Williams: The Pirates Can’t Pass on the Chance to Draft Paul Skenes

In six weeks, an important decision will need to be made.

Nike is releasing the Air Jordan 38s, and I want them. I like the look, they seem like they would be a good fit, and I missed out on the John McEnroe Mac Attack sneakers recently, so I’ve got money in the shoe budget.

These shoes are expensive. They’d be a long-term purchase, but there are other options. You can still get the Air Jordan 37s with a similar look for cheaper. They wouldn’t match the shoe that I want. They would just look similar, and would be cheaper. Perhaps if I bought the cheaper pair, I could have the look and an extra $50. That extra money could allow me to buy a cheaper pair of shoes. In this scenario, I don’t have the 38s, but I have a pair of shoes that look similar, and another pair of shoes that I can wear when I’m not wearing the 38-replacements.

But I want the 38s. Not something that looks like the 38s and has the perceived value of being cheaper. I want the 38s.

The only way to get the 38s is to buy the 38s and spend the money.

Otherwise, I’m going to be walking around with the 37s, telling people they’re just like the 38s but cheaper, and it’s all worthwhile because of the mowing shoes I got for free at home.

As a single man, I don’t have to justify my sneaker purchases. I’ll be rocking those Air Jordan 38s by the end of next month. That’s because I see something in them that can’t be replicated with something that looks the same to the general public.

You can probably guess by now that this post has nothing to do with sneakers.

The Money Factor of the MLB Draft

The Pittsburgh Pirates have the most money to spend in the upcoming draft. That’s both based on first round slot money and overall spending. The Pirates are budgeted $16,185,700 to spend. They can go up to 5% over that figure without losing future draft picks. They’ve spent the full amount every year, and almost every year they’ve spent up to the 5%.

The question isn’t whether the Pirates will spend money. It’s how they’ll spend money.

The $9.7 million they have for first round slot would shatter the current bonus record. That went to Spencer Torkelson in 2020, who signed for $8,416,300 — the slot price for first overall at the time. Last year’s number one and number two overall signed in the $8.2 million range.

MLB Pipeline had estimated bonus figures for each player. Dylan Crews and Paul Skenes were both in the $9.2 million. This makes sense, as both are being described as generational draft talents. They would go for a record breaking bonus. In the case of Crews, there are rumblings that he and Scott Boras will go for maximum dollar. Considering Torkelson signed for slot, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Boras attempt to get the full amount. There’s no doubt that Boras will want the top bonus in this draft, at the least.

Jeff Reed made a great point in our recent Roundtable series on the draft. The Pirates could pay Crews $10 million and still have $7 million remaining for the rest of their draft, without losing a future pick. There are six teams in the draft who have less than $7 million for their entire draft. The Pirates could draft Crews or Skenes, then treat the rest of the draft as if they’re in the same post-contending position as the Dodgers ($7.2 million), Astros ($6.7 million), or the Cardinals ($6.375 million).

Of course, if the Pirates take a “signability” pick, and bank some money for the later rounds, they’ll still end up spending it all. They just would spread the talent from one player to many players. Max Clark at the projected $7.8 million, for example, would leave the Pirates with a remaining pool that would still be bigger than 12 teams for their entire drafts.

The problem with this approach is the Pirates have the first and 42nd picks. The Washington Nationals will almost certainly take the remaining of Dylan Crews or Paul Skenes with the second pick. The Tigers pick third, but have the second biggest bonus pool, and pick twice before the Pirates pick their second time. The big concern for over-slot deals from Clark would be the Athletics. They pick fifth overall, then pick two times in three picks before the Pirates go for a second time. The Pirates can take a signability guy, but there’s a risk they won’t have their choices in the second and successive rounds.

The top talents, and the most expensive first rounders, will be Crews and Skenes. There are a few players who could go first overall in a “normal draft year”, but that’s an argument I’m growing to hate.

What is a Normal Draft Year, Anyway?

Baseball America updated their top 500 draft prospects yesterday. They’ve got Crews and Skenes graded as 65/High prospects. This upside is instantly better than anyone in the current Pirates system. At best, Endy Rodriguez, Henry Davis, and others are 60-grade guys. They could be long-term starters in the majors, impact players, and All-Stars on multiple occasions. Crews and Skenes could become stars. The type of players the Pirates could never get without the first overall pick.

Aside from the two LSU talents, there are three players given a 60/High grade. This is more in line with the players currently at the top of the system. If the Pirates took Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford, or prep outfielders Max Clark or Walker Jenkins, there would be debate as to who the top prospect in the system is. The Pirates would get deeper in two ways — adding to their depth at the top, and maximizing their depth of young upside players in the middle ranks of the system. It would be up to the development team to create the top end talent.

What the “normal draft year” talk says is that most drafts are led by a 60/High talent. If you took one of the current 60/High talents, you’d end up with a first rounder in almost every year. The reality is you wouldn’t end up with the best player in this draft. When we’re grading a current draft, it’s irrelevant to compare the talent to other drafts — unless you’re highlighting players who rarely are available in the draft.

These comparisons add perspective to the talent available. For the team picking first, it sounds like choosing between those brand new Air Jordan 38s, and the discounted 37s that are in line with last year’s look.

Of course, these are players we’re talking about, not sneakers. A draft like this presents the idea that there’s a shortcut to stardom sitting at the top. Someone you could draft who might have a sneaker named after him one day. In this draft, there might be a possibility for two players to become a star. How realistic is that for Crews and Skenes? What are the chances for the other three “normal first rounders” to be stars, or even MLB starters? Here are my preferences for the number one overall pick.

Paul Skenes is My Pick

Baseball America Grade: 65/High

MLB Pipeline Bonus Estimate: $9,100,000

The Path to Starting: Skenes throws 98+ consistently, getting up to 103 MPH, and routinely hitting triple-digits. He’s got a plus slider with a lot of tilt break, and a changeup that comes from a crazy split finger grip where he puts two fingers on either side of the ball. At the moment, Skenes is a Major Leaguer. He could enter the majors right now and work in a power relief role. I wouldn’t recommend that, due to innings in 2023. It wouldn’t take much experience for him to get comfortable enough with his stuff to start in the big leagues. He could be in the MLB rotation this time next year, after working through the Altoona and maybe Indianapolis rotations. There’s a risk that you lose him for 1-1.5 years from injury, but that’s a risk with every pitcher. I think people focus on that for a guy like Skenes not because the risk is bigger, but because the potential loss is bigger. This shouldn’t dissuade teams from ever taking an elite pitching prospect — especially one with the mindset and skills that Skenes has.

The Path to Staying: Control is a big concern. There were a lot of chases that Skenes got in college which wouldn’t be offered at in pro ball. He also might have some concerns with the movement of his fastball. If it doesn’t move a lot, and he can’t get chases outside in the majors, then his 98-100+ fastball would not carry the same weight. I’m less concerned by this right now, as Skenes is new to pitching full time. The 2023 season was his first as a full-time pitcher, and he made huge advancements. I don’t actually think there’s a middle ground here. Skenes will make the majors on his stuff, and will either frustrate because he isn’t a star, or he’ll be a star and it will seem like it was always inevitable.

