FanPost

Potential 2013 Pirates Draft Picks

To see my post on the Yankees, click here.
To see my post on the Cardinals, click here.
To see my post on the Rays, click here.

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On June 6, 2013, the first day of the MLB Amateur draft begins. The Pittsburgh Pirates have two first round picks (picks 9 and 14), and a second and third round pick (picks 51 and 87). Let's look at the recent drafting history of the Pirates to see what type of player the team will focus on, and try to identify some draft prospects they should target. Below is a list of players the Pirates have drafted over the last five years in the first three rounds:

Year Round Pick # Name Position School level
2012 1 8 Mark Appel RHP College
2012 1 45 Barrett Barnes OF College
2012 2 69 Wyatt Mathisen C HS
2012 3 103 Jonathan Sandfort RHP HS
2011 1 1 Gerrit Cole RHP College
2011 2 61 Josh Bell RF HS
2011 3 91 Alex Dickerson 1B College
2010 1 2 Jameson Taillon RHP HS
2010 2 52 Stetson Allie RHP HS
2010 3 84 Mel Rojas CF College
2009 1 4 Tony Sanchez C College
2009 1 49 Vic Black RHP College
2009 2 53 Brooks Pounders RHP HS
2009 3 84 Evan Chambers CF College
2008 1 2 Pedro Alvarez 3B College
2008 2 48 Tanner Scheppers RHP College
2008 3 79 Jordy Mercer SS College

The Pirates have had few additional picks beyond the guaranteed three, a sign that they have not had much compensation-worthy talent under past draft rules. And that any talent that would get them compensation picks they've traded before the trading deadline. This is the exact opposite of the Tampa Bay Rays, who tend to hold on to their players and grab the compensation picks. Of the 17 players drafted, 11 have been from the college ranks, or 65% of the players drafted. However, they have shifted more towards high school players in the last three years, going with them as often as they do college players.

In the first round, 86% of their draft picks have been from college, with their lone high school first rounder being Jameson Taillon in 2010. In the second round, they have picked prep players 80% of the time, last going to the college ranks in 2008 with Tanner Scheppers. In the third round, 80% of their picks are from the college ranks, and their one high school pick came last year with Jon Sandfort. Other than 2008, they have always picked at least one high school player in the first three rounds.

This year, the Pirates have 4 picks in the first three rounds. Given their drafting history above, we can expect two high school players and two college players. This is a bit lower than their 65% rate of picking college players, but reflects their increased focus on prep players in the last three years.

So what type of players do they focus on? In the first round, they have picked both college bats and arms 43% of the time since 2008. In the second round, they have gone with both prep bats and arms 40% of the time. In the third round, they've gone with a college bat 80% of the time.

Overall, they've gone with a prep arm 24% of the time, and a prep bat 12% of the time. They've picked a college bat 41% of the time and a college arm 24% of the time. Overall, they've picked a bat 52% of the time, and an arm 48% of the time in the first three rounds. Of those bats picked, they've picked an OF 44% of the time, a catcher 22% of the time, and a SS, 3B, and 1B 11% of the time. Out of the 52% of their picks that were pitchers, they've picked a RHP every time.

Given their draft history, what type of draft could we expect from the Pirates this year? It seems reasonable to expect them to pick a college player in the first round, as they've done 86% of the time in the last five years. With 4 picks, we would expect two bats and two arms. With are going to look at one each of the four major categories. Looking at their tendencies over the last five years, I would expect the first round picks to be a college arm and a college bat. In the second and third round, I am going to look at another prep arm and a prep bat, in that order.

Looking at my personal draft rankings, who would be available that fits these descriptions. Their first pick, pick 9, is compensation for failing to sign Mark Appel last year. Let's look at my top 15 players:

First name Last name POS State High School College
Mark Appel RHP California
Stanford
Austin Meadows OF Georgia Grayson
Jonathan Gray RHP Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Clint Frazier OF Georgia Loganville
Sean Manaea LHP Indiana
Indiana State
Kris Bryant 1B California
San Diego
Ryne Stanek RHP Arkansas
Arkansas
Kohl Stewart RHP Texas St. Pius X
Jonathan Denney C Oklahoma Yukon
Colin Moran 3B North Carolina
North Carolina
Chris Anderson RHP Florida
Jacksonville
Reese McGuire C Washington Kentwood
John Paul Crawford SS California Lakewood
Braden Shipley RHP Nevada
Nevada
Trey Ball OF Indiana New Castle

Barring something unforeseen, the first 6 players should all be gone before the Pirates pick 9th. Stanek is the first player who has a reasonable chance of falling to the Pirates. Part of me think they could pick a HS player for only the second time in the first round in the last five years, and go with Kohl Stewart. But let's look at the college player available here. That leaves four players: 3B Colin Moran and RHPs Ryne Stanek, Chris Anderson, and Braden Shipley. I think it comes down one of the righties. Shipley is a shorter RHP, and the Pirates like their starters tall. Stanek has an unorthodox, cross-body motion similar to Jered Weaver, and the Pirates seem to like more traditional mechanics. So that leaves Chris Anderson. Anderson has a big, sturdy build who can hit mid-90s with his fastball, and already has a plus breaking ball. He has shot up the boards this spring, and as of April 21, 2.59 ERA, with a 83/15 K/BB ratio over 73 IP. And he should be an easy sign, perhaps underslot which would help with later picks. So with the 9th pick, the Pirates select Chris Anderson, RHP, Jacksonville University, Florida.


