On day two of the MLB draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates went heavy on prep players, taking high schoolers with 15 of their first 19 selections on the day. 15 of their 29 picks on the day were pitchers, 16 if you count Aaron Brown, who is a two way player that was selected as a right fielder.
On day three, the Pirates did two things. They went heavy on college players, and they went heavy on bats. The Pirates took just two prep players in their first 13 picks of the day on Wednesday. They also took five pitchers in their last 20 picks. They selected position players with every pick from the 33rd round, all the way to the 41st round.
In my recap of day two I mentioned that day three was pretty much a split between backup plans, and guys who will fill out the lower levels. Therefore, let’s break down today’s picks to see who falls in what category.
The Pirates took two college seniors today, after taking two yesterday. They selected catcher Derek Trent in the 31st round, and third baseman Chris Lashmet in the 33rd round. Trent is an interesting guy, as he’s a good left handed hitter with power. His arm only rates as average or better, so he might not provide the best defense behind the plate, although he has also played some outfield. Lashmet has put up some good offensive numbers for Northwestern, but doesn’t really have the power you’d want from a third baseman.
The Pirates took five juniors between the 37th round and the 43rd round. They took Rodarrick Jones, a left fielder, in the 37th round. Jones transferred to Southern University this past year, but didn’t see any playing time, possibly because he was ineligible due to the transfer. He’s very athletic with good speed, although he’s more a project with the bat.
D.J. Crumlich, a shortstop selected in the 38th round, comes from UC Irvine. He reminds me a bit of this year’s Kelson Brown. He was drafted as a shortstop, and has good hands and a good arm, although his lack of range might force a move to the second base side of the bag. He also has good hitting skills.
Rand Ravnaas, the 39th round pick, might not be a guarantee to sign. He was the top hitter out of Georgetown, and has good speed, finishing second in the Big East with 26 stolen bases. He’s got good hitting ability and some pop, but he could be like Tyler Cannon in 2009, opting to return to college for his senior year.
Jonathan Schwind, a 41st round catcher, is very athletic with good arm strength, allowing him to play anywhere on the field. Willie Argo, a 43rd round center fielder, has good speed, range, and a good arm, which might allow him to stick in center field. He also has some power potential.
The odds are stacked against these guys for any long term success in the higher levels, although that doesn’t make it impossible. For the short term, we will likely see them filling out the rosters in State College, and moving up to West Virginia next year.
Tough to Sign
The guy I like the most from day three might be very difficult to sign. Nick Hibbing was drafted in the 42nd round, and was considered a potential top 10 round pick by scouts until missing a start with a tender ulnar nerve in his forearm. He has a commitment to Iowa, which will make him a difficult sign.
Zechariah Lemond has a commitment to pitch at Rice, and it would be tough for the Pirates to pry him away from that commitment as a 50th round pick. They would have to have a lot of their early picks pass before throwing money at him as a backup plan. He’s a two-way player, and also plays football, so he’s very athletic.
The Pirates took Jordan Deluca in the 47th round, out of Saxton, PA, which is just south of Altoona. Deluca had some impressive numbers in 2011, and showed some speed with a 6.59 60-yard dash, as well as a good arm in the outfield. He has a commitment to Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Jeff Schalk might be a difficult sign, with a commitment to UAB. He’s a very projectable hitter with power potential, due to his good strength. He’s athletic, and has a good arm, which makes him a good fit in right field. He squares up on the ball well, and has quick hands, which give him his power potential.
Finally there’s Hommy Rosado, taken in the 34th round. Rosado was taken out of the JuCo ranks, a year after being drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 11th round. If he didn’t sign as an 11th round pick, it would be difficult seeing him signed as a 34th round pick a year later. However, a similar thing happened with Zac Fuesser in 2008/2009, so it’s not impossible. Rosado has a good bat, with some power, although a lack of range limits him to first base.
The Pirates took five straight prep players to close out the draft, although as I indicated with Lemond, it will be difficult to sign them. I’ve already learned that 48th round pick Zach Thompson is leaning towards honoring his commitment to the University of Texas-Arlington. His brother, Matt, currently plays in the Texas Rangers’ farm system.