Pittsburgh Pirates day two MLB draft analysis
After making three picks on the first day of the MLB Draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates continued to stock their farm system on the second day of draft, which got underway on Tuesday, June 9th, at 1 PM EST. Tuesday saw the Pirates select their first pitcher of the draft and stick with their strategy of taking college players as opposed to high school players, unlike what they’ve often done in years past. College players are seen as safer picks while high school players are seen as riskier but have potentially more upside. It’s always intriguing to see which lower-round players turn into breakout stars (Albert Pujols comes to mind), so let’s take a brief look at each player selected by the Pirates on day two of the draft.
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3rd round, pick 96 – LF Casey Hughston, University of Alabama
Casey Hughston is a 6’2″, 205-pound sophomore from the University of Alabama. Hughston is listed as an OF/IF on the college’s website, while he bats left-handed and throws right-handed. In 2015, Hughston batted .332/.389/.502 with six home runs and 44 RBIs. He also added 12 steals and four triples. Hughston was the number 105-ranked prospect according to Baseball America, so the pick doesn’t seem like a reach by the Pirates. Hughston was the second-highest outfielder ever drafted out of the University of Alabama. You can check out Hughston’s profile on Alabama’s website here.
Hughston improved on the .270 average from his freshman season in his sophomore year. He does strike out a lot, as his 55/22 K/BB ratio from his sophomore year illustrates. He’s an athletic outfielder that doesn’t make many errors and finds a way to get on base. This video from AL.com might speak to Hughston the person a bit:
4th round, pick 127 – RHP Jacob Taylor, Pearl River Community College
Jacob Taylor is a 6’3″, 205-pound right-handed pitcher and was a sophomore at Pearl River Community College in Mississippi this past season. He was the number-one ranked draft prospect in the entire state of Mississippi. During his freshman season at PRCC, Taylor worked as a pitcher and also batted frequently. He had a 3.14 ERA in 28.2 innings with 33 strikeouts in 2015. Taylor, although he only pitched in limited innings in 2015, was the 96th-ranked prospect by Baseball America. His size is important in his future as a pitcher. He was a standout at Picayune High School before he was at PRCC, and can now hit the mid-90s as he’s added velocity with each passing year. He is a high-upside pitcher for the Pirates, and you can check out his profile at PRCC here.
5th round, pick 157 – LHP Brandon Waddell, University of Virginia
Brandon Waddell is a 6’3″, 180-pound left-handed pitcher from the University of Virginia. In 2015, Waddell had a 4.15 ERA in 91 innings pitched across 16 starts, striking out 81 while walking 41. 2014 was more of a standout year for Waddell as he had a 2.45 ERA over 114.0 innings in 18 starts, striking out 73 while walking only 19. However, the decline in his numbers from 2014 to 2015 may have partially led to him being ranked number 343 by Baseball America heading into the draft. You can view Waddell’s full profile at Virginia here.
Waddell’s put on weight recently to try to fill out his 6’3″ frame, but it still seems like a reach for the Pirates in the fifth round. Here is some footage of Waddell pitching in 2014, courtesy of Virginia Sports TV:
6th round, pick 187 – RHP Jonathan Brubaker, University of Akron
Jonathan “JT” Brubaker is 6’4″, 175-pound right-handed pitcher and was a junior this past season at the University of Akron. In 15 starts in 2015, Brubaker had a 3.63 ERA over 89.1 innings pitched, striking out 72 while walking 30. Brubaker led the Akron team in strikeouts and starts. You can view Brubaker’s Akron bio here. Brubaker is a projectible pitcher with a 94-mph fastball, yet it was still a reach for the Pirates in the sixth round as Brubaker wasn’t listed as one of the top 500 draft prospects by Baseball America heading into the draft. This made it back-to-back reaches for the Pirates in the middle rounds on the second day of the draft.
7th round, pick 217 – 3B Mitchell Tolman, University of Oregon
Mitchell Tolman is a 5’11”, 195-pound third baseman and was a junior this past season at the University of Oregon. Tolman was the 463rd-ranked prospect by Baseball America heading into the draft. This season, Tolman batted .325/.457/.468 with three home runs and 42 RBIs. He had 40 strikeouts to 44 walks, stole 11 bases, and had five errors in the field. He batted .315 in each of his freshman and sophomore seasons, but only has six career home runs at Oregon. You can view his full Oregon profile here.
Tolman plays above average defense at third base, and while he’s never been a home run hitter, he has gap power and a fiery personality. However, this may be seen as another reach by the Pirates on day two based on his BA ranking. Here is footage of Tolman from 2014, courtesy of Moore Baseball:
8th round, pick 247 – RHP Seth McGarry, Florida Atlantic University
Seth McGarry is a 6’0″, 180-pound right-handed pitcher and rising junior from Florida Atlantic University. He was listed as the number 270-ranked draft prospect by Baseball America. In 2015, McGarry pitched primarily as a reliever, and saw action in 20 games, pitching to the tune of a 2.43 ERA across 37.0 innings pitched, striking out 33 while walking just 13. In 2014, McGarry had a 1.54 ERA in 11.2 innings, and in 2013 he had a 2.79 ERA in three starts across 9.2 innings. A stress fracture during his freshman season limited his game action and forced McGarry to turn to relief pitching as opposed to starting. You can view McGarry’s full FAU bio here.
McGarry’s numbers speak for themselves. He’s kept his ERA low at FAU and thrived when he decided to turn to relief pitching. He’ll be an interesting selection to watch for the Pirates moving forward.
9th round, pick 277 – RHP Bret Helton, University of Utah
Bret Helton is a 6’3″, 215-pound right-handed pitcher who was a junior this past season at the University of Utah. Helton was the 448th-ranked draft prospect by Baseball America. This past season, Helton pitched to a 5.72 ERA in 18 games (ten starts) across 61.1 innings, striking out 48 and walking 32. In 2014, Helton had a 4.99 ERA across 57.2 innings, while in 2013 he held a 10.57 ERA across 7.2 innngs. You can view his full Utah bio here.
Helton seems like another reach for the Pirates on day two of the draft. His numbers were impressive at Utah, but his 6’3″ frame and the time he spent in the outfield and as a designated hitter could have gotten the attention of some teams. He is also the son of former NFL punter Barry Helton. Here is footage of Bret Helton, courtesy of Moore Baseball:
10th round, pick 307 – RHP Logan Sendelbach, Tiffin University
In the tenth and final round of day two of the MLB draft, the Pirates selected 6’3″, 185-pound junior Logan Sendelbach from Tiffin University in Ohio. He was un-ranked by Baseball America heading into the draft. Sendelbach impressed with his numbers, as he had a 2.84 ERA in 11 games (ten starts) this past season across 57.0 innings, striking out 50 while walking 29. In 2014, Sendelbach pitched to a 2.92 ERA across 64.2 innings, while he had a 3.86 ERA across 37.1 innings in his freshman season. In his senior year of high school, he was 8-0 with 99 strikeouts and a perfect 0.00 ERA across 56 innings. You can view his full Tiffin bio here.
Sendelbach will be another intriguing name to watch. While he didn’t pitch for a big-name school, he put up great numbers and has a good frame for a pitcher.
The Pittsburgh Pirates had an interesting second day of the MLB draft. They reached on many picks and stuck with all college players. The team took mostly pitchers, and Seth McGarry and Logan Sendelbach are two names to keep an eye on as we move forward. Make sure to tune in here at rumbunter.com and to follow us on twitter @rumbunter for the latest draft news, and stay tuned tomorrow for our recap of the third and final day of the 2015 draft.