For the last three days, I’ve been answering the same question over and over: Do the Pirates no longer like high school players in the draft?
Let’s just say that “Small Sample Size” isn’t just a phrase that should be applied to stats in April. The Pirates have drafted prep players for years, and suggesting that they’ve suddenly changed their approach based on one draft is like suggesting a guy will hit 162 homers because he hit a homer on Opening Day.
If you read my article last night, you’d know why the Pirates didn’t draft many prep guys. In short, the new draft system makes it harder to draft prep players outside of the top rounds. If a team like the Pirates decides that they want to go with college guys early, then they’re pretty much locked out from going after many prep guys in that draft. The alternative is passing on the college guys they like, solely to take a prep player, and that’s something that Neal Huntington said tonight that they would never do.
Making predictions based on small sample sizes in the draft is nothing new though.
Back in 2009 it was said that the Pirates were scared of tough negotiations after what happened with Pedro Alvarez, which is why they went signability with Tony Sanchez. They were destined to go signability in the first round each year, all because of that one draft. And they were destined to go with nothing but college hitters in the first, because that’s all they liked, based on their two drafts.
Then they took Jameson Taillon in the first round in 2010, which ruined those theories.
In 2011, the narrative was that they were afraid of Scott Boras, which was why they would pass on Gerrit Cole. Also, there were theories that they didn’t like college pitchers, because they invested so much in prep pitchers. But then they drafted Gerrit Cole, killing that theory. And they also drafted Josh Bell and broke the draft by giving him $5 M. Both were Boras clients, so the idea that Alvarez scared them off was killed. Or maybe not, since I still hear that sometimes.
In 2013 they had taken a prep pitcher, a college pitcher, and college hitters, so they weren’t going to take prep hitters. Then they took Austin Meadows and Reese McGuire. And after taking Cole Tucker in 2014 and Kevin Newman this year, the narrative is already starting up that they prefer hitters over pitchers in the first round. Now granted, they have taken hitters with the majority of their first round picks (6 of 9 if you count Mark Appel and both 2013 picks). But this doesn’t seem like an organization that sticks to one strategy, or rules out entire groups of players.
That’s the key thing to remember. The only trend that the Pirates have shown over the years is that there is no trend. They draft based on what is available in that particular draft. Last year’s draft was somewhat centered around three over-slot prep pitchers. They didn’t go that route this year because of the limitations I mentioned above. Maybe those limitations will prevent them from going big on prep guys next year. Or maybe they’ll like a prep guy more than a college guy next year. And maybe it will be a pitcher. All I do know is that this will only depend on what is available in that draft, and not some pre-conceived strategy by the Pirates to only take players from one group, and to completely disregard players from another group.
**Don’t Rule Out the Pirates Going Over-Slot on Guys From Day Three. My day three recap with quotes from Neal Huntington about whether they will go over-slot. I’m already hearing a few things about the Pirates creating some money for some of the guys drafted today. Nothing official yet, and I’ll let you know more when I know it. But right now I’d say it’s a guarantee they’ll have some over-slot guys from day three.
**Draft Signing Rumors: Kramer, Hughston, Helton, Hightower and More. Speaking of rumors, here is everything we do know, based on a lot of searching, research, and some information we gathered ourselves. At this rate, the Pirates might wrap up their signings by the weekend.
Here were the day three picks, with information on every player taken. You can also find info on each player by checking out their player pages, linked from the Draft Pick Signing Tracker.
And here is the regular news today.
**Yhonathan Barrios Promoted to Indianapolis. In the article I detail the interesting transformation that led from Barrios being a big bonus bust as a hitter to a Triple-A pitcher and a legit relief prospect.
**Prospect Watch: Josh Bell, Willy Garcia, and Elias Diaz All Homer. Nice to see continued power from these three.
John Dreker will take a look at some of the highlights from day three in his Morning Report. The regular features will also return, with Nate Barnes looking at what is going right for Mark Melancon. Meanwhile, I’ll be spending my day working on upgrades to the membership software. For any of you who have experienced random login issues, I’m hoping to have that fixed for good soon.