The Path to Stardom: I love the work ethic, the knowledge of the game, and the ability Skenes has displayed to advance his game. I’m not concerned with where his pitches are right now, as he’s already shown the ability to improve them. His fastball went from 93-94 to the current velocities in the last year. His slider changed shape to go from a short-breaking pitch to a pitch with 11 inches of horizontal movement. Skenes worked with LSU’s pitching coach on torso movement, and getting his chest moving in the right way. The improvements have been clear, and the mechanics have been clean. His ability to rapidly adjust his game is a skill that should ease concern about present-day flaws to his game. It should also put him ahead of Crews, who is largely untested here.

Why He’d Make Sense: I’ve covered two Wild Card games where the Pirates had one of the best offenses, led by an MVP-level player, and they got shut down by an elite pitcher. Skenes has the chance to be that elite pitcher with his current stuff and his intangibles giving his current elite stuff a good chance to improve. The Pirates can’t get a starter like this, anywhere. There’s no one in their current system who could develop like this. Skenes right now is the dream scenario for Bubba Chandler this year. Chandler is four months younger than Skenes, and making the move to pitching full-time. The Pirates are hoping Chandler develops into more, but he hasn’t seen anywhere close to the positive development we’ve seen from Skenes in such a short time. The Pirates could dream about developing a guy like Skenes. They’ll never sign one. Thanks to the MLB draft lottery, they lucked out to be in position to be able to draft one. Then, the dream of developing an ace becomes more real.

I Love the Confidence of Dylan Crews, But…

Baseball America Grade: 65/High

MLB Pipeline Bonus Estimate: $9,200,000

The Path to Starting: Unlike Skenes, I don’t see Crews as an MLB player today. He’s been crushing college hitting for three years. This builds a lot of hype, but it needs perspective. Crews was only crushing that level for so long because he was under NCAA control for two additional seasons after having a breakout as a freshman. If you translate his results to pro ball, he would have been stuck at High-A for a few years and there would be some skepticism on his numbers. Still, he’d be a guy who would be entering Double-A with monster results. It wouldn’t take him more than a year to go from there to the big leagues, where his eye and power could carry him in a corner outfield.

The Path to Staying: Watching Crews, he looks effortless in destroying college pitching right now. He will face more of a challenge in pro ball, but his quick bat and advanced eye will get him to the majors. These are the areas where Crews excels, to the point where a pitcher like Skenes has to still throw everything he has at him (by the admission of Skenes in referencing their intrasquad matchups). Crews will make the majors and stay, on the strength of his bat.

The Path to Stardom: There’s a chance that Crews could stick in center field. He’s a plus runner with plus arm strength. His bat and power potential in center field would be a dream — especially with the current long-term flanking of Bryan Reynolds and Henry Davis. If he can hit for power while playing center, he could be one of the league’s impact position players. If he slows down, or if the defensive focus takes away from the bat, it would make more sense to move him to a corner. He’d need to hit a lot more to have 60+ value there. I will point out that I’ve got him graded lower than Skenes with his chances to reach 60+ value. The reason? Crews showed rapid progress to his game as a freshman, but hasn’t really been tested since. Meanwhile, Skenes has been tested and has progressed and adapted at each level. Both will need to do what Skenes did to get to the majors. We assume Crews can do it because he did it from prep ball to LSU as a freshman in spectacular fashion.

Why He’d Make Sense: Crews is safer than a pitcher, in that he could give you consistent production from year to year, night to night, without the same risk of major injury. I think he ends up a similar value to Bryan Reynolds, with a better chance to go higher. That’s not a bad addition to your club. If he can stick in center field, the Pirates have the makings of another “Dream Outfield” with Reynolds and Davis giving them two other big bats. The question as I see it between Skenes and Crews: Do you want the guy who could shut down an opposing lineup for a game, or the guy who gets four chances to prevent that pitcher from doing his job? Crews would make sense for me in any other year. Considering the Pirates current strength, and these guys at the top both being mid-2024 projected arrivals, I still think Skenes is the best option. I also think Skenes has more long-term value as a guy you might be able to extend. But that’s getting way into the future.

Max Clark is the Best Signability Guy

Baseball America Grade: 60/High

MLB Pipeline Bonus Estimate: $7,800,000

The Path to Starting: This isn’t exciting, but I’m going to say that Clark has a safer path to the majors than most prep players, due to his defensive skills in center field. There’s a hope that Dylan Crews can stick in center, and less of a hope for the remaining two outfielders. Clark is one of the fastest in the draft, with an elite arm and plus defensive skills. His hit tool and plate patience are good, with clean mechanics. He does lack power, which means he would need to be a hit/speed/defense center fielder to start. For a prep player, he has a good path to this outcome.

The Path to Staying: The hit/speed profile isn’t a sustainable one. Players slow down as they age. The league adjusts to try and impact a player’s batting average on balls in play. Clark has lowered his hands this year to drive for more power. An adjustment in pro ball to bring out more power — while possibly sacrificing that plate patience he has in excess — could keep him in the big leagues with more forceful contact. It might not be home runs, but Clark doesn’t need as much power with his defense and speed. I also think that by the time Clark is into his prime, we will have a different understanding of the POWER tool.

The Path to Stardom: If you value defense up the middle, Clark already provides a boost in value. His speed adds to that, as does his quick swing and pitch recognition. These skills make him safer than most prep players. I’d say a realistic upside for Clark would be a 50-55 grade starter. He would be someone who wouldn’t carry a team, but you wouldn’t have to replace him. If he can boost his power, while keeping the speed, defense, and hit tool intact, he could be an impact player, into star level. I think this is much lower probability than Skenes or Crews, which is where that extra five points comes in. Clark’s challenge to stay is the same as the challenge for Skenes and Crews to be stars, when you consider the development gap each player has to bridge.

Why He’d Make Sense: Signability. Clark could give the Pirates $1.4 million in savings over the expected bonus totals from the top two guys. Coincidentally, this is the exact savings the Pirates got from Henry Davis compared to the top bonus in the draft that year. Clark would give the Pirates a chance at a 50-55 grade center fielder who could move through the system quicker than most prep players. He’d have a chance for upside beyond that range, and would create the money for at least one additional first round talent in the middle rounds. This choice, and all to follow, would be more about the overall draft, with lower upside at the top.

Wyatt Langford is a Safer Signability Guy

Baseball America Grade: 60/High

MLB Pipeline Bonus Estimate: $8,700,000

The Path to Starting: Langford’s bat, and especially his power potential, will get him to the big leagues. He’s got more power than Crews, along with plus hit and run tools. His raw power is elite, with the ability to go to all fields. He doesn’t have the center field profile, so he would need the bat to carry him. It projects to have that ability, with speed to add some value when he gets on the bases.

