Pittsburgh Pirates 2017 Draft: Day Three Thread

We’re going to be doing things a bit differently this year for the day three draft coverage. In previous years, we posted articles after every five rounds, discussing the highlights and trends of that group of rounds. This was interesting after the first few articles, but by the end we were just posting articles filled with players who either weren’t going to be signing, or who were definitely going to be signing as college seniors, but only providing organizational depth.

John Dreker and I will be dividing up the player pages, writing something on each player. We will post the links to each player in the chart below, when the player page is completed.

Round Pick Round Pick Round Pick
11 Alex Manasa, RHP 21 Robert Glendinning, SS 31 Jesse Medrano, 3B
12 Hunter Wolfe, SS 22 Brett Pope, SS 32 Hector Quinones, RHP
13 Tristan Gray, 2B 23 Ben Bengtson, SS 33 Ryan Valdes, RHP
14 Chris Sharpe, CF 24 Nick Valaika, SS 34 Mason Ward, LHP
15 Gavin Wallace, RHP 25 Eddie Muhl, RHP 35 Drew Fischer, RHP
16 Hunter Stratton, RHP 26 Lucas Tancas, RF 36 Ryan Hoerter, RHP
17 Mason Martin, RF 27 David Lee, RHP 37 Kyle Watson, SS
18 Shea Murray, RHP 28 Matt Seelinger, RHP 38 Christopher Peurifoy, CF
19 Jacob Webb, RHP 29 Brock Deatherage, CF 39 Mike Gretler, 3B
20 Will Reed, RHP 30 Manny Bejerano, C 40 Tyler Osik, 3B

There will be some interesting picks on day three, and as John wrote this morning, the 11th round pick has been a big one for the Pirates under the current draft system. They didn’t take anyone who was on the remaining national prospect lists, but did take someone who is projectable and may not be an easy signing. That player was Alex Manasa, taken out of the JuCo ranks.

The interesting thing about that pick is that Manasa was a two-way player, also playing the outfield. So far, he’s had more playing time in the outfield, and has received better rankings as an outfielder, being ranked the number one high school outfielder out of Michigan last year by Prep Baseball Report. He hit for a .410/.459/.579 line with three homers in 183 at-bats at the plate this year, while also posting a 1.27 ERA in 21.1 innings in relief, with a 31:3 K/BB ratio.

Manasa seems fairly new to the mound, but does show some promise. He’s hit 90 MPH already, has a big, projectable frame at 6′ 4″, 195 pounds, and showed some promise with his slider this year. It also helps that he hasn’t spent a lot of time pitching, and hasn’t even been fully committed to baseball in the past, playing basketball as well during high school. He sounds like an interesting project for the Pirates.

We will have updates of all of the other notable picks as they’re taken throughout the day. – Tim Williams

UPDATE 12:50 PM: 12th rounder Hunter Wolfe is reportedly a skilled defensive shortstop with quick hands and a strong arm, to go along with speed and some gap power on offense. He put up big numbers, including eight homers and 19 steals during his only year of college ball. – John Dreker

UPDATE 1:09 PM: 13th rounder Tristan Gray seems like exactly the type of guy the Pirates go for. He can play all over the field, playing first, second, third, and left field. He even has pitched in the past, hitting 92 MPH off the mound. His best position is second base, which is where the Pirates drafted him. He’s shown increased power with Rice the last two years, and a strong ability to get on base this year. If his bat translates over to pro ball, and the power increase continues, he could end up an interesting prospect with value on both sides of the ball. – TW

14th rounder Chris Sharpe struggled mightily as a freshman after a successful high school career. His coach played his through the poor season to work his way out the slump because he believed in the bat and that belief paid off this year. As a draft-eligible sophomore, he put up big numbers and showed some tremendous raw power with long homers and high exit velocity off of his bat. He could command an over-slot bonus since he has some draft leverage. – JD

UPDATE 1:17 PM: 15th rounder Gavin Wallace is the younger brother of Mike Wallace, who the Pirates drafted in the 30th round in 2015, also out of Fairfield University. Gavin looks like the better pitcher, with a 90-94 MPH fastball, and the ability to hold that velocity into the 7th inning, along with a wipeout slider. He had a much improved year this year, posting a 3.08 ERA in 90.2 innings, along with a 76:13 K/BB ratio. His brother has been an organizational reliever who gets results by working off his off-speed stuff, but Gavin could have a shot to move higher due to his stuff and the fastball/slider combo. – TW

UPDATE 1:47 PM: 17th rounder Mason Martin is the first player taken on day three who rated in the Baseball America top 500, coming in at 312th. He’s got a commitment to Gonzaga, so he could be a difficult guy to sign. The Pirates can spend $125,000 without counting against their bonus pool, and if they have anything left over from the top ten rounds, they could apply that as well. Picks after the top ten rounds don’t always take a ton of money to sign. Austin Shields, signed out of the 33rd round last year, only took $205,000. Ike Schlabach (19th round) and James Marvel (36) signed for $150,000 in 2015, while Ryan Nagle (27) signed for $160,000.

