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    Default MLB Draft and the Pirates

    MLB Draft and the Pirates
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    BigBen2112


    [IMGL]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_f3fTVkavMVg/SnorMCkdA6I/AAAAAAAACZw/GGawgjq3meg/s400/bryce-harper-verducci.jpg[/IMGL]Every June the time comes...a new wave of talent will be injected into the systems Major League Baseball teams around the country. Fans of each respective team will hope that their team will find the next super-start, the next underrated player, the next diamond in the rough, and in the end will be able to acquire enough talent to compete for the World Series Championship.

    Some teams, and some fans, have seen more success in the draft than others. Some have seen their teams draft stars such as Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford, and David Price. Others have seen their teams continually suffer through terrible scouting, tight-wad management and ownership, and even simple bad luck. It is our team, our Pittsburgh Pirates, who may have seen the worst of all possible fates. The Pirates have not experienced just one or two of the possible faults leading to failure in the draft, but have experienced every single one of the failures every year for as long as many fans have been alive. They have been inept, cheap, and down-right unlucky. All has changed, though, within the last two drafts. The years of drafting Daniel Moskos over Matt Wieters are over...and on June 7th the Pittsburgh Pirates, holding the 2nd selection in the 2010 MLB Draft, will have yet another chance to tempt fate and improve a system still desperately needing talent.

    In most drafts the second overall selection would be quite appealing and in recent years has yielded prospects/superstars such as Dustin Ackley, Pedro Alvarez, Michael Moustakas, Justin Verlander, Rickie Weeks, B.J. Upton, and Mark Prior. However, this year the draft is essentially a lone lead wolf and a distant pack.

    Bryce Harper, the kid Sports Illustrated has made a legend, has lived up to his hype, which has been quite sizable. A seventeen year old, only a high school junior, playing in the best junior college league in the country...Harper has become a JUCO star--batting .442 with 95 hits in 215 ABs with 55, yes that is 55, extra base hits including 29 home runs to go along with 89 RBIs and a 1.51 ridiculous OPS. This all off pitchers 2-3 and even 4 years older than he is. Unfortunately for Pirate fans it is all but certain that the Washington Nationals will make Harper the first overall selection in the 2010 draft and quite possibly make history yet again after making history last year with their selection and signing of superstar future Ace Stephen Strasburg.

    Who, then, will the Pirates be looking at with the number two pick? There are, after Harper, four to five players who the Pirates will be seriously taking into consideration with their second overall selection. I will begin with the most likely, Manny Machado. He has drawn comparisons to Alex Rodriguez, although that is extremely premature. The 6'2 180lbs shortstop from Brito High School in Florida has a lean frame with room to add mass, a lot like Rodriguez, and has swift, deft, smooth defensive ability with good arm strength and range. His swing is underdeveloped but he does have some pop. He likes higher velocity which is good for his future development. He likes to drive fastballs but struggles with off-speed pitches. He is a commit to Florida International University which increases the likelihood that he'd be willing to sign with the Pirates because his commitment is less firm to a lower-quality baseball program. Machado is not a complete package and certainly is not the best player who will likely be available when the Pirates select number two. However, he does have possibly the third or fourth highest upside in the draft and should be an easier sign and for less money than some of the other options. Machado is exactly the type of player the Pirates should look to draft. His upside is high enough to warrant a top five selection and his price and signability lend him well to the signing process which sets up the rest of the draft well. Furthermore, even though a team should not ever draft for need, Machado does play a prime position and one that is currently underwhelming in the Pittsburgh organization.


    The second player the Pirates may look at is Ole Miss star pitcher Drew Pomerantz. Pomerantz is a big left handed pitcher at 6'5 and 220 lbs. He throws two plus-plus pitches and throws all his pitches for strikes. He throws his fastball in the low nineties and is not afraid to throw inside on hitters. His best pitch, though, is his mid-seventies tight breaking curve. On top of the fastball and curve he also throws a decent sweeping changeup, but especially struggles with this pitch when his mechanics break down. When Pomerantz is on...he is nye unhittable. The problem is, though, is that he has had bouts of wildness associated with problems replicating his mechanics. This also causes him to be hittable. He is extremely talented and has a ton of upside and being a lefty only increases his value to a team. However, Pomerantz coming into this draft was the third best/highest rated college pitcher behind Anthony Ranaudo and Deck McGuire and many, myself included, believe he is still not even the best college pitcher in the draft. His rise in the draft is as much due to his counterparts failures as it has to his brilliance. It should not be underestimated, though, how effective he has been not only this season, but throughout his collegiate career.