The Path to Staying: Langford really seems like the Henry Davis of this draft. He’s a safe college power hitter who could go to a corner spot in the majors after a brief time in the minors, and all that would be needed to keep him around is continued production from the bat.

The Path to Stardom: Langford is actually why I’m lower on Dylan Crews. I think Crews has a better chance to be a center fielder. He could end up the better all-around hitter. I don’t think the bridge between Langford and Crews at the plate is that big, though. To me, Crews is getting a boost from his extensive time at LSU, and his bonus demands from Scott Boras. There’s a chance they both end up 55-60 grade guys in a corner. The difference is that I think this is the ceiling for Langford, while Crews has a chance to go higher.

Why He’d Make Sense: This would be a signability pick with a seemingly safe power bat that you could get to the big leagues. The savings would be about a third of what the Pirates would save with Max Clark. A year from now, the outfield could have Langford and Davis flanking Bryan Reynolds. There’s a lot of offensive potential in that outfield, but the defense might be a concern. If the Pirates are going signability, I’d go Clark due to the center field profile and the maximized savings.

Walker Jenkins is For Another Draft

Baseball America Grade: 60/High

MLB Pipeline Bonus Estimate: $8,000,000

The Path to Starting: His power potential out of high school makes him a first rounder. He profiles as a right fielder with elite power, getting a Josh Hamilton comp from some scouts. He’s graded higher than Clark by Baseball America, and it would be the power bat that would get him to the big leagues as a starter.

The Path to Staying: Development. Once you start taking 18-year-old players, you drop the present day grade down. Skenes would be a present day 40-45 grade pitcher. Crews would be a 30-35 hitter, with a chance to rapidly improve to 45-50 in a year of pro ball. Jenkins might take a few years to get to Crews. He’s pure skill right now, and there are a lot of games and tests between him and the majors.

The Path to Stardom: Jenkins seems like the prep Langford. His power is elite, and he’s shown the ability to improve his running and defensive play. With more improvements, he could be more than just a power guy in the corners. I actually think these two have the lowest odds of getting to that 60-grade or higher, as they have the risk of being one-tool driven guys.

Why He’d Make Sense: Again, savings. Considering this draft class, I don’t think he makes a lot of sense. Langford gives the same chance for a power bat, with a higher floor and less risk involved. Clark gives a chance to boost a barren center field position in the system. In a normal year, Jenkins would give the Pirates a long-term power bat to dream about. In this draft, there are players with more upside, a safer player with his profile, and a long-term option who fits the system needs better.

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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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clemo83

Skenes > Langford > Crews > Clark

1) Skenes seems like a force of nature, stuff-wise and mentality wise. Full slot but not Boras client. Draft him.

2) Langford is being undersold here, imo. His power/speed/athleticism combo has generated some (very optimistic) Mike Trout comps. He has a plus hit tool himself. I’m banking on him using his athleticism to becoming a better fielder. Drawback is he’s a corner outfield guy, but has the power to play there. Also would not require full slot.

3) Crews could turn into a star, but I’m not as high on his hit tool, I think thats not a fundamental baseball trait like power or speed and depends greatly on the level of competition on faces. I think he’s an average centerfielder and will get moved to a corner outfield spot which will diminish his value as he doesn’t have enough power to play on the corners. Plus he wants over slot money at the first pick and is a Scott Boras client who will never agree to any sort of team even remotely friendly extension long term. He doesn’t want to play in Pittsburgh and will want to leave Pittsburgh asap.

4) I like the idea of Clark as a plus centerfielder, but we never seem to have success developing power. Its difficult to have a high OPS without the home runs. Plus he’s in high school and has a long way to go to majors.

Last edited 2 months ago by clemo83
bianco599

I know no one probably cares but I wonder what the nats fans are thinking now. Bet they think crews is coming

melkel

I was browsing just a little bit at one of their sites, they talk like they have the pick and want Skenes. They want to shut him down this year pitching but let him bat in the lower level. They think the pirates are going Langford or Clark to save money.

Last edited 2 months ago by melkel
bianco599

Bastards already had Harper and Strasburg. Would been cool to call him strasburgh

adicesa14

I’ve read all the comments and have difficulty agreeing or disagreeing with anyone. Attempting to extrapolate the three top-rated college (equal to A+ ?) players to eventual MLB stardom seems an impossible task. They may all become HOFer’s or busts. Personally, I favor position players over pitchers in the first round, but choosing Skenes because he may be an ace for a one game playoff may be a bit presumptuous for a team seemingly headed to another 90+ loss season. Does it really matter? The Pirates track record with development is not good regardless of position. Unfortunately, for me it seems the choice should come down to the one most likely to sign for slot or less.

bianco599

Damn that was a good article. Great job Tim.

docdon385

Assuming Skenes is going to become an elite major league pitcher is wishful thinking. He’s had one year of high level success and pitchers, regardless of how their delivery looks, are vulnerable to arm problems. The guys mentioned above as being elite pitchers who shut down the Pirates in wild card games were not top of the draft picks and developed into elite pitchers in the majors.

Anyone thinking Skenes can step into the majors now and survive let alone dominate major league hitters is dreaming. Bumgarner was the 7th overall pick in 2007 and became dominant after several years. Arrieta was a 5th round pick and took years to develop. Cole was good in Pittsburgh but developed into an elite pitcher after he was traded. It’s impossible to know who the next elite pitcher will be but simply expecting that it will be Skenes is unrealistic.
If Crews wasn’t there, I’d say roll the dice on Skenes because that’s what it’ll be, but Crews is there and is a much surer thing with more value than any pitcher and no matter what anyone says Langford is not Crews.
No one on here has any influence on what the Pirates are going to do, unless Nutting’s joined up since it’s free now, but we have opinions and I respect them all despite not agreeing. I’ll support whomever the Pirates draft because that’s what a fan does, but am very much hoping the Pirates do the wise thing and pick Crews.

RAS TN

A question…are you related to Crews???

hoffmark83

Everybody on here pretty much have great points and comments. While having the #1 pick in the draft is exciting I just hope that someday we can comment and argue over who should be the starting pitcher for a game one of a playoff series or who should be on the playoff roster.

Cobra

We should also just sit back and enjoy Sunday, especially since we probably can’t expect too much from the trade deadline this year. MLBTraderumors came out with a fun early ranking list of trade candidates & no Pirate mentions until #45 & #46 Hill and Santana. https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2023/07/top-50-deadline-trade-candidates-early-july-edition.html

b mcferren

Doolander has fallen so far from the cliff? Dude looks like Mussinia to me

RAS TN

The Italian Dictator???

bianco599

Combo. Think he was dictator that told you what hoagie you were eating. Pitched it to you when he finished making it. Great salami. And mustache

docdon385

Another argument for caution on Skenes. Dolander was the can’t miss generational pitcher in the spring according to many people.