The biggest bonus outside of the 10th round for the Pirates in the current system has been Gage Hinsz. The Pirates actually tried to get Hinsz in the second round that year, but he turned down their offer. They drafted him anyway, and gave him all of the money they had left over in the final days to get him to sign. I don’t think this would be the same case as Hinsz. It will be interesting to see if they can get Martin signed, as he has plus-raw power grades, and would continue a trend in this draft of the Pirates adding some strong power bats. – TW

18th rounder Shea Murray was announced as a right-handed pitcher, but mostly played outfield at Ohio State. In four seasons he pitched a total of 12.1 innings and was wild, with a high strikeout rate. He’s a huge kid at 6′ 6″, 240 pounds, so he could be a project worth looking at on the mound. – JD

UPDATE 2:00 PM: 19th round pick Jacob Webb has a commitment to Kansas State, and everything I read about him describes a classic projectable prep pitcher. He throws 86-90 MPH, touching 92, pounds the strike zone, has a repeatable delivery with smooth mechanics and little effort, and has a downhill angle and some sink on his fastball. He also throws an upper 70s curveball with some late, tight break. Add te 6′ 4″, 200 pound frame — which is up 15 pounds from this time last year — and you’ve got a nice project to work with if the Pirates can get him signed. – TW

UPDATE 2:04 PM: An update from one of yesterday’s picks: 7th rounder Jared Oliva is listed as a senior on MLB’s draft tracker, but I just received confirmation that he’s actually a junior, and has a year of eligibility left. – TW

UPDATE 2:12 PM: 20th rounder Will Reed has a fastball that sits 90+ and a curve described as “nasty”, which has led to high strikeout totals and a low BAA the last two years, but some control issues this year. – JD

UPDATE 3:00 PM: The Pirates added a pair of shortstops in the 21st and 22nd rounds. Both were out of the college ranks. 21st rounder Robbie Glendinning has an interesting backstory, playing one year with Missouri, two years with Northern Iowa CC, and coming over to the US from Australia before that. He added some weight and increased his power this offseason, putting up some good numbers in his first year in Division I ball. Pope is from Western Carolina, which is the same school that 2016 23rd round pick Garrett Brown went to.

As I was writing this and completing profiles, they added two more college shortstops, with Ben Bengtson in the 23rd round and Nick Valaika in the 24th round. College shortstops don’t always stick at the position, and often move very quickly. We’re also to the point where not every college junior is going to sign. But it looks like the Pirates are loading up on infielders right now, and if they get all of them signed, we’ll see in Morgantown how they view the pecking order defensively. – TW

UPDATE 3:31 PM: 24th rounder Nick Valaika has barely played in college due to injuries and poor performances. He was rated highly in high school, where he went to the famous Hart High that produced Tyler Glasnow and Bob Walk among numerous MLB players. He was a teammate of Kevin Kramer at UCLA and his brother Pat plays for the Colorado Rockies.

26th rounder Lucas Tancas is a very athletic player with some power in his bat, who took time off from baseball to wrestle and play football. He also missed most of last year with a broken wrist. So despite being 23, he is a bit raw due to missed time. – JD

UPDATE 4:05 PM: 28th round pick Matt Seelinger reportedly has strong velocity, although I can’t find any actual numbers quoted. He has a power curve in the low-80s and he uses the two pitches effectively, racking up strikeouts at a high rate. He also showed better control this season, limiting his walks. – JD

UPDATE 4:09 PM: Aside from having the best name in the draft, Brock Deatherage (it was pronounced similar to Death-e-ridge) is a notable prospect. He was ranked 441st overall by Baseball America, which was probably due to his 80-grade speed. He doesn’t have much else, as he has a choppy swing and strikeout issues, with a lack of feel for hitting and a lack of baseball instincts. It got to the point where he was trying to bunt his way on to avoid striking out. The Pirates drafted a similar player last year in Garrett Brown, taking the elite speed and hoping to develop the rest of the game. You can’t teach speed, but you may be able to teach hitting. He’s not a bad guy to take a risk on at this point. Also, the name. – TW

UPDATE 4:48 PM: 32nd round pick Hector Quinones was the leading slugger on his team this season. When he wasn’t playing first base, he was a starting pitcher and the Pirates announced him as a pitcher. He threw a no-hitter back on March 18th. He put up decent stats, but seems to have control issues, to go along with a low strikeout rate. – JD

UPDATE 4:55 PM: 33rd round pick Ryan Valdes is a fifth year senior out of USF who will almost certainly help fill out the Morgantown bullpen. He can hit 94 MPH with his fastball, and adds some intrigue by throwing a palm ball. The pitch is deceptive, looking like a fastball out of the hand, then dropping off the table at the last minute. – TW

UPDATE 5:24 PM: The Pirates are taking a lot of college seniors and a lot of guys who project to be fillers for the lower levels in the final ten rounds. 35th rounder Drew Fischer is a college junior who can hit 95 MPH, so he isn’t necessarily an easy signing. He rated 32nd on Baseball America’s New England rankings, coming in ahead of 14th round pick Chris Sharpe and 23rd round pick Ben Bengtson. He is also from Amherst College, which is the same college that Neal Huntington attended. – TW

