Pittsburgh Pirates Draft: Please, Ben Cherington, Do Not Overthink This

Anticipation continues to grow about the Pirates and the no. 1 overall pick in Sunday's draft

2023 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship
2023 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship / Jay Biggerstaff/GettyImages
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Ben Cherington recently stated that the MLB Draft pool is "much deeper than two players," hinting that the Pittsburgh Pirates may not draft either Dylan Crews or Paul Skenes with the no. 1 overall pick

In 2004, the San Diego Padres were tasked with owning the no. 1 overall pick in the MLB Draft. There was a pitcher from Old Dominion University named Justin Verlander and nearly every baseball executive felt as though Verlander was the best prospect. By and large, people thought that the Padres would select Verlander.

But they didn't.

The Padres instead opted for a homegrown, high-school shortstop named Matt Bush. It was totally out of left field (no pun intended), to what the rest of the league thought they would do.

To make a long story short, Bush and the Padres didn't work out. Bush spent some years in the Padres minor league system before getting arrested and going to prison for a DUI hit and run. After that, he bounced around several other teams and has spent more time off of MLB rosters than on.

Last Friday, after allowing a walk off home run to Carlos Santana, Bush was released by the Milwaukee Brewers.

Verlander on the other hand was drafted no. 2 overall by the Detroit Tigers and has a spot waiting for him in Cooperstown when he retires.

Now, I'm not saying that if the Pittsburgh Pirates skip on drafting Dylan Crews or Paul Skenes that whoever they draft will end up in prison. Still, if they choose not to select Crews or Skenes they will regret it.

We all know that the Pirates front office has made some questionable (and questionable is being generous) decisions with their players in recent years. Yet, we must give credit where credit is due to Ben Cherington. Throughout his first three drafts as the Pirate general manager, he has not made any glaring mistakes.

It's still very early, and MLB draft picks take time to mature. So far though, Henry Davis and Nick Gonzales look like brilliant selections. Cherington also drafted top pitcher prospects Anthony Solometo and Jared Jones, who are making substantial noise in AA and AAA ball respectively.

All of the good that Cherington has done could be thrown out of the window if he doesn't draft LSU stars Crews or Skenes.

Crews, who was the star of LSU's offense this season, is considered a possible generational talent because of his ability to spray the ball to all sides of the field with his bat and his stellar defense in center field.

Skenes, who stands at 6'6 235 pounds is also considered a generational talent by some analysts. He was the star pitcher of the College World Series, where viewers oo'd and awed at his 100 mph fastball that batters couldn't come close to. Oh, and he also has the potential to be a two-way player.

It's no surprise that LSU won the CWS Championship with these two guys leading the charge.

Historically, drafting a pitcher no. 1 overall is risky business due to the fact that arm injuries are common. Although, in 2011 the Bucs drafted Gerrit Cole with the #1 overall pick, and that proved to be fruitful for the team. Of course, that was until they couldn't afford him anymore and traded him to the Houston Astros.

So, drafting center fielder Crews could be the smarter option for Cherington and the Pirates than drafting Skenes.

Well, this week Cherington spoke to the media and said "We’re still learning about all of the guys, and we think it’s a strong group. By group, I really do mean that it goes much deeper than two players.”

This draft doesn't go deeper than two players. Baseball executives know it. Pirates fans know it. Yet, somehow, Cherington seems to not.

Yes, there's been talk that Crews doesn't want to sign with the Pittsburgh Pirates. It has been reported that Crews wants a $10 million signing bonus. The Pirates have $16,185,700 in total bonus pool money to spend, and they plan on divvying it all out. Pirate team president Travis Williams said recently that there would be “no restrictions on spending within those parameters” while talking about the Pirate bonus pool money for the draft.

There are 3 ways this draft could go for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

1) The Pirates draft Dylan Crews no. 1 overall and all of this hoop la was for nothing.

2) The Pirates opt for the more risk more reward pick and draft pitcher Paul Skenes at no. 1.

3) The Pirates skip on drafting both Dylan Crews and Paul Skenes, solidifying the front office's ongoing mission of indecisiveness and inexpensiveness that has frustrated Pittsburgh Pirates fans for years.

Don't make the same mistake as the Padres did in 2004, Ben.

Tune in to MLB Network to see who the Pittsburgh Pirates select with their no. 1 overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft this Sunday, July 9th at 7 PM EST.

Previous no. 1 overall picks. Examining Previous No. 1 Overall Picks by the Pirates. dark. Next