Pittsburgh Pirates: A Look at Neal Huntington’s Draft History

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Pittsburgh Pirates 2008 Draft
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

2008 Draft

The 2008 draft saw the Pittsburgh Pirates receive the second overall pick in the draft.  The only team ahead of them was the Tampa Bay Rays.  The Rays took the top prep player available in shortstop Tim Beckham.  Beckham was drafted as a shortstop, and quite frankly, was not considered the top overall talent in the draft.  That player fell to the Pittsburgh Pirates at number two in Pedro Alvarez.  Alvarez was a stud third base prospect out of Vanderbilt University.  Luckily for the Bucs, the Rays took Evan Longoria two years prior with the number three overall pick.  This allowed them to pass on Alvarez.  Here is what MLB.com wrote up on Alvarez on draft day:

"“About as safe a bet as there is, Alvarez is a polished and poised hitter and should hit for average in the big leagues.  He’s got power now and should have at least average power in the future. Alvarez entered the season as the top player, talent-wise, in the Draft.”"

As it turns out, Alvarez’s Pittsburgh Pirates career full of unpredictability and instability.  He had some really good years and some really bad years.  His best year was in 2013, when he hit 36 home runs, 100 RBIs, and was elected to the all-star game. However, that was his peak and the years that followed saw him struggle.  His struggles specifically came at third base.  When the Bucs tried to transition him to first it was even worse.  Finally, after the 2015 season, the Pittsburgh Pirates parted ways with him.

Notable picks:

Jordy Mercer: A career Pittsburgh Pirate thus far.  Mercer has been on the Pittsburgh Pirates roster since 2012, and a mainstay at shortstop since 2014 when he played in 149 games. There is nothing flashy about the third round pick out of Oklahoma State, but he has just provided good all-around play.

Justin Wilson: Wilson was a fifth round pick out of Fresno State University.  Wilson had a strong, but somewhat short Pittsburgh Pirates career.  The lefty came up throwing mid to high 90s from the left side.  He made appearances in 2012, 2013, and 2014, although he only saw 8 games in 2012.  After the 2014 season, the Pittsburgh Pirates traded him to the New York Yankees for catcher Francisco Cervelli.

Other Picks:

Chase D’Arnuad fourth round, Robbie Grossman sixth round, Matt Hague ninth round.