    Another player the Pirates will, and should, give serious consideration to with the #2 overall selection is the big high school right-hander from Woodlands High School in Texas, Jameson Taillon. Taillon is one of the best high school pitchers to come out in the last several years. Others will talk about Purke and others, but Taillon has a superior feel for pitching to go along with three plus-plus pitches with his fastball, slider, and curve. He also throws a fourth pitch, his changeup, which has solid movement, but is under-utilized and underdeveloped. He has a superior makeup as a pitcher along with the superior stuff...Taillon is as complete a high school pitcher as has come along in the last several years. However, there are some fears to go along with Taillon. First, for all his ability and talent his fastball is hittable. If high school players can hit his fastball there is considerable concern that professional hitters will use his fastball as in-game batting practice. Furthermore, he has a strong commitment to Rice, a good baseball school, and is likely to require a significantly higher signing bonus than other prospects. In my opinion, however, if the Pirates are confident in their scouting department and in their developers and in Taillon's overall ability they may well select him and attempt to work on mechanics, pitch selection, and pitch placement as a cure for his fastball hitability. In terms of simple talent evaluation an individual who is interested in getting the best overall talent looks at this draft and sees Harper and then Taillon and if the draft was only as long as the NFL draft or other similar drafts then it is possible that a team like the Pirates could also look at Taillon in this manner. However, considering that the Pirates have to make almost 5 times as many picks as the other professional drafts do combined they also have to factor in signability and the impact the bonus will have on subsequent selections. It has been in the current management teams MO to select high-upside high school talent who fall because of signability concerns to the 5-12 round area and pay over-slot to entice them out of their college commitments. That becomes much more difficult if the first selection is paid excessively...and that may be a reason the Pirates would shy away from Jameson Taillon.



    A sleeper selection, depending on how the Pirates want to go in terms of signability and potential quickness through the system, is college outfielder Michael Choice. Choice is a powerful hitter out of UT-Arlington. This season Choice is hitting .383 in 183 ABs and has 27 extra base hits, specifically 16 HRs, to go along with 57 RBIs. His OPS is an outstanding 1.278. He also has speed to go along with his powerful bat...stealing 12 bases in 16 attempts this season. He is interesting to consider because out of everyone in the draft he is the most like last years' selection Tony Sanchez. He was considered a good, but not outstanding, prospect coming into this season, but has shown outstanding ability with his play this year and has moved up the boards. Furthermore, he figures to be someone who will sign quickly, even almost immediately, for slot value which would obviously leave more money for future selections. This choice is one that I personally would like the least. His upside is the most limited, in my opinion, out of the players mentioned here and I am not sure that you could not find a similar player later in the draft (Chris Duffy as an example) and missing out on any possible elite talent at the top of the draft to select Choice would be troubling.

    Other names you may hear: Deck McGuire, Chris Sale, Zack Cox, and Bryce Brentz. I will quickly go through the players: McGuire a good player and someone who is more talented than Pomerantz, although does not have the lefty value. He has had a good year, but not outstanding enough to be worthy of the 2nd overall pick, especially considering the wear on his arm. Sale is a big lefty out of Florida Gulf Coast who has been inconsistent and while he has upside with three above average pitches and he throws a significant amount of strikes he is also extremely hittable. He is a likely top ten and possibly a top 5 pick, but has too many inconsistencies and questions to go number two overall. Cox is a hit-machine. He has cranked out another 92 hits this season giving him an outstanding .432 average to go along with solid, if unspectacular, power numbers. He is a good NCAA fielding 3B, but will likely move off the hot-corner as a professional. He has had some time at 2B and may just find a home there in his professional career. His hitting ability will force a team to find a place to play him. At second he'd be a great value...he'd have above average power and his average would also be above average. However, not likely and not really a value at the 2nd overall selection--he also had a recent injury to worry about. Bryce Brentz is a power hitting outfielder out of my back-yard in Tennessee. He was a fairly good possibility early in the offseason as the #2 selection but did not meet expectations this season and had some injury problems to boot.

