Pirates unfazed by lower draft slot
The Pirates have perhaps had an easier time finding their guy in recent drafts than they will in 2014, but general manager Neal Huntington is fine with that.
After a successful 2013, the Pirates won't pick until the No. 24 spot of the first round Thursday, the latest they've chosen since 1991 when they drafted catcher/outfielder Jon Farrell.
“It is very different picking 24th instead of the top 10 somewhere, and we hope not to pick in the top 10 any time soon,” Huntington said. “But we feel like we're going to get a good player. There's not as clear a situation, but we do think there are some good players in the draft, there's some depth to it. It's probably a good year to be picking in the middle of the pack.”
The Astros will become the first team to pick first in three straight years in a draft that's heavy on hard-throwing pitchers.
North Carolina State left-hander Anthony Rodon was widely considered the top talent available entering the season, but after a disappointing year he has been joined by other prospects who all conceivably could go No. 1 overall.
Those players include right-hander Tyler Kolek of Shepherd (Texas) High School, whose pitches routinely clock in at 100 mph; and left-hander Brady Aiken, a three-sport standout at Cathedral (Calif.) Catholic High School.
Baseball America's draft preview projected that the Pirates will draft Indiana catcher Kyle Schwarber, noting that he could move to first base or left field. The publication also mentioned Georgia high school shortstop Michael Chavis as a possibility.
Jonathan Mayo, MLB.com's draft expert, said that many regard Schwarber to be the best college hitter available.
He has been mentioned as high as a potential No. 8 pick. In his May 30 mock draft, Mayo had the Pirates taking Wichita State switch-hitting first baseman Casey Gillaspie, saying he might be the best player left on the board.
“If the Pirates are going for a college hitter, and there a few in their neck of the woods, Gillaspie's probably one of the better choices,” Mayo told Trib Live radio Tuesday. “Him and A.J. Reed (of Kentucky), who's another guy with power at first base. But (Gillaspie) is a guy who I think has a chance to move pretty quickly and hit for average and power.”
Huntington said they had to alter their approach this year to cover a broader span of players.
That includes having scouts looking at players considered to be worthy of the top five or 10 in case they are available when the Pirates pick, in addition to players projected to be on the board closer to their selections.
“We've diversified our looks a little, bit so it should allow us to have a deeper draft,” Huntington said.
Two local players who could go on the second day of the draft are Blackhawk pitcher Brendan McKay, who recently had his 721⁄3-inning scoreless streak end, and Norwin shortstop J.J. Matijevic, who led the WPIAL in batting average (.607), home runs (10) and RBIs (37).
Huntington said that while they scout area players the same way they scout everyone else, they won't draft a local player based on that fact alone.
“We want to make sure we understand where we believe they could go, what they can become, and let the integrity of the board stay in place,” Huntington said. “We'd love to have another Neil Walker come through the system and have a local guy make it big and become a big-time player. That'd be fantastic. But we'd hate to take a guy we like because he's local over a guy we like a little more because he's not and have that guy go on to become a pretty good player.”
Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at email@example.com or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates notebook: Hurdle weighs trio at 1st base
- Pirates notebook: Morton hopes to return this season
- Braves’ error, Sanchez’s sacrifice fly in 9th help Pirates snap long skid
- Pirates minor league notebook: Pitcher Heredia finally hitting form
- Pirates notebook: Cole on track for return to starting rotation
- Pirates’ losing streak extended to 6 games
- Friday’s scouting report: Pirates at Nationals
- Pirates’ McCutchen expects to play Tuesday; Alvarez to start at 1B
- Wednesday’s scouting report: Braves at Pirates
- Biertempfel: With McCutchen sidelined, Kershaw becomes NL MVP front-runner
- Rossi: Pirates showing more this summer