Jim Callis on Taillon, Heredia, Rendon, Cole

Taillon could spend the entire year in West Virginia.

Jim Callis held a chat on Baseball America yesterday, talking about the 2011 draft, as well as other topics.  He covered several topics relating to the Pirates.  A summary follows, but check out the link above to read the entire chat transcript:

-He expects Taillon to get 90-110 innings this year, and expects him to stay in West Virginia all season, unless he dominates the level early on.  I’d agree with these.  I’ve heard 90-100 innings will be Taillon’s limit this year, and the Pirates plan on taking it slow with him at first, likely using him in a piggyback role early in the season, after he joins West Virginia.

-He thinks it will be at least four years until Luis Heredia arrives in the majors.

-He believes Pedro Alvarez will end up at first base in the next few years, regardless of who the Pirates draft this year.  He thinks that move could come sooner if they draft Anthony Rendon, since Rendon won’t need much time in the minors.  If they do draft Rendon,  give Alvarez until June 2013 at third base.

-Callis was asked whether Gerrit Cole would be the draft pick who spends the least amount of time in the minors.  He said it was fair to say.

-He thinks Chase d’Arnaud could be ready for the majors by the 2012 season, but doesn’t see him as a shortstop.

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Joey Porter's Pit Bulls

Interesting. Anybody have any thoughts on Gerrit Cole vs. Anthony Rendon? The Pirates face a dilemma here. You can never have too much pitching. Cole has been compared in some circles to Steven Strasburg. On the other hand, Rendon entered this season considered (by most observers) as the near-certain No. 1 pick, his ankle problems the past two seasons notwithstanding. Both Cole and Rendon are represented by Scott Boras, so THAT should make things interesting, too (not that I’m suggesting that the Pirates would bypass BOTH of them).

In either case, it pretty much doesn’t matter who the Pirates have on the major league roster now or who they’ve drafted the last couple of years. This team needs to stockpile talent. The question is who would be the BEST choice? Cole or Rendon? Pitchers inherently carry a fairly high degree of risk, but a player with injury history raises red flags, too.

Having seen NEITHER player and being nearly complete ignorant on the subject, my intuition says the Pirates should take Cole. Just a gut feeling.

You remember the pre-draft talk about Alvarez? There was discussion then, as there is now, that Alvarez would at some point move to first base, and that his strikeouts were always going to be there. None of those considerations should bear on this year’s draft decision. The one thing that bothered me way back then was the feeling the Pirates (in Huntington’s first draft) were going to take Alvarez no matter what. They HAD to, after Dave Littlefield had bypassed catcher Matt Wieters the previous season. It was like, Huntington and Co. never even considered drafting another catcher — Buster Posey, who was no secret at the time, and who was drafted with the fifth pick that year and subsequently turned into last year’s NL ROY on the World Series-winning San Francisco Giants. This is not to criticize Alvarez, or the Pirates for drafting him: I like him and have high hopes for him — he fields much better (errors to date notwithstanding) than I’d been led to believe, and hopefully his strikeouts will go down; and hopefully his hits (including extra base hits) will go up.

I’m just wondering about the Pirates’ management team’s mindset (always a big question mark), as they prepare for this year’s draft. Keeping in mind that a couple of months remain before the draft, with a lot of college baseball to be played still, I wonder whether the Pirates will pull the trigger on Cole or Rendon. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Right now, I’d go with Cole. Anybody else?

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