With the 22nd pick of the 33rd round (1005th overall) the Pittsburgh Pirates selected big high-school starter Austin Shields
Hometown: Dundas, Ontario
Team: Great Lake Canadians
College Commitment: University of British Columbia
Coaches: Adam Stern, Greg Hamilton, Dave Burton.
Twitter Handle: @austinshields_
Scout: Adam Bourassa
Signed For: $205,000
Rated: 181st (up from 177th) on Baseball America's top 500 combined list ... 307th (down from 260th) on Perfect Game's top 500 list.
Shields is this year’s top prospect from the Great Lakes Canadians, a rising travel program whose alumni list includes 2015 third-round pick Miles Gordon and 2015 11th-round pick Nicholos Hamilton. Shields has been on scouts’ radars for a couple years because of his 6-foot-6 frame and promising arm strength. This spring, Shields took a jump in velocity, peaking at 94 mph and sitting at 88-92.
His best secondary pitch is his slider, which sits in the low 80s and flashes solid-average potential but lacks the consistency to earn an average grade from scouts. Shields will need to work on his delivery to improve his command, which is below-average right now. His stride length varies and his head moves as his arm comes through its three-quarter slot. Shields has some promising ingredients with physicality and two pitches, but he is likely to be a long-term project for the team that takes him. He is committed to British Columbia.
Shields is an extra large right-hander who has slimmed down his big body over the past year and risen up draft boards, although he has had very little exposure in the United States except for the Canadian National Junior Team trips to Florida.
He throws in the low-90s from a high three-quarters arm slot and topped out at 94 mph earlier this spring. Shields also throws a low-80s slider that is still inconsistent but shows potential.
Alexis Brudnicki _ Shields comes from nowhere to become Pirates pick