The Pittsburgh Pirates have the number one pick, and while people are worrying over statements made by the front office, it's worth taking the statements with a grain of salt.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have the number one overall pick, and based on statements by general manager Ben Cherington, the team is looking at multiple players to be the number one overall pick. Aside from the obvious choices like Dylan Crews and Paul Skenes, some of his statements have hinted at other players, potentially ones like Wyatt Langford, Max Clark, or Walker Jenkins as other players the Pirates are looking to draft number one overall.
However, most fans want the Pirates to draft Crews or Skenes (as do I), and Cherington’s statements are not encouraging that’s who they’re looking to draft. But I think it’s worth noting that we should take some of these statements with a grain of salt.
The public will not know who the Pirates are going to draft until Rob Manfred walks to the stage and announces it. Sure, I hate the suspense of not knowing what such an important decision in the franchise’s history will be. We can speculate all day what Cherington meant by this, or what he insinuated when he said that, and if that meant they were picking this guy over that guy. But you have to understand that the Pirates are intentionally going to be deceptive and broad in their statements leading up to the draft.
They’re playing their cards close to their body, and that’s completely normal. Every team is. Even though they have the number one pick, they’re not going to give up any leverage in signing bonus negotiations regarding the number one pick.
Even boiling it down to just a basic strategic decision, you don't want your opponents to know your next move, even if you have an unflinching advantage over them. No team would. You wouldn’t expect a professional poker player to reveal his hand early, even if he has a royal flush, so it’s not reasonable to expect the Pirates to reveal who they’re drafting even if they have an undisputed pick.
You don’t hear other teams going around boasting about who is at the top of their draft list. Even in years where there was a record-breaking signing bonus, like Adley Rutschman or Spencer Torkelson, the Baltimore Orioles nor the Detroit Tigers came out to the media and stated that was who they planned on drafting number one overall. The rest of the world found out when Manfred announced it.
Like most fans, I really, really wish I knew if the Pirates were taking Crews or not. That’s my personal number one overall pick. But Ben Cherington's statement saying "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.” is a statement every other team would make if they had the number one pick, and were asked by media personnel who they plan on selecting with the undisputed pick.