A year after taking Pedro Alvarez in the first round of the MLB draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates have another top selection in the 2009 MLB draft. The Pirates will have the fourth pick this year, which not only guarantees them a shot at another top talent like Alvarez, but pretty much guarantees them another encounter with Scott Boras.
Boras represents seven potential first round clients, including several options that have been linked to the Pirates. While the Pirates had problems last year with Boras, they have said won’t shy away this year, and will go for the top talent available once again. The advantage this year is that Boras’ top client will go with the first selection, meaning his statement contract (like Alvarez last year) won’t be with the Pirates. The disadvantage is that the Pirates will have to play the usual waiting game with Boras, leading up to minutes before the signing deadline (and hopefully not minutes after this time).
Stephen Strasburg is the top talent overall, and is pretty much a lock to go first in the draft. Outside of Strasburg, there is no certain number two pick, but several sites agree on a group of players being top four prospects. Those players are RHP Alex White from UNC, SS Grant Green from USC, and 1B/CF Dustin Ackley from UNC.
White is my personal favorite. The Pirates need pitching, and White is arguably the second best pitcher in the draft behind Strasburg. He throws 93-95 MPH, with a peak of 97 MPH, and can maintain that velocity in late innings. White could be the ace we need, and the best pitcher we’ve had since Doug Drabek.
Next would be Grant Green, who is considered the top position player in the draft. He’s a four tool shortstop who has the ability to hit for average. Green would fill a position of need for the Pirates, and could be in the majors by 2010.
Dustin Ackley is considered to be the best pure hitter in the draft. He hit .402 as a freshman at UNC, .417 as a sophomore, and is off to a good start this season. He had Tommy John surgery, which moves him to first base from center field, but he’s been getting work at center so far this season, and could easily make the move back in his pro career.
My preference would be in that order. White gives the Pirates a potential ace. Green would give the Pirates a great left side of the infield with Pedro Alvarez. Ackley adds another power bat to the lineup. All three could be in the majors by the end of the 2010 season. Alex White is the only player in this group not represented by Scott Boras.
Leading up to the draft I will be tracking these players the best that I can with my 2009 Pirates Draft Prospects Tracker. Nothing fancy, but this will give an update on what these three players have been doing lately, and what they’ve done all season, to help prepare you for the draft. If any other players step up in the 2-4 range, I will add them to the tracker.