Pirates Pick Davis 1st; Rangers to Leiter in 2nd

The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Louisville catcher Henry Davis, considered the best college hitter, with the first pick in the amateur baseball draft.

In a draft without a clear top prospect, it wasn’t clear who the Pirates would go for until the pick was announced.

Second, the Texas Rangers selected Vanderbilt right-hander Jack Leiter, the son of former Major League Baseball player Al Leiter.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the first pick Sunday at the Bellco Theater in Denver. Major League Baseball moved the draft from its old June job to the July All-Star weekend in an effort to better showcase its future stars.

Davis has great power and an even bigger arm, eliminating 46% of potential base stealers, to become a finalist for the Award. Buster posey as the best defensive receiver in college baseball.

He hit .370 and led the Cardinals with 15 home runs, and his .482 on-base percentage was the best in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

After the league cut the draft from 40 rounds to five last year in response to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s event will last 20 rounds spread over three days.

The draft opened Sunday night with the first 36 picks available. Fans were allowed to see the event in person for the first time, with some spectators booing loudly as Manfred took the stage. Previous drafts were held at the MLB Network studio in Secaucus, NJ, which only had space for the media and small groups of friends and family.

The Pirates chose first overall for the first time since they led Gerrit cole in 2011, by far the most successful of his previous four top picks. His other top picks were infielder Jeff King (1986) and right-handed pitchers Kris Benson (1996) and Bryan Bullington (2002).

The top pick in the draft has a starting value of $ 8,415,300.

Pittsburgh’s total draft fund is $ 14,394,000, the highest in the draft. The Houston Astros, who lost their first- and second-round picks as penalties to the 2017 and 2018 signal theft scandal, have the smallest group at $ 2,940,600.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.