ArkyWags

No he wasn’t.

RaisetheJollyRancherGirl

He really was but his pitching coach caught the Sweeper craze and had him try it and it went poorly.

ArkyWags

If he was considered generational, then people are misusing that term.

RaisetheJollyRancherGirl

They are for sure

emjayinTN

I live about 20 miles from UT, and Dollander was thought to be an excellent SP in the SEC. Was not picked up by an SEC School out of HS – signed with Georgia Southern and pitched well for them in his Freshman year. Entered the portal and UT scooped him for his Soph year. Off of the success he had last year at UT, (and UT being in the CWS) he was thought to be a Top 10 draft pick by most going into 2023. Could be #20 or worse after his 2023 season

But, never generational, even in this area of Big Orange Crazies!

not avail

There’s no one in their current system who could develop like this.

Solometo and Shim fans would like a word.

not avail

A lot of this argument about Skenes at 1-1 is reliving the traumas of the 2010s Pirates. Bumgartner was a 1-10 pick. Arrieta was a 5th rounder who moved to a new team. Adam Wainwright was a 1-29 pick who also moved to another team.

The guys who totally locked down playoff runs weren’t 1-1 picks playing for the teams that drafted them. Strasburg is the closest to the real deal on that front. Pitchers develop and often then move to other teams. Look at David Price.

Also, I think the Pirates are too far off to focus on shutdown pitching — which is a playoff thing. They should focus on winning the division.

I’m not gonna lose it if they take Skenes. I’m comfortable with any pick where the FO has a thesis. On balance, I like the thesis for nearly every pick GMBC has made. I just don’t know that the shutdown pitcher thesis matches where this organization is at.

Presumably, the Pirates are doing the Astros rebuild. The Astros went offense heavy before they moved toward pitching in later years.

I like what the Pirates have done with in-house development of projectable guys. A team like the Pirates needs to mint lots of pitching because they’re going to lose lots of it to FA. They need the Guardians model.

Massey, Solometo, and Shim show the Pirates have a plan for pitching. I think they should just stick to it.

Last edited 2 months ago by not avail
ArkyWags

They can stick to that development plan for later picks and also pick a potential front line guy when he falls into their lap. They can do both you know.

Also how have they done with pitching prospects this year and development? Because Ro and Ortiz just got sent down, so there’s that…

Last edited 2 months ago by ArkyWags
not avail

Solometo got promoted.

If Ro and Ortiz were the plan, then I have more questions than I had before this conversation started.

ArkyWags

One guy got promoted. Be still, my heart.

john_fluharty

It was the comments on the wild card game that has me rethinking my choice. We really got handcuffed by a good pitcher having a really good day. With Skenes leading our staff we could do the same thing to another team and see ourselves moving a little further into the playoffs. You can build a team to win a lot of games during the regular season but is that team able to also win in the playoffs? You have to think about both of those.

Last edited 2 months ago by john_fluharty
not avail

I’m a Crews partisan. His swing is quiet. His career numbers parallel Barry Bonds when you compare them based on age. And in a better conference than Bonds faced. Crews has a good eye and should be a respectable CF into his late 20s.

Pitching will always scare the hell out of me. The odds that a 1-1 hitter becomes a stud are just better than a 1-1 pitcher. Arm injuries are the most obvious reason, but pitching results translate fairly poorly from college.

You have to really be a buyer on Skenes as a unicorn to make that pick. Especially in terms of durability.

buccobrach2

Ok compare the stats of bonds to crews, now answer me this, is crews gonna use PEDs to get inflated numbers? Where would bonds be without the roids? Where is crews gonna be without the roads? You are saying crews is going to have bonds like numbers in the show?? Right?? It’s just more ridiculousness.

not avail

The main difference for me on the unicorn thing is durability. Crews never misses games. He never has bad outings. He never has a bad week or a bad season.

Skenes’ draft position is the product of one top-tier all-time season. That’s not nothing, and in most years it would end the argument.

What I mean about a unicorn here is that Skenes would have to be the rare guy whose arm doesn’t explode. And on top of that, he’d have to make sure his fastball could play in MLB — a meaningful consideration in a league where dudes now turn 101 mph fastballs around like nothing.

Crews has consistency on his side. Skenes has upside on his.

I’m a square. I’ll take the proven guy who has hit in the best amateur conference on the planet for three years.

As for the bonds thing, just look it up. Line Crews’ numbers up against Bonds’ numbers by age. It’s there.

Anthony

Skenes was an excellent two-way player at the AFA his fresh and soph years, winning the Olerud award in 2022. In his first full season as a pitcher, transferring to the strongest conference in NCAA, he became the best pitcher in the country. He is an elite athlete, consistently demonstrated the ability to improve each year, which IMO makes his developmental upside far greater than that of Crews and Langford. He is a unicorn bc he’s special, not bc he had ONE great season.

And, lining up baseball card stats isn’t how player comps work.

melkel

There isn’t (I like both very much)
Skenes has shown he can throw around 100mph for over 120 pitches with command over an extended period of time. (At least 8 games I watched)
It isn’t fair to ask them to do something they may physically never be able to. (Again I like both a lot)
Skenes is built different, maybe one day the other 2 can but Skenes already does.

not avail

Tim’s statement was “There’s no one in their current system who could develop like this.”

If the argument is that Skenes is already there, that’s fine. But that should be the argument. Particularly given that MLB isn’t filled with sure-fire SP draftees. The vast majority of pitchers are developed, not plugged in fully formed.

melkel

Not arguing on the development side. Just stating it isn’t fair to Solometo and Shim to be compared to someone that they physically may never be able to match. Not saying they can’t develop into ace pitcher’s.

jaygray007

come on man

not avail

“come on” isn’t a thesis

leefieux

Cautionary Tale? Top 10 Draft Prospects Ever – Pitchers

Not a whole lot of ‘generational’ talents on this list, as it turns out. Ben McDonald, Floyd Bannister, Brien Taylor and Todd Van Poppel? Strasberg was the best, career wise but injuries have definitely downgraded his career. Hooten might’ve been second best, career wise.

https://www.mlb.com/news/top-10-best-draft-pitching-prospects-ever

Take the hitter!!

Y2JGQ2

Inaccurate. McDonald, Taylor, and Van Poppel WERE generational talents, either screwed up by being rushed from high school, or just had injuries as injuries come. If Taylor and McDonald didn’t have shoulder destruction, they’d be there. If Van Poppel didn’t moronically force himself to the majors from prep ball too early, he probably would have developed properly. I think I’d happily take the “non injury” scenarios of Beckett and Strasburg.

leefieux

Very accurate. Look at the list, and tell me that the teams drafting them didn’t think they were getting a Paul Skenes. My buddy, the O’s fan, thought Ben McDonald was going to another Jim Palmer. Van Poppel was a Baseball AmErica cover boy.

