I am counting down my personal list of the top 25 Pirate prospects. You can follow the countdown here, or by clicking on the “Top 25 Prospects” link in the site header.
Date of Birth: 1/21/1987
Weight: 175 pounds
Drafted: 4th Round, 2008 (Pepperdine University)
Chase D’Arnaud seems to be similar to Jordy Mercer, who I covered at number 18 on this list. Both are big, offense-oriented shortstops who are decent defensively. They were drafted in consecutive rounds in the 2008 draft. There are some questions about each being able to stay at short long-term, but each has the potential to be an average defender. D’Arnaud also played some third in college. With limited playing time available at short in 2009, he may have to get some repetitions at third or second.
D’Arnaud was solid in his first two seasons at Pepperdine, but really broke out in his third year. He apparently made great strides with his plate discipline, walking 33 times with 36 strikeouts in 265 plate appearances. He also increased his slugging percentage from the previous season by over 100 points, despite a slight drop in batting average. He collected 183 plate appearances with State College after the draft, hitting a decent .286/.333/.423. His walk rate was only 6.1%, something he can hopefully improve a bit in 2009. It will be interesting to see whether D’Arnaud or Mercer will be able to break away from the surplus of Pirate shortstops in their first full season of professional ball.
Expected arrival in Pittsburgh: 2013