Pittsburgh Pirates: Typical Neal Huntington Draft
The 2016 Major League Baseball draft occurs tonight. The Pirates are picking at number 22 in the first round and number 41 in the Lottery A round, before picking 68 in the second round.
Predicting the Pirates pick is always a challenge because of the unknown of their board and the way the board develops. But looking at history of old drafts can help give a base line look into their draft philosophies.
Neal Huntington has had 13 first round picks as is his time as the Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager. His first pick, coming in 2008, was the top college bat in the draft and a Scott Boras agent player, in Pedro Alvarez. That set the table of showing that they have no fear in going aggressive, which can be seen with Gerrit Cole in 2011 and Mark Appel in 2012, and also Josh Bell, a round two pick in 2011.
Overall in the first round, the Huntington has taken nine positional players to only four pitchers. After selecting four arms from 2009-2012 – Vic Black (49), Jameson Taillon (2), Cole (1), Appel (8) – the Pirates have gone six straight positional players. Neal has only taken four high school position players, all four being part of those last six first round draft picks.
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The Pirates have recently gone young positional player in the last three years under Huntington compared to the three positional players – all college – and four pitchers – Taillon the only high school one – in his first seven picks. The Pirates recent trends shows the Pirates could look at players such as Nolan Jones, Alex Kirilloff, and Josh Lowe to name a few. His previous years suggest maybe players such as Will Craig (3B), Buddy Reed (OF), Cody Sedlock (P), T.J Zeuch (P), and Corbin Burnes (P) could be the pick.
The Pirates in the second round have had nine picks under Huntington, and they’ve focused heavily on high school players. They have taken seven high school players, with the only two college players being Tanner Scheppers in 2008 and Kevin Kramer in 2015. Huntington has also taken six arms in the second round, which makes up two thirds of his second round picks. The only positional players were Josh Bell (2011), Wyatt Mathisen (2012), and Kramer.
The Pirates have taken prep arms, making up five ninths of the second round picks. With the plethora of high school and college arms available, players could fall, and the Pirates could take a look at a high school arms such as Alex Speas and Ryan Rollison – who is left handed and they have only taken one left hander (Blake Taylor 2013), and college players such as Zack Brown and A.J. Puckett.
Of the eight third round picks, the Pirates have taken seven positional players, with the only pitcher being Jonathon Sandfort in 2012. They have no taken a high school positional player, and five of the seven positional players have been outfielders. Players such as Nick Banks (OF), Logan Ice (C), and Will Smith (C), are names to keep an eye out for in this round based off of their previous selections.
The Pirates have been pretty balanced in the fourth round. They’ve selected five pitchers to three positional players and they’ve gone three high school players to five college players. All three positional players have been college bats, and the pitchers have been three high school players to two college players. The last four fourth round picks have been college players and they’ve alternated hitter, pitcher, hitter, pitcher in those picks. Stephen Wrenn (OF), Shaun Anderson (P), Zack Hess (P), and Kyle Serrano (P) could be players to watch for.
Huntington has take two high school players in the fifth round, selecting Tyler Glasnow in 2011 and Trae Arbet in 2013. They’ve also only taken two positional players, Arbet and Michael Suchy in 2014. Five of the six pitchers have been college arms, with last year the club selecting Brandon Waddell. This year a few names to keep an eye out on include Mikey York (P), Will Ethridge (P), and Trey Cobb (P).
Related Story: 2016 MLB Mock Draft
The Pirates may switch up their draft philosophies based on their past tendencies, but looking back at the picks Neal Huntington has selected, it helps give an understanding at what they may look to do.