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Pirates plan to be 'aggressive' signing picks

| Thursday, June 11, 2009

After Day 2 of the Major League Baseball Draft, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington identified 21 of the Pirates' overall selections who are asking to sign for six-figure signing bonuses.

Thoughts of draft trepidation• Stinginess• Out the window.

"We're going to be very aggressive," Huntington said. "We're going to allocate our resources as aggressively and efficiently as we can."

The key word there might have to be aggressive, especially because the Pirates used several early-round selections yesterday on high school pitchers who are signed with prominent college programs.

Among them are fourth-rounder Zackry Dodson (Baylor), sixth-rounder Zackary Von Rosenberg (LSU), seventh-rounder Trent Stevenson (Arizona) and eighth-rounder Billy Cain (Texas). Even Michael Heller, the Pirates' 29th-round pick, is signed to play for Florida.

So, the Pirates will have to make offers enticing enough to lure them away from college scholarships.

"Without question, part of the post-draft is recruiting," Huntington said. "Mom and dad are sometimes a little bit hesitant sending their son off into the real world. Pirate City and the dorm options are a tremendous stepping stone. It allows us to ensure they're in the position to make the right decisions, one could argue, even better than on a college campus.

"We have acknowledged that we won't sign them all. Some will go to college. But we have a good, strong number that we think we can find common ground with."

The draft concludes today with rounds 31-50, and Huntington said the Pirates already have a handful of deal discussions in place. One is with the No. 4 overall pick, catcher Tony Sanchez, who was seen by some as a conservative choice because he's not expected to demand an above-slot draft price, like Pedro Alvarez did last year.

That fiscal freedom and the resources provided by owner Bob Nutting, Huntington said, allowed he and the Pirates to select what he called "one of the most deep and talented draft classes in Pirates history."

"Many of the names we've drafted may not be recognized by some periodicals, but what's important is that they've been identified by our scouts," Huntington said. "The fans in Pittsburgh will come to know these players."

Among those 27 second-day players taken in rounds 4-30 are 17 pitchers (six lefties, 11 righties), 10 position players, 13 high schoolers and 17 players listed at 6-foot-2 or taller.

"We've given ourselves options," Huntington said. "We have a number of very talented players we can go after."

Pirates' second-day selections

Here's a list of the players taken by the Pirates in the second day of the amateur draft (Round/overall, Player, Pos., School, School, Cl., Ht., Wt.):

4/115 -- Zackry Dodson, LHP, Medina Valley (Texas) HS, Texas, 6-2, 190 - Signed with Baylor. Went 13-0 with a 0.59 ERA and 149 K as a HS junior.

5/145 -- Nathan Baker, LHP, Ole Miss, 6-3, 195: Struck out 69 with a 3.63 ERA in 67 innings as both a starter and reliever this spring.

6/175 -- Zachary Von Rosenberg, RHP, Zachary (La.) HS, 6-5, 205: Signed with LSU. Dominant thrower with great pitchability.

7/205 -- Trent Stevenson, RHP, Brophy Jesuit (Ariz.) Prep School, 6-6, 175: Throws a 90-plus fastball. Signed with Arizona.

8/235 -- Billy Cain, LHP, Waxahachie (Texas) HS, 6-3, 225: Signed with Texas. Has a 94 mph fastball with big upside.

9/265 -- Brock Holt, 2B, Rice, Jr., 5-10, 165: Hit .348 with 12 home runs, 43 RBI and 11 stolen bases this season.

10/295 -- Joseph Schoenfeld, C, Santiago (Ca.) HS, 6-2, 190

11/325 -- Aaron Baker, 1B, Oklahoma, Jr., 6-2, 220

12/355 -- Jeffrey Inman, RHP, Stanford, Jr., 6-3, 205

13/385 -- John Gourley, SS, Eastern Wayne (N.C.) HS, 6-0, 180

14/415 -- Marcos Reyna, RHP, Bakersfield College, 6-2, 185

15/445 -- Peter Bako, C, Connors St. College, 6-1, 180

16/475 -- Matt Den Dekker, CF, Florida, Jr., 6-1, 205

17/505 -- Jordan Cooper, RHP, Shelbyville (Tenn.) Central HS, 6-2, 195

18/535 -- Ryan Beckman, RHP, Grayson County College, Texas, 6-4, 185

19/565 -- Josh Urban, RHP, Dripping Spring (Texas) HS, 6-4, 215

20/595 -- Sam Spangler, LHP, Hawaii, Jr., 6-2, 195

21/625 -- Phillip Irwin, RHP, Ole Miss, Jr., 6-3, 220

22/655 -- Carmine Giardina, LHP, Tampa, Jr., 6-3, 218

23/685 -- Jose Hernandez, LF, Texas-San Antonio, 5-11, 190

24/715 -- Jason Erickson, RHP, Washington, Sr., 6-1, 195

25/745 -- Aaron LaFountaine, OF, John W. North (Ca.) HS, 6-0, 150

26/775 -- Matthew Dermody, LHP, Norwalk (Iowa) HS, 6-5

27/805 -- Paul Luquette, C, Isidore Newman (La.) HS, 6-0, 200

28/835 -- Kyle Hooper, RHP, Saugus (Ca.) HS, 6-4, 195

29/865 -- Michael Heller, RHP, Cardinal Mooney (Fla.) HS, 6-1, 188

30/895 -- Ty Summerlin, SS, Southeastern Louisiana, Sr., 5-10, 170

Area second-day selections

Here's a list of the players with area ties who were taken on the second day of the amateur draft (Round/overall, Player, School, Pos., Team):

5/162 -- Tobias Streich, West Virginia, C, Minnesota Twins

8/237 -- Gus Benusa, Riverview, CF, San Francisco Giants

10/200 -- Chris Sedon, Pitt,2B, Detroit Tigers

15/449 -- Jamie Walczak, Mercyhurst , RHP, Cincinnati Reds

16/486 -- Ryan Robowski, Ohio Dominican/Uniontown, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

17/511 -- Josh Hungerman, Cleveland State/North Allegheny, LHP, Colorado Rockies

19/564 -- Chris Tremblay, Kent State/Seneca Valley, 2B, San Diego Padres

20/613 -- Nate Reed, Pitt, LHP, Chicago White Sox

23/692 -- Scott Kelley, Penn State, RHP, Kansas City Royals

23/699 -- Matt Adams, Slippery Rock, C, St. Louis Cardinals

26/800 -- Steven Grife, Mercyhurst, RHP, Chicago Cubs

28/834 -- Vince Belnome, West Virginia, 2B, San Diego Padres

28/844 -- Derek Law/Seton-La Salle, RHP, Texas Rangers

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