` With the first two picks in the draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates picked two stud pitcher..."/> ` With the first two picks in the draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates picked two stud pitcher..."/>

Dead Mans Hand: Can Pirates Sign Pair of Aces?


With the first two picks in the draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates picked two stud pitchers, Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie.  We immediately screamed Dead Man’s Hand, but couldn’t quite remember why….a quick glance online brought it back. 

A Dead Man’s Hand has an interesting story of where it got its’ name, because poker afficianados consider it “the worst poker hand that has its own proper name.”   The hand of cards officially consists of “both black bullets (the aces of clubs and spades) and both black eights (the eights of clubs and spades).”

According to legend, this was the hand Wild Bill Hickok was holding on August 2, 1876 at the Saloon No. 10 in Deadwood, South Dakota, when he was shot in the back of the head and killed, hence the name.

So Neal Huntington and the Pirates have picked

two aces, now the tough work begins as negotations get under way with the Hendricks brothers.  Take a peek at the talent in the right arms of these teenagers.

First up, a little Quiet Riot for you kids….as Taillon warms up:

Sorry no tunes on this one….as Allie pitches in the Ohio State Championships.

Jameson Taillon is the big name, but don’t kid yourself, Stetson Allie is no slouch either, just a bit wild scouts say.  He needs some command and control work.  Heh, what’s more scary? A pitcher that can throw 100 mph and knows where it’s going or a pitcher that can throw 101 mph (watch the damn video!) with a possible history of some command problems? Sounds like fun.

On our ride back home from DC last night, we heard an interview with Stetson Allie’s father Danny.  He is an accomplished coach in Cleveland for St. Edwards High School.  The team has won two state titles in three years.  Here is the Danny Allie interview from the Fan 93.7.

Danny Allie knows Pennsylvania.  He went to Edinboro.  He has spent time in Pittsburgh.  But if you listened to the interview, he also knows the game well.  He didn’t tip his hand at all other than saying, Stetson wants to play baseball.  I’m curious if he was at a gun range on purpose, did you hear what sounds like shotgun blasts in the background?

With a name like Stetson, there is no doubt the Allie family understands a poker face.

But will either pitcher want to wait until his junior year to put on a professional uniform?  I got a feeling both will take the money and run to join the Bucs.  If the Bucs play hard ball, it sets up a tough situation.  But make no mistake, the Pirates put themselves into this card game.  Surely they are ready to get both of these pitchers signed by giving up the big wire transfer.

August 16 will be here sooner than you know it.  It could be a big day in Pirates history.  With all of the attention the Pirates put on hyping the draft, I would anticipate they will learn what number will get the deal done with these players and cough it up.  Well maybe dig it up since its Nutting’s cash.

Yes, if the Pirates don’t sign one of these aces, they get a compensation pick in next year’s draft, but the team would almost surely need to take a safe pick.  Because if that pick next year doesn’t sign, it’s lost.  Game over.  Fold.

So it’s going to be a great poker game.  One that should payoff with the two biggest prizes in a very long time for the Pittsburgh Baseball Club.  But do I personally think they would have drafted two aces without thinking they could sign them?  No, I dont.  I am not buying that it was a ballsy move.  Sure many people with much more knowledge than I will ever possess are saying that.  I think differently.

I think Neal Huntington knows he has the cash.  Frank Coonelly knows they have the cash.   Signing these two players buys them a few years too.  Think about it.

In the FAN interview  Danny Allie says he knows Huntington.  I believe Neal was confident that he could work his relationship into a deal with Allie.  Now with Taillon, how could he improve in three years?    There is no guarantee that he will pitch well enough at Rice University to be the number one pick three years from now.  Actually, the odds would be severely against that fact happening.

Could Allie pitch well enough at UNC to move up as a draft eligible sophomore?  Certainly.  Will he?  We don’t think so, but he will want paid as though he has been a top pick.  It’s hard not to pay him.  Go look at the radar gun again, and remember, heaters fill up the seats.

The cards have been dealt.  Let the highest stakes poker game in Pirates draft history begin.


Excellent article from a gentleman who has scouted these players Anup Sinha reports on these two aces including the big bat that Allie has from the 3B position.  Could he be a 3B if pitching doesn’t work?  Absolutely….

Hat tip to one of my favorite poker sites.