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 2011 Draft
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

2011 Draft

The Pittsburgh Pirates were the overall worst team in baseball in 2010.  Due to this, the Pittsburgh Pirates were at the top of the draft board for the 2011 draft.  Three arms were in the conversation for the number one overall pick along with one hitter.  The pitchers were Gerrit Cole, Danny Hultzen, and Trevor Bauer.  In addition to those three, infielder Anthony Rendon was the top hitter under consideration, however, there were questions about his health.  In the end, Neal Huntington drafted Gerrit Cole, and it has been the right pick from the group.  Here is what MLB.com had on Cole:

"“Cole looks and throws like a future ace, with three plus power pitches. His fastball is 92-99 mph and sits comfortably at 95-96 deep into starts. His hard slider comes in at 88-90 mph, and even his changeup is 88-90 mph. In some ways, that’s been the problem — no variation of velocity, allowing good hitters to time him.” “During a stretch when he was getting hit, despite his stuff looking just fine, he was opening his front side so his release point was right down the middle, meaning his stuff was catching too much of the plate. It was coming in flat, with a lack of deception. His control is fine — he doesn’t hurt himself with walks — but his command within the zone is what really hurt him during that stretch. That won’t keep the top couple of teams from putting him at or near the top of their boards, but it undoubtedly will lead to deeper conversations about the first overall pick.”"

For most of Cole’s career, he has looked like that front line starter that he was projected to be.  Everything came together for Cole in 2015 when he had his best year.   Cole eclipsed 200 innings for the first and only time in his career.  He was also elected to the all-star game.  In general, he earned a 19-8 record and accumulated an ERA of 2.60.  Things have not gone as well for Cole over the last two seasons, but there is still a lot of positive optimism around him, especially when comparing him to the other two arms that the Pirates were considering at the draft.

Notable Picks:

Josh Bell: Bell was supposed to be a first round pick.  He was not though, mainly because he sent a letter asking teams not to draft him, as he was going to honor his commitment to Texas.  Part of the motivation of this letter was the fact that his mom taught at Texas.  So Bell fell into the second round, and the Pittsburgh Pirates decided to take a chance.  Well, a record-breaking $5 million bonus got him to sign his name to be a Pittsburgh Pirate. Bell mashed his way through the minors as an outfielder turned first baseman, collecting a career average of .303 with a .827 OPS.  Now, he is the starting first baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Tyler Glasnow: Glasnow was a fifth round pick out of Hart High School in California.  He received a large bonus of $600,000.  He showed why.  Glasnow came into the system as a tall and hard-throwing prospect with a huge ceiling.  As he dominated the minors, reports were that he was throwing upper 90s with a wipeout curve.  However, there were concerns about his ability to command his pitches.   He was getting by in the minors because his stuff was flat out dominant.  Through his 500 career minor league innings, Glasnow has posted an ERA of 2.03.  Also, he has an outstanding 11.61 K/9, but as stated earlier, he has had control issues, walking 4.5 batters per nine innings. Glasnow made his big league debut in 2016, and was given a shot in the rotation from the start of 2017.  He has struggled so far at the big league level.

Other Picks:

Alex Dickerson third round, Clay Holmes ninth round, Trea Turner 20th round (unsigned).