Their next pick is pick 14. Let's look at the 10 players surrounding 14 (my ranked #9-19):

First name Last name POS State High School College
Jonathan Denney C Oklahoma Yukon
Colin Moran 3B North Carolina
North Carolina
Chris Anderson RHP Florida
Jacksonville
Reese McGuire C Washington Kentwood
John Paul Crawford SS California Lakewood
Braden Shipley RHP Nevada
Nevada
Trey Ball OF Indiana New Castle
Austin Wilson OF California
Stanford
Ian Clarkin LHP California James Madison
Ryan Boldt OF Minnesota Red Wing
Philip Ervin OF Alabama
Samford

We wanted to look at college bats at this pick. Moran should be gone by 14. So that leaves 2 players: Austin Wilson and Philip Ervin. Now that Wilson is back healthy, he seems like the best choice here. Wilson is well-known, being a former top draft prospect. He was picked by the Cardinals in the 2010 draft, but he chose to attend Stanford over pro ball. Wilson is a big, strong outfielder at 6'5" and 250 pounds. He should be competent defensively in the outfield, but will probably have to move to first base as he ages. He will strike out a lot, but the power potential will ease those concerns on draft day. So far, in limited action due to injury, he has a .382/.488/.618 line, with a 5/5 K/BB ratio in 34 AB. He could be a steal at 14, as he was seen as an easy top-ten pick preseason. So with the 14th pick, the Pirates select Austin Wilson, OF, Stanford University, California.


The Pirates next pick is pick 51 in the second round. Here are the ten picks surrounding 51 on my board:

First name Last name POS State High School College
Cavan Biggio 3B Texas St. Thomas
Carlos Salazar RHP California Kerman
Jonah Wesely LHP California Tracy
Jacoby Jones OF Louisiana
Louisiana State
Travis Demeritte 3B Georgia Winder Barrow
Hunter Harvey RHP North Carolina Catawba
Jan Hernandez 3B Puerto Rico Beltran Baseball Academy
Billy McKinney OF Texas Plano West
Zack Collins 1B Florida American Heritage
Aaron Blair RHP West Virginia
Marshall
A.J. Puk LHP Iowa Washington

Looking at high school bats, we have Cavan Biggio, Travis Demeritte, Jan Hernandez, Billy McKinney, and Zach Collins. There are no catchers, which is second to outfielders in position players picked by the Pirates. This is a tough one. The Pirates have not used a top three pick on someone from Puerto Rico, so let's eliminate Hernandez. McKinney sounds like a tough sign, with his commitment to TCU. Biggio will probably be picked by the Astros before this pick. So that leaves Demeritte and Collins. Collins actually plays catcher in high school. Although he will probably end up at first base, let's have him taken by the Pirates as a catcher. Collins is a big guy (6'3" 220), with a powerful swing from the left-hand side. Even if he can't make it as a catcher, the bat will give him a chance at first base. So with pick 51, the Pirates select Zach Collins, C, American Heritage HS, Florida.


Finally, in the third round, the Pirates have pick 87. Here are the ten players surrounding 87 on my draft board:

First name Last name POS State High School College
Keegan Thompson RHP Alabama Cullman
Tim Anderson SS Mississippi
East Central CC
Josh Hart OF Georgia Parkview
Joe Martarano 3B Idaho Fruitland
Jacob Brentz LHP Missouri Parkway South
Conrad Gregor 1B Tennesee
Vanderbilt
Chad Pinder SS Virginia
Virginia Tech
Nick Longhi 1B Florida Venice
John Sternagel 3B Florida Rockledge
Brian Ragira 1B California
Stanford
Tyler Danish RHP Florida Durant

There are three prep pitchers here. The Pirates have yet to pick a LHP in the first three rounds over the last five years, so let's assume that will continue. That leaves Keegan Thompson and Tyler Danish. Danish is a personal favorite, but his mechanics don't seem like something the Pirates would draft. So I am going with Keegan Thompson. Thompson has a projectable 6'2" frame, and currently hits low 90s, with an above average curveball, and a change-up with some potential. He has an Auburn commitment, and may be a tough sign. He also could be picked earlier than 87. If so, Kevin Davis from TR Miller HS in Alabama is a good back-up. So, with the 87th selection in the draft, the Pirates select Keegan Thompson, RHP, Cullman HS, Alabama.


Here's the final results:

9. Chris Anderson, RHP, Jacksonville University, Florida

14. Austin Wilson, OF, Stanford University, California

51. Zach Collins, C, American Heritage HS, Florida

87. Keegan Thompson, RHP, Cullman HS, Alabama

So what do you think? Does this look like a reasonable draft for the Pittsburgh Pirates? Who do you think is a better fit, and why?

Coming up next is the Rangers. Vote below to pick which team you would like me to do next. Thanks!

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