Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pirates Draft Recap

Major League Baseball held its First Year Player Draft Monday-Wednesday.  The Pirates haul can pretty much be summed up by the following conversation:
--Who did the Pirates take in the draft?
--A righthander....
--Which one?
--All of them. 
The first two picks, Jameson Taillon (tie-own) and Stetson Allie are big, high-upside, hard-throwing high school righties.  Taillon is from Houston, Allie from Lakewood, Ohio.  They are each going to want a boatload to sign.  I'm guessing Taillon, picked #2 overall,  gets $7.5 million and skips out on Rice, while Allie, the 52nd pick, gets $2.5 - $4 million to forego his commitment to UNC.  Nine of the Pirates' first ten picks were righthanders.  OF Mel Rojas, Jr., taken in the third round, was the lone exception.

Now it's a question of getting guys signed.  The Pirates have spent more in the draft the past two years than any team in baseball.  That may be true again this year, but the strategy will have to be tweaked.  Last year they took Tony Sanchez fourth overall and were able to sign him for the suggested slot price of $2.4 million.  Saving money up front allowed them to spend well over slot for some tough-to-sign high school pitchers drafted in later rounds.  It was unconventional, but the early returns are very good.

With this year's top two picks likely to get around $10 million, roughly equal to the team's entire draft budget the past two years, less will be available for later round guys.  The Bucs will probably sign fewer draftees overall this year, but with so many young guys currently in the organization there are less rosters spots available in the minor league affiliates.  Look for the them to focus over quality or quantity, signing no more than 20-25 of their fifty picks.

Here are a couple quotes from draft experts:
They got the two pitchers with the best stuff in the draft in Taillon and Allie.  Those are the type of pitchers their system lacks, potential ace/closer guys.  I'm not the biggest Mel Rojas, Jr. fan, but I like a lot of their later arms too.----Jim Callis, Baseball America
Q: Do you have any thoughts on the Pirates drafting so many RHPs?  How many can you really fit into the organization?
I'm big on balance, so that's why the Pirates aren't at the very top of the list.  However, they've definitely latched on to the idea that successful organizations flood their systems with pitching and let time tell as to who will be the most successful.  I respect them for not buying into the left-handed pitcher hype, as if being left-handed with equal stuff makes someone better.  They got some impact arms, and when you combine that with 2 previous years of drafting arms, I think they're really building well.----Andy Seiler, MLB Bonus Baby and author of the 2010 MLB Draft Notebook
Praise has been effusive for the Pirates draft this year, but more than any other sport, the MLB Draft takes years to play out.  High schoolers can take four, five, six years to develop.  TINSTAAPP (There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect) is many talent evaluators' favorite saying for a reason.  So many things can go wrong with high school pitchers due to the difficulty of projecting physical development, maturity and the high risk of injury.  And it isn't just pitchers.  Neil Walker was the Pirates first round pick in 2004 is just getting his feet wet at the major league level at age 24.  No doubt the Pirates hope Taillon, Allie and some others are in Pittsburgh well before 2016, but there are no guarantees.  But again, the initial returns are favorable.

No comments: