates have have selected shortstop Kevin Newman out of the University of Arizona. The junior has never been drafted previously, and mock drafts had him going between 20 and 23, with the A's and the Cardinals reportedly showing interest.
The 21-year-old Newman achieved a feat that no one had ever accomplished before, winning two batting titles in the Cape Cod League, and hit .375 in the summer of 2013, while raising that figure to .385 last season.
Being a line drive hitter improved Newman's draft stock, who's now considered one of the best pure hitters in this year's college class. There are questions about Newman's power, as his contact oriented approach diminishes whatever power he has. In 227 at-bats this year, Newman hit .370 with just two home runs; the only two of his college career.
Newman's defense also raises some questions about him sticking at shortstop in the long-term, with average range and arm strength prompting a move to second base.
Newman may be a long-term solution at shortstop for the Pirates, who have Jung-ho Kang currently in the mix at the position. The team also selected a shortstop with their first-round pick last season, taking Cole Tucker with the 24th overall pick.