Well I wanted to take one last look at the draft from last week and talk about some of the players that I feel we should try to sign. I also wanted to go over the draft as a whole as well to provide my impressions of how Huntington, Smith, and Co. did.
First off one could clearly see that there was a stark difference in what was going on this year as opposed to last. The prevailing theme, and one many thought would happen, was that signability did not matter. Everyone was going for ability this year. The Pirates proved that immediately in their draft by taking Alvarez. They are going to have to put up some money for him, most likely the most in franchise history.
As far was what the Pirates were able to accomplish in their draft there are a few things that stand out. One was that they were indeed looking for guys that may have fallen due to college commitments. So they took a few risks there. But the rewards for signing some of those players far outweigh any negatives in doing so. Guys like Quinton Miller, Patrick Palmeiro, Zachary Wilson and Robbie Grossman all fit this type.
It was not just guys that had college commitments that fell that they took, they also took one a lot of guys who have an injury problem or issue in their past. Tanner Scheppers is the most well known example of this tactic in the draft. Others include veterans of Tommy John Surgery, T.J Forrest and Owen Brolsma.
As far as the type of pitcher they were looking at it was clearly all about power and speed. Almost every guy they took either has projectable big league velocity or they already have it. We all know that this was critical to Huntington in making his big league roster, hence Evan Meek. I'd have to agree with him, we don't have any real flame throwers in the system so they guys he picked are going to help a lot in that regard.
Finally I'd say that there was also an emphasis on getting guys with a lot of the so called traditional tools. They selected a lot of toolsy players that have a chance to become something special down the line. Many are younger, Juco or high school, so there is some great upside to them.
As for some of my favorite picks in the draft, the first two Alvarez and Scheppers are right there. As much as it seemed foregone conclusion we would take Alvarez I did not want to believe until I saw it. Taking Scheppers was a coup. I just loved the rolling the dice aspect of that pick.
Others that I liked were:
Robbie Grossman and Wesley Freeman, both are great upside prep picks. I would love to have Grossman but it may prove difficult to sign him. Jaron Shepherd is an unbelievable athlete, who also has baseball skills. I think he could be something special. I like what I have heard about Brian Leach, as he has a Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn aspect to his pitching. He throws hard but has trouble with the command. If we can get that fixed or corrected he have a good flame thrower.
TJ Forrest and Ryan Hinson are two college pitchers that I liked in the draft. Both have great histories of success, but Forrest had Tommy John and Hinson just had a bad senior year. I'd keep my eye on the two of them.
Overall I really think they had a solid game plan going into the draft and executed effectively. They wanted to target power, ability, and undervalued players. I think they came away with a pretty solid class as it stands on paper. Now the work begins to sign these guys and get them into our system.
Things are going to be pretty busy with this draft and hopefully we will see them pay up to try to lure some of these kids away from school. If they can convince a few to play pro ball, it will be a huge win for the team. It will be interesting to see how much is paid out to this draft as it will give insight into what is indeed in store for the future. It is a great first step and I think it will bring some much needed talent in the system, but we need due diligence for next year's draft, the international signing period, and in the trade market. The accumulation of talent has just begun and I'd say its off to a good start.