Y2JGQ2

But Van poppel was a high schooler. Ben had a bad shoulder, he most definitely was a sure fire all-star. that happens to plenty of position players also. I don’t hold injuries against ability. Ability (assuming no prior injury issues) is whats important. You can’t predict a player will have shoulder issues

leefieux

I KNOW why they failed, but AT THE TIME……..

“It’s always something”. 😜😜😜

hoffmark83

They are going to draft one of the Alou brothers to save money. Skiptum or Boog. That way they have enough to draft another Bubba'”Bust” Chandler in later rounds. I just hope they do the right thing. Maybe instead of using any savings to draft someone later how about using money to sign REAL Major League players.

david_lewis

Maybe instead of using any savings to draft someone later how about using money to sign REAL Major League players

The Pirates’ bonus pool for the draft is a hair under $17M.

Per Spotrac, three players signed contracts worth $17M this past offseason:

Brandon Drury (2 years, $8.5M per) is batting around league-average (OPS+ 96) playing a league-average second base, on track to put up about 3 bWAR.

Jean Segura (2 years, $6.5M/$8.5M, with a $2M buyout on a team option) is putting up an OPS+ of 45 with below-average defense at third base and on track to put up about negative 3 bWAR.

Jordan Lyles (2 years, $8.5M per) has a 1-11 record, a 6.42 ERA (68 ERA+), and is on track for negative 2 bWAR; he’s the second-worst qualified pitcher on the Fangraphs leaderboard.

Which of those would be better than whoever the Pirates pick at 1.1?

hoffmark83

Not talking about 1/1. I’m talking about the money they save for later

david_lewis

So in other words you think they should spend the one or two million they’d save by underdrafting 1-1 on an impact free agent?

I must be missing something.

not avail

Lyles, because he eats innings. /s

AdministrativeSky236

I dont think its fair to call bubba a bust this early in his career

NMR

I appreciate the reasonable critique of Paul Skenes.

Yes, pitchers on average are riskier due to potential injury.

Yes, his fastball shape does not comport to the current preference in big league ball.

What I don’t understand is why nobody seems to do the same with Dylan Crews.

Is the fact that he puts a ton of contact on the ground – as you all saw if you watched the college world series – any less salient than Paul Crews’ fastball shape?

Are you even aware that Crews’ production comes in an era where we see the highest home run rate ever in college baseball? Where metal/composite bat-induced exit velocities are inflated above the performance of wood?

Crews is obviously a phenomenal talent, but seems important to consider the full picture if we’re handing out “generational” tags…

NMR

Preach it brother!

If it wasn’t clear in my post, my audience there was very much the industry at large and not your article. Great, great piece from you.

P.S. love having you in the comments again, and yes I’m sure it’s exhausting.

Last edited 2 months ago by NMR
john_fluharty

Definitely a good way to recharge for other stuff

Cocktailsfor2

Dammit, Tim, you’re beginning to change my mind.

david_lewis

Me too. I have a deep-seated fear of college pitchers because of the incentive misalignments between the coaches that have controlled them for the last however-many years and the team that drafts them, but I’m starting to be won over.

RaisetheJollyRancherGirl

Skenes averaged what? 103 pitches?

RAS TN

There are meds for that…

leefieux

Then take Langford. And people HAVE critiqued Crews to death. They all have warts. None are slam dunk surefire stars.

RAS TN

Crapshoot…

leefieux

Yep. Kris Benson was supposed to be a lights out pick.

NMR

What are the critiques of Crews? Can you link me?

James_Robert5

Here is a good summary that’s a little analytical…

If you haven’t seen this article it’s worth a quick review

Again this author would not take Crews at 1-1

https://medium.com/@reillocity/lets-be-the-2023-pirates-at-1-1-take-the-best-collegiate-position-player-or-keep-it-simple-af092037383c

TNBucs

Strong case for Langford over Crews.

RaisetheJollyRancherGirl

Is it? Seemed like a bunch of snake oil to me

leefieux

You know about one,,,,too many ground balls,

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

The fastball shape wouldn’t concern me if we weren’t talking about the Pirates

Catch_22

Keller? Seems like they did a fantastic job with his fastball.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Yes and no. They found a way to make his four seam play up, by incorporating a sinker, and Keller learning to pitch rather than throw. Also molded his slider into a sweeper that has ridiculous horizontal movement.

Further, Keller and….

That’s it.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)
RaisetheJollyRancherGirl

Skenes is already working on similar changes per his interview with Rob Friedman.

AdministrativeSky236

Im not sure if it was the bucs or tread that did that, very well could have been us! Just not sure

john_fluharty

That ability to learn and adapt is key. That’s what was always great about Taillon. Maybe Mitch can teach him that ridiculous side sweeping pitch of his.

Last edited 2 months ago by john_fluharty
melkel

He’s also not nearly as good a hitter on the inner 1/3 of the plate as you would expect. (He’s still good there but not as dominat) Has had problems with breaking and offspeed from time to time.
Still extremely good

jaygray007

Crews is perfect, NMR. i won’t hear otherwise.

melkel

He’s almost, if he could’ve just posted better numbers than Schanuel lol

RAS TN

Skenes then Langford and then Crews, absolutely NO High School pick, and no cheaping out with the #1 pick. If you want to be a major league team then you have to act like one…Time for the Pirates to act like a major league team…

jaygray007

I do find it interesting that Tim’s taking a “Davis is the RF of the future” approach in this article.

i lean toward thinking that that’ll be more of a 2x per week thing, but who knows. just interesting.

jaygray007

gotcha. it was just notable to see him stapled to RF here!

NMR

flip that ratio, at best.

jaygray007

guess in a week i picture something in the

3 C
2 OF
1 DH
1 Bench

realm

Endy probably more

4 C
2 elsewhere
1 bench

but who knows

if you love Endy and wanna make Davis’ catcher load more like a backup C, then i guess i have no argument against it.

heck, endy probably needs to get that wrc+ on the right side of 90 in AAA before we can even assume he’s a major leaguer.

Last edited 2 months ago by jaygray007
SouthernBuc

I know elsewhere Jack is discussed but if we assume he remains a strong 1/2 a platoon (strong side which is key), then can’t Hank/Endy be natural ‘other half’ of that platoon? Of course we assume they will be full time in the lineup also at C / DH or maybe 1B. So basically our RF is covered by Jack and whoever isn’t catching that day. This is not a knock on Jack in center just me hoping we find an even better CF defender for full time duty.

joesolo6181

Can I get an updated scouting report on Chandler? Why is he showing an inability to pitch? Is he working on pitches, or hurt? Is his fastball speed down and if so why. He was supposed to be a near can’t miss prospect, now he is a suspect.

jaygray007

i am disappointed in him too, but if you thought of him as a near can’t-miss prospect, then you read things that inflated expectations wayyyy too high.

i’d rarely call a 50th ranked prospect in all of baseball a “near cant miss guy”, let alone a guy who has barely snuck into a top 100 or two as Chandler has.

it’s so hard to keep it in perspective how frequently highly rated baseball prospects bust.

