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Rounds 36-40: Pirates Complete Their Raid of East Tennessee State University

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The Pirates went a familiar route in the 38th round, taking their third player of the day from East Tennessee State University. They took catcher Hagen Owenby in the 14th round, and shortstop Chris Cook in the 30th round. They continued the raid in round 38 with left fielder Aaron Maher. I’m not sure if the two later round guys will sign, but that is rare for three players to be drafted by the same team from the same school in the same year.

The Pirates scout for Tennessee is Jerry Jordan, who also scouted first round pick Will Craig. Jordan’s most notable pick while scouting with the Pirates has been Austin Meadows. He was clearly a busy guy in this draft.

As for the guys in these rounds, none of them are college seniors, so they can go back to school and try to improve their draft slots. I’d be surprised if any of them sign, as they’re looking at filling out the bench at the lower levels for a few years. They can return for another year at college, be starters for their college teams, and maybe get picked higher next year. Or, if something goes wrong with one of the earlier day three picks, the Pirates might turn to these guys as a Plan B and offer a better role, which has happened before. – Tim Williams

36th Round, 1095th Overall: Dustin Williams, 1B, Oklahoma State

Williams is a power-hitting first baseman with solid defense. He had a tough junior season, hitting .219 with 72 strikeouts in 201 at-bats, but it came with 14 homers. Despite the low average, he still had a .786 OPS due to the power, plus 32 walks helping his OBP. He hit much better during his junior season with an .865 OPS and a slightly better strikeout rate, though he only hit six homers. After the 2015 season, he put up strong stats over the summer in the California Collegiate League, where he had a .954 OPS. If he signs, he will play for either Morgantown or Bristol, but he could probably improve his draft stock if he returned to college and tried to cut down on the strikeouts. – John Dreker

37th Round, 1125th Overall: Colin Brockhouse, RHP, Ball State

The Pirates selected Brockhouse as a draft-eligible sophomore. He pitched in relief in 2015 and served as a swing man in 2016. He didn’t put up good numbers in either year, with ERAs of 6.50 and 5.18, and he had control problems. He did strike out a little under a batter an inning, with 86 Ks in 91 IP. Brockhouse was throwing 90 MPH by the time he went to Ball State and may have added velocity since then. He also throws a curve and change. Brockhouse also played some third base in college. – Wilbur Miller

38th Round, 1155th Overall: Aaron Maher, LF, East Tennessee State University

Maher is the third player taken by the Pirates in the 2016 draft from East Tennessee State University. They also took catcher Hagen Owenby in the 14th round, and shortstop Chris Cook in the 30th round. Maher put up good numbers this year, with a .315/.401/.525 line and nine homers in 219 at-bats. He is a draft eligible sophomore, so he could return to ETSU for his junior year to try and improve his draft stock, while still having one more year of eligibility beyond that. It would be interesting to see whether his decision would be impacted if the Pirates sign his two other teammates. Owenby should sign, but Cook could return to college to improve his stock after labrum surgery this year. It’s possible the Pirates only get one of the ETSU position players. – Tim Williams

39th Round, 1185th Overall: Harrison Wenson, C, Michigan

Wenson led Michigan in homers with eight in 2016 and put up a .289/.345/.491 slash line. In his first two seasons combined, he had just 66 at-bats. He has a long swing, but he gets the barrel on the ball. Unlike most catchers the Pirates draft, he is not strong defensively. He blocks pitches well, but he doesn’t have good footwork behind the plate and doesn’t throw out many runners. If he signs, he may be a player the Pirates decide to move to another position, which could also help his bat. – John Dreker

40th Round, 1215th Overall: Bret Boswell, SS, Texas

Boswell missed the 2014 season with a wrist injury, then played short and third for Texas in 2015, and short in 2016. He’s a solid defender who probably profiles as a utility player as a pro. He hasn’t shown much with the bat, hitting .253/.376/.348 in 2015 and .241/.303/.397 in 2016. He drew a lot of walks in 2015, but his walk rate fell sharply the next year. He struck out a lot both years, in over a third of his at-bats in 2015 and over a quarter in 2016. – Wilbur Miller

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Tim Williams
Tim Williams
Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.

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