Pittsburgh Pirates: B.A. Ranks Top Drafts Classes of the Decade

(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates previous regime was here for the entirety of the 2010s.  One of their draft classes ranks as one of the best of the decade.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have a new General Manager for the first time since 2007.  That was the year that they hired now former General Manager Neal Huntington away from the Cleveland Indians. From day one, Neal Huntington made it clear that he needed to rebuild the Pittsburgh Pirates through an improvement of the farm system.  In turn, it was very important for the team to have success in the draft.

Things did not exactly go to plan.  In fact, the draft was one of the main complaints about the previous regime.  The team rarely seemed to find “franchise” type players under Huntington and often reached on draft prospects instead of taking the “name.”  Of course, there were several other issues with the team, not just the draft process.

However, there was one year that Neal Huntington apparently nailed the draft.  In 2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates had the first overall pick.  The team was between multiple players with Gerrit Cole, Danny Hultzen, and Anthony Rendon being considered for the first pick.  Cole was the expected pick, but the team also liked the potential left-handed ace in Hultzen or the upside power bat in Rendon.  The Pirates made the right decision and drafted Cole with the first pick.

This choice helped give the Pittsburgh Pirates one of the best-ranked draft classes of the decade.  Yesterday, the prospect and amateur baseball player website Baseball America put out their rankings of the top drafts of the decade.  The site put the Pittsburgh Pirates 2011 draft class as the third-best draft class of the 2010s.

The team drafted Cole with the first pick, but also found a couple of other big-time talents in the draft.  They grabbed power hitting switch hitter Josh Bell with their second-round pick and eventual top pitching prospect Tyler Glasnow.  Bell, of course, hit 37 home runs with the Bucs in 2019, while Gerrit Cole finished runner up for the CY Young award.  Tyler Glasnow has gone on to look like that top pitching prospect in Tampa Bay.  Here are others that Baseball America pointed out from the draft:

"Alex Dickerson (3), Colten Brewer (4) and Clay Holmes (9) have all carved out careers, as well. If the Pirates had signed Trea Turner (20) as a high school pick, their draft might have been one for all-time."

What is sad is that the Pittsburgh Pirates had one of the best Drafts of the 2010s.  The only two teams that ranked ahead of them were the Marlins (2010) and Red Sox (2011).  Yet, the team watched two of those dynamic arms leave and blossom in other cities. One of the many things that put a black mark on the previous front office.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates need to have more strong drafts as they did in 2011.  The team now has Assistant General Manager Steve Saunders in charge of drafting and should be in good hands with his successful track record in Toronto.  Hopefully, the Pittsburgh Pirates have more draft classes on the 2020s list.