    The end result for the Pirates should be their selection of Manny Machado with the 2nd overall selection. The interesting part, then, will be how the Pirates go about the following selections. I will attempt here, at the end of this article, to list several players (and likely rounds) that the Pirates should look at after their second overall selection:

    Second Round: Anthony Ranaudo, P, LSU (if he falls this far); Justin Grimm, P, Georgia; Hunter Morris, 1B, Auburn;

    Third Round: Chance Ruffin, P, Texas; Victor Sanchez, 3B, San Diego; Derek Dietrich, SS, Georgia Tech; Blake Dean, 3B, LSU

    Fourth Round: Blake Dean, 3B, LSU; Chris Hernandez, P, Miami; Matt Den Dekker, OF, Florida

    Fifth Round: A.J. Vanegas, SP, Redwood Christian School (CA); Chad Lewis, 3B, Marina High School (CA); Nick Tepesch, P, Missouri

    Sixth Round (and beyond): Jimmy Hodgskin, SP, Bishop Moore Catholic High Sch (FL); Robbie Ray, SP, Brentwood High School (TN); Andrew Clark, 1B, Louisville; Randy Leblanc, OF, Covington High School (LA); Mikie Mahtook, OF, LSU; Matt Gaudett, OF/DH/1B, LSU; Rudy Acosta, P, Mt. Miguel High School (CA); Tyler Morton, P, Bartlett High School (TN); Alex Burgos, P, Manatee High School (FL); Tyler Green, P, Brazoswood High School (TX); Roderick Shoulders, 1B, Brandon High School (FL); Zach Weiss, P, Northwood High School (CA); Randy Leblanc, P, Covington High School (LA); AND Justin Nicolino, P, University High School (FL)

    More to come as draft approaches...
    Last edited by BigBen2112; May-26-2010 at 10:54 PM.
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    Default Re: MLB Draft and the Pirates

    Nice work Benny.

    Matt Den Dekker again, eh? Its too bad the Bucs couldn't reel him in last summer. I wonder if he was one of the guys that Bucs came to an "over slot" agreement with that later backed out when MLB dragged their feet....?

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    Default Re: MLB Draft and the Pirates

    Quote Originally Posted by tocchet92 View Post
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    Nice work Benny.

    Matt Den Dekker again, eh? Its too bad the Bucs couldn't reel him in last summer. I wonder if he was one of the guys that Bucs came to an "over slot" agreement with that later backed out when MLB dragged their feet....?
    I was told last year from a fairly reliable/credible sources that Den Dekker was signed and it was done...and I was incredibly surprised, then, when it wasn't.

    The CLEAR choice this year for the Pirates, at this point in time, is to draft Machado and go about business like they did last year (rounds 2-3-4 you could see some college players, because there will be some positional values there...and then in rounds similar to last year I think you can/should expect to see high(er) profile high school players such as: Vanegas, Hodgskin, and Ray).
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    Default Re: MLB Draft and the Pirates

    So Manny Machado would cost a little more than Slot andwe would get a highend SS, which we dont have any. Plus would have money to get high up side high school pitchers, which i like cause we can control their arms most college pitchers arms are overused.Even if it takes 3 or 4 seasons, we can go with Cendeno for 2 of those and then hope one of the many AA guys can hold the fort untill he is ready.

    It seems like a no brainer

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    Default Re: MLB Draft and the Pirates

    Quote Originally Posted by Hittman View Post
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    So Manny Machado would cost a little more than Slot andwe would get a highend SS, which we dont have any. Plus would have money to get high up side high school pitchers, which i like cause we can control their arms most college pitchers arms are overused.Even if it takes 3 or 4 seasons, we can go with Cendeno for 2 of those and then hope one of the many AA guys can hold the fort untill he is ready.

    It seems like a no brainer
    Sounds like it...but I am not sure its really that easy.

