The Pittsburgh Pirates have drafted right-handed pitcher Bret Helton from Utah in the ninth round. Helton is 6′ 3″, 215 pounds, and throws 93-94 MPH. He struggled this year with control, posting a 5.72 ERA in 61.1 innings, along with a 48:32 K/BB ratio. He got over those issues after a trip to the bullpen to get things sorted out. He was rated as the 448th best prospect by Baseball America.
Helton continues a few day two trends. He is another college guy, with the Pirates drafting nothing but college players on day two. Their only high school pick has been first rounder Ke’Bryan Hayes, although fourth rounder Jacob Taylor is from the JuCo ranks. Helton is also the fifth pitcher the Pirates have taken in the last six picks, and the fourth right-hander in that span. Like the others, he has a good fastball, but needs to improve his command and his secondary stuff.
Most of these guys will go to make up the Morgantown pitching staff. Helton has a chance to start, since he also throws a cutter and a curveball. Just like the other guys, he’s a project, with the hope that the Pirates can build off his frame and fastball. Helton is the son of Barry Helton, who won two Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers.