The city of Pittsburgh went absolutely insane when Matt Wieters wasn’t picked in the 2007 Amateur Draft. The Pirates instead selected Daniel Moskos with their fourth pick.
Keith Law, the senior baseball analyst for Scouts Inc., called Wieters “a once-in-a-decade kind of talent.” Wieters drew comparisions to Joe “well played” Mauer, a catcher who the Minnesota Twins made the first pick of the 2001 draft.
Wieters was can’t miss and the Bucs missed. Or so thought Bob Smizik who took the opportunity to begin questioning the commitment of Pirates owner Bob Nutting. Smizik wrote this after the 2007 draft:
It wasn’t a matter of which player could most help the team, it was a matter of which player costs the least. As a client of agent Scott Boras, Wieters would demand a signing bonus of $8 million to $10 million. Moskos will probably get something a little short of $3 million.
Speaking of Moskos, Littlefield said, “We got the guy we want, really.”
Don’t believe him. Littlefield’s job is in jeopardy. He didn’t get the guy he wanted. He got the guy Bob Nutting wanted.
So four years later, if Smizik is correct in stating that Bob Nutting was running the draft board, is Nutting a genius for not taking Wieters? Baseball Prospectus, who started much of the hype, recently had this to say about Weiters-the player even Jim Palmer couldn’t get out. It was a detailed post which reviewed the Most Disappointing Prospects of All Time:
As we were among the first to hop on the Wieters bandwagon, let us be among the first off of it. The backstop is heading into his age-25 season. Whatever his .343/.438/.576 rates seemed to portend, that’s gone, along with the notion that he’s a switch-hitter (he has hit .230/.278/.344 from the right side) or a power hitter. His glove and the dream of what might have been will keep him around for years, but stardom now seems spectacularly unlikely. Scott Goldman, Baseball Prospectus
Either way you look at it, the Bucs missed in 2007. And that really sucks as the Pirates need every talented player possible to turn around the franchise. Daniel Moskos will probably not be a big help this year. As such, it’s difficult for a franchise like Pittsburgh to recover from missing on a first round pick, let alone the fourth overall selection. Looking back now, it’s simply impossible not to daydream about how much having Jason Heyward, who the Braves grabbed at the 14 spot, would improve the Bucs fortunes in 2011.
It’s just another example of a failed use of top selection, but there is plenty of blame to go around in the 2007 draft, many teams missed. As a Pirates fan trying to look on the bright side on this very dark day, Bob Nutting still spent millions on a player being called a disappointment. Just not as many millions.
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