BELLEVILLE - With the 67th pick in this year's MLB Draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected Zander Mueth, a recent graduate of Belleville East High School.
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The 6-foot-6 right-handed 18-year-old pitcher was committed to Mississippi, with hopes now of making it to The Show.
In Mueth's final season as a Lancer, he made 10 starts, earning an 0-4 record against some tough competition. He and fellow senior Dylan Mannino were quite the one-two punch in the team's rotation.
Mueth struck out 62 batters his senior year with a 2.63 ERA and 1.26 WHIP.
He was drafted in the competitive balance section of the second round and confirmed that he planned on signing a professional contract with the Pirates.
He will opt out of heading to Ole Miss and instead will receive an estimated $1.13 million sign-on bonus.
Mueth came in at the No. 83 spot on the MLB's top draft prospects.
He bolsters a 92-94 mph fastball which at times can be as fast as 97 mph. He also throws an 80-82 mph slider that sweeps in the opposite direction of his fastball. He began working on a third pitch option in the form of a mid-80s changeup.
Mueth's form and pitching arsenal are already being compared to another previous first-round draft pick, Tanner Houck.
Houck, a product of Collinsville High School, was picked 24th overall in the 2017 draft by the Boston Red Sox and made his major league debut on September 15, 2020.
Both Houck and Mueth are low-slot right-handers with similar builds, making the comparisons "inevitable" according to the MLB.
Thanks to Mueth's low arm slot, he creates more horizontal movement on his pitches on average, deceiving batters.
Mueth was Pittsburgh's third pick in this year's draft after getting right-handed pitcher Paul Skenes first overall out of Louisiana State University (LSU) and shortstop Mitch Jebb from Michigan State University with the 42nd overall pick.
The Pirates seemed to be focusing a lot on pitching in this year's draft, selecting nine pitchers in their first 11 picks.
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