Pittsburgh Pirates Monday Minute: Draft Edition


Every Monday RumBunter will take a look at a popular topic on the Pittsburgh Pirates and give some thoughts on it in a quick article.

For this weeks Monday Minute the topic is an easy choice, the MLB Draft is this week! I recently had a phone conversation with a scout from an American League team.  This scout has kept in touch with me a little over two years now. He keeps me up to date with little bits of information he finds out mainly about the Pittsburgh Pirates.  However, I called him specifically to talk to him about this year’s draft.  He specializes in this aspect of amateur scouting and I wanted to hear his take on the draft.  I will share some of the questions I asked and answers he gave.

When you look at this year’s draft on paper what do you see in terms of the players?

“ One thing is there is no standout number one player, or injuries towards the top of the draft boards.  There really has been no true, consensus number one overall pick since 2011 in Gerrit Cole..  You look at 2012 many thought Appel would be and he ended up not being that guy as there was Buxton and Correa who earned looks for that pick as well, 2013 you had Appel, Gray, and Bryant, and 2014 of course you had Aiken, Kolek, and Rodon.  In all three cases you did not have a true number one pick because of the draft restrictions.

The Pirates were fortunate to take advantage of being able to select Gerrit Cole, who by the way, was the clear-cut number one pick in 2011, the were not seriously considering Bauer or Hultzen with the pick.  Last year many believed that Michael Matuella of Duke was going to be the slam dunk, number one overall pick, but he was not because he received Tommy John surgery.  Instead we saw the best athlete go in Dansby Swanson from Vanderbilt.

This year is similar. There is no big injuries to the top of the draft board, but there is not consensus number one pick.  Early in the season it seemed Jason Groome would, a prep arm, would be the number one pick.  However, it is seeming more that it will be a college player in Corey Ray, Aj Puk, or Kyle Lewis claiming the stop spot.  Does that mean they will be the top three picks in the draft? No, but that is who the Phillies are considering.”

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What do you see the Pirates addressing in the draft this year?

“The last  two years year have been a perfect example of how the Pirates draft since the new era of drafting.  The Pirates now take players they like, not necessarily who everyone likes.  Cole Tucker is a nice young player who no doubt will play in the majors at some point, but he was not the flashy pick that everyone thought.  They took Tucker over guys like Michael Chavis, Jacob Gatewood, Monte Harrison, Luke Weaver, and Braxton Davidson.  Why? Because they liked his make up no doubt, but also because they knew they felt confident they could sign him and use money from him and Connor Joe, the supplemental pick which was similar style pick, to put towards high upside arms in Mitch Keller, Trey Supak, and Gage Hinsz (who was considered a top 5 round pick and went in the 11 round).”

“Last year the Pirates took another middle infielder in Kevin Newman.  This pick caught some off guard.  Everyone expected the Pirates to go in any other direction other than taking another short stop.  However, the Pirates stuck to their guns and took who they thought was the best talent and not necessarily who everyone else thought was.”

The pirates will take the same approach this year.  They will take who they feel in the best player for them in that specific round and how it will play out the rest of the draft.  The MLB draft is so different because you literally do not plan round by round but rather you have to think multiple rounds ahead because who might fall and be available.  Some teams ignore this and will take the best name available, the Pirates will continue to get quality talent in the first round as well as the later rounds.”

Related Story: Jim Callis Mock Pick for Bucs

Related Story: https://rumbunter.com/2016/05/28/pittsburgh-pirates-mock-draft-mlb-com-update-two/

Unfortunately, I can not give away the scouts name for a number of reasons.  The main one being that he asked me not to in any articles that I use his information from.  The MLB draft is this week and starts on June 9th.  The Pirates pick at #22 and #41.  They will also have a second round on the first night of the draft.  It is always exciting to see some new, promising prospects enter the system.  Check back this week for more updates on the upcoming draft.

Typically these articles will be less than 650 words.  This one, being an interview, was a little longer.