    The MLB draft is really about the rounds after the first...and that's what the Pirates need to focus the most efforts on obviously.
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    Default Re: MLB Draft and the Pirates

    Two other notable college players who could be looked at in the first 3-4 rounds are Georgia Tech players Derek Dietrich, SS and 1B Tony Plagman. Plagman is a big power bat who plays a great defensive 1B.
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    Default Re: MLB Draft and the Pirates

    The draft is fast approaching......less than a week away...and I still have my concerns about the future hitting potential of the likely Pirate choice, Manny Machado, but all signs point to him being the Pirates selection...
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    Default Re: MLB Draft and the Pirates

    Saw this on Fanhouse:

    2. Pirates - Manny Machado (SS) | Brito H.S. (Miami, Fla.)

    The Pirates continue to bear down on Machado. They've continued to look at Jameson Taillon but they have some mild concerns over him getting hit a little this spring, and that's been just enough to sway them toward Machado. I'm told they absolutely love Machado's skill set and the only thing that could get them off him would be some last-minute outrageous demands.

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    Default Re: MLB Draft and the Pirates

    Quote Originally Posted by The Sodfather View Post
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    Saw this on Fanhouse:

    2. Pirates - Manny Machado (SS) | Brito H.S. (Miami, Fla.)

    The Pirates continue to bear down on Machado. They've continued to look at Jameson Taillon but they have some mild concerns over him getting hit a little this spring, and that's been just enough to sway them toward Machado. I'm told they absolutely love Machado's skill set and the only thing that could get them off him would be some last-minute outrageous demands.
    Yeah...Taillon's problem is a mechanical one that once figured out by professional pitching coordinators and coaches he's got ace ability.

    I am wondering if Machado will be able to hit...scouts are kinda split on his hitting...some giving him 80 and others giving him max of 55-60s...I dont know if I want a 60 out of the #2 pick...
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    Default Re: MLB Draft and the Pirates

    Quote Originally Posted by The Sodfather View Post
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    Saw this on Fanhouse:

    2. Pirates - Manny Machado (SS) | Brito H.S. (Miami, Fla.)

    The Pirates continue to bear down on Machado. They've continued to look at Jameson Taillon but they have some mild concerns over him getting hit a little this spring, and that's been just enough to sway them toward Machado. I'm told they absolutely love Machado's skill set and the only thing that could get them off him would be some last-minute outrageous demands.
    Yeah...Taillon's problem is a mechanical one that once figured out by professional pitching coordinators and coaches he's got ace ability.

    I am wondering if Machado will be able to hit...scouts are kinda split on his hitting...some giving him 80 and others giving him max of 55-60s...I dont know if I want a 60 out of the #2 pick...
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    Default Re: MLB Draft and the Pirates

    Everywhere i read says that Jameson Taillon is very hittable, sure he he tops off at 95 but it is a straightline no movement 95 some scouts think he might even be better suited as a closer in the majors then a starter.

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    Default Re: MLB Draft and the Pirates

    There are some interesting things about Machado that you don't see from a lot of guys who are likely to go at the top of the draft. He goes to a school with a graduating class of about 30 kids and decided not to transfer to a bigger baseball school which is pretty common in the southern baseball communities. His coach there apparently decided not to put him through any kind of weight training program because he thinks that's best left to experts at the pro or college level. He's listed at 6'2" 180, but it's the kind of long, skinny 180 where you wouldn't be surprised if he put on 30 pounds over the next few years. His body just seems like an unfinished product. It's hard for someone like me to say where he might go if he puts on size. Maybe he hits for much more power, but maybe he also loses some range and has to move off short.

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    Default Re: MLB Draft and the Pirates

    Quote Originally Posted by Hittman View Post
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    Everywhere i read says that Jameson Taillon is very hittable, sure he he tops off at 95 but it is a straightline no movement 95 some scouts think he might even be better suited as a closer in the majors then a starter.
    He actually tops out at 98...and everything you've seen, im sorry, is just wrong...if people actually do their research and watch/investigate...when he's being hit he's rushing his delivery and slide-stepping instead of properly planting...hell he's almost fallen off the mound once because he rushed so much. If they figure out the mechanics and get him to repeat--slowly--his motion...he'll be an ace.
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    Default Re: MLB Draft and the Pirates

    Note to self...done use the "reply with quote" feature b/c thats where the double posts come from
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    Default Re: MLB Draft and the Pirates

    .
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