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

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Pirates 2010 Draft
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

2010 Draft

The 2010 draft represented a lot of hope, yet some disappointment for fans.  First off, fans were excited mainly because the Bucs had the number two overall pick.  The Pirates had a great opportunity to add another premium prospect.  Unfortunately, the draft boasted one of the best prospects to come through the draft in recent history in Bryce Harper.  He would go number one overall without question.

Up until draft day, the Pittsburgh Pirates were pondering who to take with the number two pick, stud pitching prospect Jameson Taillon or potential impact shortstop Manny Machado.  Ultimately Huntington decided to take the pitching prospect in Jameson Taillon.  First off, he had taken two position players with his top picks in his first two drafts.  Second, there were some medical questions regarding Machado’s knees and whether he would stick at shortstop.  Thus, he would have to move to third base where the Bucs believed Pedro Alvarez would be locked in. Here is what MLB.com wrote about Taillon:

"“Taillon is the complete package in a high school pitcher, with tremendous size, stuff and a feel for pitching. He has three plus pitches in his fastball, slider and curve. Even his changeup, while not used that much, is solid. He uses his size to his advantage and has tremendous mound presence. As impressive as his stuff is, his makeup might be even better. A commitment to Rice might sound intriguing, but if he goes at the top of the first round, and everything points to that happening, it likely won’t be an issue.”"

Taillon’s story has been well documented.  He was long considered one of the best pitching prospects in baseball from day one.  His most impressive performance may have come against Team USA in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.  After that, he faced Tommy-John for 2014 into 2015, then ended 2015 with a Sports Hernia.

Finally, in 2016, he made his debut in the bigs and showed why he was a number two pick.  Taillon threw 104 innings for the Bucs and posted a 3.38 ERA.  Entering 2017 he was projected to be a big part of the rotation.  He pitched really well in the early going, but toward mid-May had his two worst starts of the year.  It was then announced that Taillon would need surgery for Testicular Cancer.  Once again, Taillon battled through it and now, as I write this, is preparing to make his return tonight.

Notable Picks:

Nick Kingham: Kingham was a fourth round pick and was considered a top 100 prospect entering the 2015 season.  However, the big righty underwent Tommy-John Surgery in 2015 and was only able to accumulate 46 innings in 2016.  Kingham entered 2017 with an ankle issue out of Spring Training, but he seems poised to make his big league debut any week now.

Brandon Cumpton: A ninth-round pick out of Georgia Tech, Cumpton had a lot of success in the minor leagues.  The righty owns a 3.62 ERA in 502 innings pitched.  He made his big league debut in 2013 appearing in six games including five starts.  The righty posted an impressive 2.05 ERA.  In 2014 he was given more of a chance, starting 10 games and making an overall 16 appearances.  He did not have as much success posting an ERA of 4.89 in his 50 innings of work.  Cumpton missed all of 2015 with Tommy-John.  He then required shoulder surgery in 2016.  He just made his first appearance this year in AAA.

Casey Sadler: Sadler was a 25th round pick, but he found a lot of success in the Pittsburgh Pirates minors.  Throwing over 500 innings and posting a sub 3.40 ERA.  He got to make his major league debut in 2014 pitching in six games in relief.  He made his first big league start in 2015, throwing five innings and giving up two earned runs.  Sadler ended up requiring Tommy-John and missed all of 2016, and he has made two appearances in AAA this year so far.

Other Picks:

Stetson Allie second round, Mel Rojas Jr. third round, Jared Lakind 23rd round.