Last edited 2 months ago by jaygray007
NMR

Another of the recent guys whose prospect stature was inflated by their bonus leverage.

I love Bubba Chandler but that’s a million dollar talent they paid an extra $2m for the opportunity to develop. Huge difference between that and being an actual $3m talent.

melkel

Not to mention the NCI deals college kids can sign, and the new transfer portal. It really drives the price on raw tools and potential instead of pure talent.

SouthernBuc

Spot on… there is regular buying players out of college options. He was better than a lottery ticket but had miles to go when drafted. Seems like the arm is still there… be patient and hope.

emjayinTN

Definitely someone that many of the experts saw as can’t miss, IF, he became a one sport and one position player. I am not an expert – far from it, but I see a lot to work with now that he is concentrating his efforts on pitching. Not concerned about the high ERA this year, just that he is still answering the call and continuing to learn.

BTW, Tim made a strong case for hiring LSU’s pitching coach in some capacity. Be nice to see Skenes, Chandler, and possibly Solometo all at AA next year?

emjayinTN

Btw, are the Pirates pursuing the Mariners A Comp pick at #30 ? The Mariners have NOW issues at 2B/3B and the Pirates have “now” MI’s that can step right in.

MI is a position of considerable depth for the Pirates, and no reason to keep 4 or 5 all looking for PT. If I were the Mariners I would ask for Jared Triolo – can play 2B, SS, 3B, CF. The Pirates would not want to lose him, but with Cruz, Peguero, and now Gonzales, where is he going to get PT – same with Castro, Bae, Marcano, etc.!

mikeschalke

Castro, Bae and Marcano won’t get you anything of value.

melkel

Bae and Marcano still can bring value. Castro could have brought a ton if traded in the first few weeks of April. Sadly Castro is totally lost right now, Bae’s hurt, and Marcano is what he is, a decent young backup middle infielder that bats lefty and can pinch run for ya.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Without going into what my personal opinions of Wes Johnson are by season’s end, they’re irrelevant as he’s leaving to become HC of Georgia.

But also, I’m really liking Hurd. Or Thatcher Turd as I call him to piss off my LSU friend.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)
Timbertopper

Wes Johnson also has MLB experience as pitching coach for the Twins from 2019 to June 2022. He helped lead the Twins to back-to-back AL Central Division titles in 2019 and 2020. The 2020 Twins staff set a club record for strikeouts-per-nine-innings-pitched (9.38) and the Twins were leading the AL Central again in June 2022 when he left at mid-season to take the LSU job. Long record as a ‘Pitch Whisperer’ throughout his college coaching career.

melkel

He’s always been considered raw with huge upside. It appears to me he is working on control. He had like 26 walks in his first 8 games and something like 12 his last 8. He’s probably leaving to many pitches over the middle of the plate leading to more hits against him. As long as areas of his game are getting better I don’t see an issue. It’s not like he’s Stetson Allie who couldn’t find the plate in rookie ball. They still have pushed him to a level he wasn’t ready to dominate.

Last edited 2 months ago by melkel
Cocktailsfor2

Stetson Allie. JFC. It still makes me queasy.

NMR

Damn-near the same as on draft day, for better and worse.

jaygray007

jared jones better than skenes anyway

Cocktailsfor2

“ It would be up to the development team to create the top end talent.”

Well, that’s the end of that…

jaygray007

random musing.

the draft slot system is dumb, at least in rd 1.

each pick should be given a slot amount that the teams are required to stick to.

turning a draft into something that can incentivize anything other than taking players in order of decreasing talent is silly. it goes against the spirit of what the draft should be.

Sure this might lose a small handful of athletes like bubba chandler to football, but i truly think the current system makes the draft worse.

ArkyWags

I’d prefer a free agency of sorts. Teams get a total allotment of money based on where they finished and the players have some choice where they sign.

SouthernBuc

I also agree… first rounders (and honestly a few more rounds) are getting life changing money. For some similar reasons they should shorten the draft more so that if you don’t get picked in let’s say 10 rounds you can take the best offer. A person drafted in the 12th round possibly could clear 10 – 20K more if available for all teams. That could be 10-20% more than you get when drafted. They could still cap what teams spend.

melkel

12 to 15 rounds should be the max.

SouthernBuc

I’m good with that. Really anything to free up more ‘free agents’ who aren’t getting much to sign anyway. Give them some decision authority on the organization / or leverage on signing bonus.

melkel

The slot system is fine through round 10, but I like the creativity having a couple rounds to try and bolster the club with overslots or smaller school guys.

skliesen

Agreed. Once again, NFL does it right, while baseball doesn’t.

Scam likely

First 5 yrs for the last once in a generation pitcher, average 22 starts a year, 130 innings, for Strasburg. Maybe just take a weak hitting shortstop out of Stetson in the 9th rd for 95k and make him a pitcher and get the one the best pitchers in major league history for a 5 yr period like the Mets did with Jacob Degrom.

Scam likely

5yrs is all the pirates will have a generational talent enjoy the 22 starts and 130 innings, the pirates passed on Manny Machado and got 89 starts from tallion and roansy and meh.

leefieux

And Skenes won’t miss time? Take the hitter!

douglas_byrd

Excellent article on MLB today arguing that Skenes is the 2nd best pitching prospect ever (https://www.mlb.com/news/top-10-best-draft-pitching-prospects-ever?t=mlb-draft-coverage). Tim’s points are entirely logical and well taken. However, look over that list of top ten pitching prospects of all time. At least 6/10 battled with serious injuries that derailed their career.

Scam likely

Stop it, he will get hurt most do.

Y2JGQ2

The same is said of Degrom. Look where he is every year

Scam likely

Um 9th round 95k bonus, sign me up. 1-1 always take a impact bat. To guote Richie Ashburn ” you shake a tree and many gloves,arms and legs will fall down but very few bats.” The bat is the scarce commodity.

Y2JGQ2

Fair enough. The issues came later point well made.

not avail

Where he’ll be in his 30s is with the Yankees.

emjayinTN

Yes, Skenes. It would also be nice to see the Pirates extend Mitch Keller – he continues to look like a Top of the Rotation SP and Leader for a group of very young pitchers – Jones, Chandler, Solometo, Priester, Skenes, Burrows, etc.

Cobra

If MLB allowed draft slot trading, and the Tigers really wanted Crews or Skenes at 1-1: would you trade our 1-1 for their 1-3 plus their competitive balance pick (37 overall)?

TNBucs

If Skenes is their guy, then no because they’d risk missing out on a possible generational-talented pitcher. If they’re opposed to drafting a pitcher at 1-1, then absolutely. I guess that explains why I’m in the Skenes’ camp—he’s the unique talent at the top of this year’s draft.