UPDATE 5:35 PM: 36th round pick Ryan Hoerter would be a prime target if the Pirates have any money available for over-slot players after the tenth round. He’s an Auburn commit, which likely caused him to fall this far. He has a big frame with plenty of projection, while currently sitting 87-90 with his fastball and mixing it with a curveball and a changeup that both sit high-70s. – JD

UPDATE 6:34 PM: 40th round pick Tyler Osik is the son of longtime Pirates catcher Keith Osik, who is the coach of 28th round draft pick Matt Seelinger. The younger Osik missed this year due to Tommy John surgery, but he is now playing summer ball. – JD

  • Curious fact – Fangraphs has a player projection tool that they used to evaluate the potential performance of NCAA Div 1 players. The highest rated of the dozen or so Pirates draftees from D1 schools ranked 16th overall. But it wasn’t one of the second day players, it was 39th round pick Mike Gretler 3B, Oregon State.

  • Tim and John
    It is not easy to find the 2017 draft tracker because the 2016 draft and tracker still is up on the home page. Any chance you could include pre-draft rankings on the Pirate picks this year? Profiles on each are really helpful this year.

  • I was wondering about Osik, not only for the name, but also Chipola had another 3B taken in the draft early in the 2nd day. Andrew Bechtold was the first pick in the 5th round, to the Twins.

  • Thank you Tim and your staff for this outstanding draft coverage. We all can rejoice when the players sign.

  • Darkstone42
    June 14, 2017 3:58 pm

    Brock Deatherage is an excellent name. I really like that name. 80-grade name. This is a good Pirates draft for names.

  • For a brief second I thought they drafted the old NY Knicks center Wills Read.

  • How does the draft work for the college kids. Would the Pirates offer to pay the last two senensters for a junior…. or eight semesters for a recent high school grad?
    I’d have a hard time signing with the Bucs for, say 100,000, if I have a scholarship to a school like Gonzaga on the table. How does this work?

    • Bill Harvey
      June 14, 2017 4:49 pm

      Part of the MLBPA contract is that school is paid for. Not sure how much, 3 yrs or 4 yrs, but it is a very good deal.

  • I know it’s hard to tell but do you guys think we can sign all Baz, Mitchell, Jennings, Uselton and Bolton? I thought why not but if we only have like 2 senior signs, I’m starting to wonder if we have enough money to go overslot for all five (or all four, excluding Mitchell)

    • Don’t worry be happy!

      • Haha. I’m just really curious. I guess time will tell, especially after Baz signs with us tomorrow..

        • I don’t think they would sign Baz so soon if he wasn’t under slot. I predict $3.8 million – just to provide a cushion for other players. If this happens, then they don’t really need to sign anybody.

          Also, besides the two seniors – Delay and Sulser, I suspect that Madris and Stafford will be pretty easy negotiations. Stafford because he had a crap Junior season, and Madris because he was not projected to go as high as he as drafted. The probably have a deal with him at $125K or so.

          The tough sign, to me, will be Uselton since he slid somewhat in the draft and has committed to Oklahoma, one of his home state D1 programs.

    • Bill Harvey
      June 14, 2017 4:51 pm

      I don’t see any reason every pick in the top 10 rounds wouldn’t sign. If Baz signs for over slot, then they almost all need to get signed. If he’s at slot or below, maybe not.

      • They usually do sign all 10…or at least 9. As Appel and the kid last year didn’t sign. I can’t think of any others but I’m sure there are 1-2 more under the current system.

  • Gavin Wallace now has family bragging rights over his brother David. He was drafted in the 15h round while his brother went in the 30th round. Does this mean he is twice the prospect as David 🙂

  • Darkstone42
    June 14, 2017 2:08 pm

    You know, my roommate and I thought Oliva was a junior, but when I saw him listed as a senior, I just assumed I had miscounted the years he was here.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    June 14, 2017 2:07 pm

    Murray sounds a lot like Brent McKinney, who is also a big RH relief pitcher from OSU…..

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    June 14, 2017 2:07 pm

    By the sounds of his bat and power potential, Martin would be a very important signing….he seems a little short for first base, so LF or RF would seem to make sense for him….3B would be a bonus….

  • Darkstone42
    June 14, 2017 1:45 pm

    I hope we sign that Sharpe kid. If we sign all these guys, there might no longer be a dearth of power in our system after this draft.

  • Great real-time coverage!

  • Anything on Sharpe’s defensive capabilities?

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    June 14, 2017 12:56 pm

    I like the upside potential of the 11th and 12th round picks….especially if Manassa is indeed an OF

    • For those unaware, Walters St is just East of Knoxville and one of the Top 10 JUCO’s in the Southeast. They have been to the JUCO College World Series 7 times and plays a very strong schedule. Players coming out of WS usually end up at a D-1, and the players coming out of there will be string in the basics – excellent Coaching. Hunter Wolfe and Hunter Stratton.

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