A Look at One of the Worst 1st Round Picks in Pittsburgh Pirates History


In the 2007 MLB Draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates made one of the worst 1st round picks in the franchise’s history. Today, we take a look back at that pick.

Not long ago, we went over what I considered the worst first round draft pick in Pittsburgh Pirates history. This pick came in the 2002 draft. In this draft, the Pirates had the number one overall selection, and used that pick to select Bryan Bullington when players were such as Prince Fielder, Joey Votto, Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels, and many other great players were available. But a close second one the list of worst 1st round picks in franchise history just might be the team’s 1st round pick from the 2007 draft.

The 2006 Pittsburgh Pirates were not a great team. They finished with the 4th worst record in baseball. They only had two players who finished with a 100 OPS+ and had at least 500 plate appearances. While their pitching wasn’t the worst with a 4.52 ERA, they did have the worst WHIP in the MLB at 1.51.

So in 2007, the Pittsburgh Pirates had the 4th overall pick in the draft. With that pick, they selected southpaw Daniel Moskos out of Clemson University. In Moskos’ final year at Clemson, he posted a 3.29 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and 3.37 FIP. Those numbers are pretty good, but they aren’t necessarily great for a 4th overall pick in the draft. We’ll get into why they chose him so early on.

The Pirates gave Daniel Moskos a $2.475 million signing bonus, but this turned into an ill-advised investment. Moskos never appeared on any top prospect lists because he simply wasn’t that good.

In his first full season in 2008, Moskos pitched 110.1 innings at High-A ball. He had a 5.95 ERA, 4.31 FIP, and 1.51 WHIP. Although he gave up just 8 home runs, Moskos didn’t strike out many batters with a 15.8% strikeout rate, nor was he a control pitcher either with an overall average walk rate of 8.7%.

Moskos was moved to Double-A in 2009, where he did improve, but still posted unimpressive numbers. Moskos dropped his ERA to 3.74, but his FIP remained almost identical to 2008 at 4.36 and his WHIP was 1.45 in 149 innings. While he still carried a similar walk (9%) and home run rate (0.7 HR/9), Moskos struck out way less batters, seeing his strikeout rate drop to just 12%.

Now 24-years-old, Moskos was moved to the bullpen where he seemed to find his niche. His first 41.1 innings of the season yielded a 1.52 ERA, 2.60 FIP, and 1.01 WHIP. Moskos gave up no home runs and again was fairly consistent with his walk rate of 9.6%. But this time, his strikeout rate jumped by over double. He was striking out 25.8% of all the batters he faced.

At the tail-end of the season, Moskos was moved to Triple-A where he struggled and gave up 20 earned runs, 26 hits, and 3 home runs in 17.1 innings of work. But still, those numbers at Double-A were impressive and renewed hope that Moskos could turn his career around.

Well those strikeout numbers proved to be just a fluke in 2011 when his strikeout percentage dropped to 16.4%. However, he did post a career low walk rate of 6.2%, and gave up just 2 home runs in 42 innings. Overall, he had a 3.43 ERA, 3.33 FIP, and 1.21 WHIP. Not great numbers, but solid.

Eventually, the Pittsburgh Pirates called Daniel Moskos to the MLB level where he would pitch the only 24.1 innings of his MLB career. Although he didn’t do awful in those innings with a 2.96 ERA, 3.23 FIP, and gave up no home runs, he had a 4.68 xFIP and 4.56 SIERA. So he had a fairly empty ERA.

Like I said, these proved to be the only innings of Moskos’ major league career. In 2012, he would pitch just 14 more unimpressive innings with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, was designated for assignment at the end of June, and claimed by the Chicago White Sox. This officially put an end to the former 4th overall pick in the 2007 draft’s time with the Pirates.

The sheer amount of talent that was drafted after Moskos in 2007 was unbelievable. Right after the Pirates’ selection, the Baltimore Orioles picked catcher Matt Wieters, a guy many were pinning to the Bucs at the time. Although Wieters didn’t fully live up to the hype of being the number one prospect in the MLB, he put together some decent seasons with the bat, and was a top notch defensive catcher.

Five picks later, the San Francisco Giants picked Madison Bumgarner. We all know how great Bumgarner is in the regular season, and even more so in the postseason. Just look at the 2014 NL Wild Card Game, and 2014 postseason in general. Then the Braves selected Jason Heyward with the 14th overall pick in the draft. We’ve only brought up three names, but they’ve totaled nearly 100 bWAR, or 91.9 to be exact. Rick Porcello, Todd Frazier, and Sean Doolittle, who was actually drafted as a first baseman were also selected in the 1st round of 2007, but the Pittsburgh Pirates could have also selected an MVP. Josh Donaldson was picked by the Chicago Cubs with the 48th overall pick in the draft as a catcher.

I’d be lying if I said that was all the elite talents that were in this draft, but the Braves struck gold again when they selected Freddie Freeman in the 2nd round. The 2nd round saw yet another MVP with Giancarlo Stanton, and another solid MLB pitcher for a handful of years, Jordan Zimmerman. A few other names worth mentioning are Jonathan Lucroy, Corey Kluber, Jake Arrieta, Steve Cishek, Anthony Rizzo, Brandon Belt, and Drew Pomeranz.

The main reason the Pirates selected Moskos over any of the other names that I talked about was General Manager Dave Littlefield’s decision to cheap-out on draft selections. Moskos’ signing bonus was the lowest out of the first five picks in the draft, and that was a big deciding factor in choosing the left handed pitcher.

Next. Revisiting the Pirates 2009 Draft Class. dark

The 2007 draft wasn’t a total bust as this was the draft that got the team Tony Watson in the 9th round. Ironically, Watson was the left handed pitcher the Pirates drafted who did pan out. But regardless, the 2007 draft might be one of the worst in Pirates history, especially the 1st round.

Moskos was a complete and utter bust when two future MVP’s, an MVP candidate, and a handful of other what would become All-Star level players were available. The only two reasons Moskos is not the worst Pirates draft pick of all time is one, he was quite serviceable in the one and only year he was in the majors and two, he wasn’t picked with the number one overall pick. But overall, he is probably the worst Pirates draft pick that wasn’t taken first in the draft.