Y2JGQ2

Yes. No doubt.

jaygray007

Probably but i’m a very well documented “Langford is just as good as Crews” man

SouthernBuc

This is the heart of these long debates. For those who feel Crews is clear 1-1 then I respect that and would demand he be the pick(and no trade). For anybody who feels there are 2 or 3 close to equal options then this trade proposal becomes a no brainer. I fall in the latter. I suspect if we had access to the different teams draft boards they would also have differing opinions.

NMR

Absolutely.

melkel

It would probably be that plus a 4th round pick. Good comparison though.

jtkuch

Whatever happens, they cannot go into it with the “save a ton at the top to lure others later in the draft” mindset again. That was a viable strategy in 2021 because that draft had no “generational” prospects. This one has 2. You simply can’t pass the opportunity to take 1, let alone 2, guys like that. It also doesn’t help that the ‘21 class, at this moment, is only tracking to produce one other quality MLB’er (Solometo) beyond the 1.1 pick. Don’t get cute, take Crews or Skenes.

jaygray007

crews and skenes arent generational prospects. it’s silly to call them that.

people throw that word around wayyyy too much and too easily.

its not like either one even becomes the current best prospect in baseball, let alone a generational one.

i’ve seen crews and langford flirt with current top 10 and skenes a little lower.

these guys simply arent byce harper and stephen strasburg.

Crews doesnt have Bryce’s power, and Skenes doesnt have Strasburg’s breaking ball, changeup, or command.

theyre very very very good. but we need to stop throwing around the G word.

Last edited 2 months ago by jaygray007
not avail

Crews’ numbers age-for-age line up with Barry Bonds. And Crews played against better competition.

I’m comfortable assigning the tag “generational talent.”

TNBucs

For me, it’s Skenes super-rare combination of frame, mechanics, mindset, and current stuff that makes him so interesting.

melkel

Don’t forget endurance

ArkyWags

And mustache. That’s a Piratey mustache.

TNBucs

Yes! I think you have noted that he’s able to hold his velocity into the 7th.

leefieux

The Skenes hype machine is in full force on this site. 😹😹😹

skliesen

Nope. Not doing it.

Skenes is Nolan Ryan 2.0.

Not letting you throw the cold water of “realistic expectations” on my visions of grandeur.

jtkuch

Crews put up a historically good college career at one of the premier baseball schools in the nation. Skenes has often been called the best pitching prospect since Strasburg, even a “unicorn” by O’Dowd. I’d EASILY call both of them generational.

jaygray007

if you wouldnt immediately make them the #1 and #2 prospects in baseball – and none of the serious prospect analysts have – then that label of Generational already is DOA right there.

if you would rank them 1 and 2, then fine go ahead i guess.

jtkuch

I’d probably put them 2 and 3 behind Holliday. What that guy is doing is just insane, but at the same time I could easily see Crews or Skenes tearing up the minors the exact same way.

jaygray007

i mean okay. let’s just grant you that theyre the 2 and 3 in baseball.

but now we’re saying there’s not 1, not 2, but THREE “generational” guys.

which goes back to the original point that it feels like we are way overusing it.

jtkuch

It seems we’re just having a disagreement on the meaning of “generational”, but even so, my original point stands since I still very much feel that Crews and Skenes are in a tier of their own above the Clarks of the world that the Pirates would consider as “signability” picks. Which is also to say there’s a much bigger gap there than there was between Mayer/Lawlar/Leiter and Davis.

NMR

There was a period of time like 10-15 years ago when seemingly every org had multiple “potential aces” in their systems.

That fever dream of course eventually broke, but seems to have infected post-2020 draft discourse (neither Kumar Rocker nor Elijah Green were ever anywhere close to the talent they were purported to have).

I suspect we’ll look back on this period similarly in a few years.

Aurorus

Well this era has been dominated by a few marquis pitchers with a large gap between them and a vast pool of mediocrity: Kershaw, Verlander, Greinke, Scherzer, et al. This has affected the thinking of scouts and GMs. Everyone wants that marquis pitcher because the alternative in the recent era has been muddling through middling sorts. There are few Charlie Mortons in the league who are good, but never great, year in and year out.

melkel

They all were top 11 picks. Max was 11 overall, Verlander 2 overall, Greinke 6 overall(?), and Kershaw 7 overall in their respective drafts. Not completely sure on Greinke but know he was top 10.

Aurorus

Going back and looking at that draft is instructive. I still remember it. The Pirates took Bryan Bullington, to the surprise and chagrin of everyone, with the 1st overall pick. 4 of the next 5 picks were prep pitchers, and of the 4, only Greinke went on to have success… which is probably about the hit/miss rate generally for prep pitchers in the first round… 25% home run… 75% K. As to the Pirates, that draft summarized the horrible mismanagement of the team for years. The Bullington pick still rankles to this day.

Aurorus

All of this is to say that if you look at the 2002 draft, it supports your contention that the Pirates should draft Skenes. It is very rare for a pitcher like Skenes to come out of the college ranks and teams can fire lots of blanks looking to pick up a prep pitcher. It also shows what has gone wrong so often with the Pirates when they become too clever by half in the draft.

Cocktailsfor2

I apologize in advance, but I have to do this…

Marquis: a nobleman ranking next below a duke and above an earl or count.

Marquee: a tall rooflike projection above a theater entrance, usually containing the name of a currently featured play or film and its stars.

Sorry again,

Aurorus

No problem. I stand by marquis, however, since that is the historical French word, and “marquee” must be some English mangling of the original French.

NMR

Oh it’s very much not the scouts and GM’s doing this, it’s the Bowden’s and Callis’s.

AdministrativeSky236

After some careful reflection, I think enrique bradfield jr should be the pick with the goal of drafting the next 100 base stealer

leefieux

FanGraphs

1. Pittsburgh Pirates
Pick: Dylan Crews, CF, LSU

2. Washington NationalsPick: Paul Skenes, RHP, LSU

3. Detroit TigersPick: Wyatt Langford, OF, Florida

jaygray007

i know this isnt a perfect way to think about it, but i kinda feel like elite hitting helps you play up in the regular season and make the playoffs (fewer injuries, plays every day), and like elite pitching helps you win the playoffs when you get there (more days between games lets elite SP’s play more often).

the pirates currently need help on both fronts.

i like Skenes/Keller as the start of a “playoffs big 3” and i like what Crews/Langford does to a theoretical lineup.

If they take skenes theyll need to buy some more hitting this winter. if they skip skenes theyll need to buy more pitching this winter.

heart wants skenes. brain wants langford/crews.

its gonna be langford, folks. he has the most to lose by not taking “the deal” at 1.

