While doing the player pages for the new draft picks this year, I ended up writing just over half of the pages from day three. So today I wanted to look at some interesting players from that group. If you missed it from last night, we are already hearing rumors about draft picks signing, or planning to sign. No deals will be official just yet as the players need to take their physical first and actually sign the contracts, but we have some pretty good information about who has already agreed to sign. It is typical for a large group of players to all sign right away so the Pirates can get them assigned to their short-season teams and most deals are worked out ahead of time.
You can find all of the player pages on our draft tracker page, which will be updated when players officially sign. After the draft was done, the Pirates held a conference call and talked about the possibilities of signing some over-slot players after the tenth round. Below are some of the players I read up on and really liked their potential. If you see a player missing below from day three that you thought had potential, it’s probably because I didn’t do their prospect page and haven’t had a chance to really look into the others yet.
One of my favorites has already said he is turning pro. Nicholas Economos is all about potential. He is a 6’6″ righty, with room to add some muscle. He turns 20 later this month, but already has two year of college experience. Economos has reportedly hit 95 MPH and he has put up big strikeout numbers in college. There is a downside, and that is control issues. Anytime you can get a big arm into your system that is still projectable, that is a good thing. He was taken in the 21st round, so that looks like a solid late round pick.
Speaking of height, how about two tall lefty pitchers, who just happen(I assume) to have commitments to the same small college in Texas. Chris Falwell is another pitcher that didn’t put up great stats in 2015, but there is a lot of upside. He throws low-90’s with deception and at 6’6″, 195 pounds, he could easily add 30 pounds to his frame. He is 20 years old and hasn’t put in many innings the last two years of college, which means he has a fresh arm.
Falwell was taken in the 29th round, ten rounds after Ike Schlabach. He is 6’5″, 205 pounds and just 18 years old. He was the second high school player the Pirates picked in the entire draft and first since Ke’Bryan Hayes, who was drafted #32 overall. Schlabach is going to cost more than slot to sign due to his potential/upside, but he could be worth it. He touches low-90’s with his fastball already and just like Falwell there is room to add muscle to his frame. The difference is that Schlabach is 20 months younger.
Those three give you a trio of tall projectable pitchers, but day three of the draft wasn’t just about pitching. The Pirates took outfielder Jake McCarthy in the 23rd round out of Scranton HS. His brother Joe McCarthy was someone we talked about often, as there were rumors that the Pirates had an interest in drafting him. It is interesting that they ended up drafting his brother, who just happens to have a commitment to the same school(Virginia) that his brother will be leaving, assuming he signs as a fifth round pick with the Rays.
The Pirates apparently spent a lot of time with the younger McCarthy, with word that they held extra batting practices for him after games on multiple occasions and followed him all season. That sounds like there could be a lot of interest, but bonus demands probably caused him to drop in the draft. McCarthy is a very athletic player, excelling at football and basketball when he wasn’t playing baseball. He has plus speed and puts in good at-bats at the plate. While there are no rumors yet about him signing, or what he would need to sign, it’s apparent that the interest is there and he could be one of the players that the Pirates decide to go over slot to get.
One final note and that was the news we heard on Eli White, the 37th round pick. I intended to include the Clemson shortstop in this article until we got word that his coach at Clemson said he expects him to return next season(see rumors link above). White is a draft-eligible sophomore, so he has a lot of leverage in negotiations.
Pirates Game Graph
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates defeated the Brewers by a 2-0 score on Wednesday. They have off today, then play three games at PNC Park against the Philadelphia Phillies starting on Friday night. Jeff Locke will be on the mound for the Pirates, opposing former Pirate pitcher Kevin Correia, making his Phillies debut.
In the minors, Jayson Aquino gets his sixth start since joining the Pirates. He started off great with seven shutout innings, then had two very poor outings. That was followed up by two strong outings, in which he gave up one earned run over 12 total innings. Zack Dodson is fifth in the Eastern League in ERA and his 1.05 WHIP ranks sixth in the league. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.
MLB: Pittsburgh (32-27) vs Phillies (22-39) 7:05 PM 6/12
Probable starter: Jeff Locke (5.37 ERA, 25:49 BB/SO, 62.0 IP)
DSL: Pirates (4-6) vs Tigers (6-4) 10:30 AM (season preview)
Here’s a video of Josh Bell’s third homer of the season. Altoona has now homered in 14 straight games. Early in the season, they were last in the Eastern League in homers.
6/10: Yhonathan Barrios promoted to Indianapolis.
6/9: John Holzkom activated from Indianapolis disabled list
6/9: Brett McKinney promoted to Altoona. Ryan Hafner added to Bradenton roster.
6/7: Pirates release Tyler Sample.
6/5: Justin Sellers assigned to Bradenton on rehab.
6/5: Charlie Leesman placed on Indianapolis disabled list.
6/5: Francisco Diaz activated from WV Power disabled list.
6/5: Kawika Emsley-Pai promoted to Bradenton roster. Jin-De Jhang assigned to Extended Spring Training.
6/3: Pirates outright Radhames Liz to Indianapolis.
5/29: Andy Vasquez added to Altoona roster.
5/29: Keon Broxton promoted to Indianapolis. Adam Miller placed on disabled list.
5/29: Jeff Roy activated from West Virginia disabled list. Andy Otamendi assigned to Extended Spring Training.
5/28: Jose Osuna promoted to Altoona. Jordan Steranka added to Bradenton.
5/28: Andy Otamendi added to WV Power roster. Trace Tam Sing assigned to WV Black Bears.
This Date in Pirates History
Two former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, both played significant roles with the team. Starting with second baseman Dave Cash, who played for the Pirates from 1969 until 1973. The Pirates signed him as a fifth round draft pick out of high school in 1966 and it didn’t take long for him to make it to the big leagues. During the championship season of 1971, he played 123 games, which was his high while with Pittsburgh. Cash hit .289 during the regular season, then had a .421 average during the NLCS. He struggled during the World Series, going 4-for-30, but the Pirates won it in seven games over the Orioles. After the 1973 season, he was traded to the Phillies for pitcher Ken Brett. Cash ended up making the All-Star team three straight years in Philadelphia.
Also born on this date was outfielder Frank Thomas, who played for the Pirates from 1951 until 1958. He hit .275 with the Pirates, belting 163 homers and driving in 562 runs in 925 games. His home run total ranks seventh in team history. Thomas was part of a big trade that helped the Pirates win the 1960 World Series. In 1959, he was dealt to the Reds in a trade that brought back Smoky Burgess, Don Hoak and Harvey Haddix. During the 1958 season, he finished fourth in the MVP voting and made his third All-Star team.
A late addition to the former players born on this date, infielder Brock Holt, who played for the 2012 Pirates before being sent to the Red Sox in the Joel Hanrahan/Mark Melancon deal. He isn’t included in the link above, which was written before he made the majors, but I’m pretty sure you know who he is anyway.