Tonight is the 2017 MLB Amateur Draft. Neal Huntington has been drafting for the Pittsburgh Pirates since 2008. Here is a look at what he has done in those years.
Neal Huntington took over as the Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager in 2007 toward the end of the season. He took over for the often criticized Dave Littlefield. One of the biggest criticisms of Dave Littlefield was his poor draft results. This was shown in his first selection, when he took Bryan Bullington and called him a projectable number three starter. This was also shown in his last draft when he took Danny Moskos.
In 2007, the MLB Draft was broadcasted for the first time by ESPN, the analysts did not even have tape ready for Moskos as many viewed him as a second day prospect. To make matters worse, Moskos got shelled the very next day during College World Series play, after many scouts talked about how he likely projected as a bullpen arm at best. To add even more negativity of the Moskos pick, he went under Tommy-John Surgery later that summer. All in all, it may have been the final straw in Littlefield’s tenure.
Now not all of Littlefield’s pick were terrible. He was the man who drafted Andrew McCutchen in 2005, when he was drafted number 11 overall. However, over the last few years, it has come out that Littlefield was set on drafting shortstop Cliff Pennington instead. This was the case until many of Littlefield’s own scouts “begged” and eventually sold Littlefield on McCutchen. Also, the former GM drafted Neil Walker, who turned into a solid ball player in his tenure with the Buccos. The biggest issue was the talent he passed on. There is a link for more on this subject later in the article.
Finally, Neal Huntington took over. He immediately spoke about how he was going to put a preference on building through the draft. Luckily for Huntington, his first pick was number two overall, followed by a number four overall pick in 2009, then again in 2010 he was given the number two overall pick, and finally, in 2011 it was all capped off by the number one overall pick in 2011. So for this article, we will take a slide by slide look at Huntington’s draft, starting with the 2008 draft. The article will cover up through 2012, as players drafted by the Pirates after that have yet to make an impact at the big league level.