Last edited 2 months ago by jaygray007
melkel

My dream draft. (It won’t happen)
Pick 1. Skenes $9.2 mil
Pick 42 Schanuel $4.5 mil (cut deal)
Pick 67 Grice $800,000
Pick 73 Alderman $750,000
Pick 104 Connor Burns $250,000
Pick 140 Kevin Sim $205,000
Pick 167 Carlson Reed $200,000
Rounds 7-10 seniors or way underslot guys.
Round 11 up what ever they can afford. Should have around $1 mil to get 1 or 2 High School players.

Danatural08

I’d be on board for this! Would love to get Grice & Alderman

tom2125

Sadly, lots of mocks out there have Schanuel going anywhere from the Angles to STL. That would be a nice grab for the Pirates 2nd pick

melkel

I’ve been bringing him up since early March, he’s my favorite hitter in the draft. I still think Crews is a better player and probably a better hitter. I think Schanuel is going to improve in pro ball.
Sadly I know I’m not being realistic.

tom2125

It would be pretty cool to see him drop if his signing demands were too high.

melkel

That’s why I put cut a deal. If he knows we have 4.5 waiting for him.
He can let other teams know his price. He could still get drafted but that would set a bad first step for a team to under cut him and not at least match the offer.

Catch_22

Great stuff, Tim.

Agree with Skenes, he’s the game changer in this draft. One small disagreement with that dream outfield…No suwinski?!? He’s the best hitter on the team, the power combined with the bb’s is real. I know it’s sss, but I’m worrying about Davis’ bat in RF. Starting to feel like they were a little overzealous with his development. I think dude needs to catch if he’s going to stick, otherwise you got a poor man’s Hunter Renfroe.

Aurorus

I agree with you insofar as many people on this board think that every guy who does not jump from AAA to the majors and rake immediately is a bust. This is just silliness, and many of those who do rake immediately across MLB end up petering out after a season or two.

I disagree, however, about Suwinski and the Pirates. Suwinski is a legitimate MLB star right now. He is not a “fringe starter,” and he would be starting on all 30 MLB teams, including against lefties (well… on 29 teams he would be starting against lefties).

As to his development. He spent all of 45 games in the Pirates minor-league system before coming up to Pittsburgh. He already had a patient approach (walking 45 times in 211 PAs in San Antonio) and good pitch recognition before he came to the Pirates. It is the reason that they targeted him.

This is not the movie Moneyball. There is more to teaching hitting than telling guys to layoff pitches out of their hot zone. It is much more about swing mechanics, body motion, and so forth. Go see the interview with Blake Sabol on Youtube about how Barry Bonds helped him with his swing and to let his hands do the work of finding the ball rather than lunging at it with his body. That is coaching.

If I wanted to learn how to paint, I would ask a guy who paints beautiful pictures to teach me. If I wanted to learn how to lay brick, I would ask a guy who lays great brickwork to teach me. If I want to learn how to hit in the MLB, I would ask a guy has great success hitting in the Show to teach me. To me.. a guy who never had much success hitting has no business teaching others to hit… likewise for any craft. A guy who claims to know all about something but could never do it himself is a charlatan.

Drufan11

This is certainly a take so I commend you for that…but…it is not a good one. Have you been around many high level athletes? Sure, they can be good teachers but most have achieved what they have achieved based on their god given ability to do so. Bringing up the greatest hitter of all time (there’s a take) as an example is asinine. I trust someone who watches others and might not be able to do it themselves much more than someone touched by god that has .000001% abilities.

david_lewis

If I wanted to learn how to paint, I would ask a guy who knows how to teach painting. The guy who paints beautiful pictures is likely to say, “You just take what you see and put it on the canvas! It’s obvious!”

Like the comment that Barry Bonds would make a terrible hitting coach because his coaching would be along the lines of, “See the ball coming in. If it’s going to be outside the strike zone, take it. If it’s going to be in the strike zone, it a home run.”

Aurorus

Bonds is working with the San Fran staff as the functional equivalent of an assistant hitting coach.

Cocktailsfor2

“ To me.. a guy who never had much success hitting has no business teaching others to hit…”

Charlie Lau says hi.

jaygray007

honestly i think suwinski is also proof they can develop a good FIELDER. i know reports of his defense varied when they dealt for him – longenhagen had him as a DH-only guy.

and here we are and he’s a solid-enough CF.

the suwinski defensive progression makes me more tempted to go langford.

langford has the premier power over crews and crews has the big defensive advantage. if they develop langford how they developed suwinski, then he’s probably the better prospect for them.

Aurorus

I just don’t trust defensive reports much, especially in these days of metrics, which require a very large sample to have much meaning. I remember the Rays DFAing a guy named Dickerson because they said he didn’t have the arm or range to play LF. This same guy won a gold glove the next year. And this was the Rays… you know… the guys who never make mistakes.

Aurorus

What is ironic about Dickerson is that “non-professional” scouting such as OOTP and Diamond Mind Baseball had him rated as having very good range and a very good arm when the Rays DFAed him because they had him as a DH only player.

PirateRican21

To add to the dream outfield scenario, defense would be a nightmare!!!

AdministrativeSky236

Awesome stuff here Tim! What a great read

Danatural08

100% agree Tim. Great breakdown as usual. They gotta take Skenes, it just makes too much sense. Thank you for talking me off the cliff with all the crazy Clark talk that’s going around.

I’ve also compared Crews to Reynolds, as I think they’re similar players, but I might be underselling just how good Crews is. BREY was a 2nd round pick I know, but here’s a comparison of their slash lines on their Junior years, both in the SEC:

BREY: .330/.461/.603
Crews: .426/.567/.713

Crews is about .1 better in each category.

Cobra

Love the bold headline Tim. Persuasive analysis. Sunday should be fun.

And whoever the LSU pitching coach you referenced who worked with Skenes: can we please subcontract with him this summer for Projects Contreras, Priester, Ortiz and Chandler?

Aurorus

The coach at LSU is Wes Johnson. I’m sure that if the Pirates offered Wes Johnson the right amount of money and the ability to orchestrate the whole of the Pirates pitcher-development system he would, at least, consider the offer. I’m not sure that he is the best choice, however, for such a position. Nevertheless, he might be an upgrade over what they have at present.

melkel

Really hoping for Skenes, it’s worth the risk in my opinion for a good shot at a true ace.

RaisetheJollyRancherGirl

Really no reason to not just take Langford if you’re thinking Jenkins other than maybe a few $100k in extra savings but Jenkins is having/had a surgery for a hip impingement he was born with, too. No thank you.

I remain on team Skenes or Crews with the nod going to whoever the scouting and analytics teams think they can get more out of.

leefieux

Pittsburgh BaseballNow has a poll up on who we should take 1-1.
Betcha don’t know who I voted for. 😂😂

https://pittsburghbaseballnow.com/poll-who-should-the-pirates-take-with-the-no-1-pick-in-the-2023-mlb-draft/#google_vignette

Last edited 2 months ago by leefieux
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