2009 Draft Prospects Rundown: Elimination Style

Let’s play a little game.

Personally I’m tired of talking about a few of the guys I’m tracking in the Draft Prospects Tracker. It’s not that they’re bad players. It’s not that they’re boring. It’s just that it’s a waste of time. There are certain players who would be a total waste with the fourth pick. Guys like Mike Leake and Rich Poythress have solid numbers, but they aren’t talented enough to be considered for the number four pick. It’s also doubtful that they’d fall to our next pick at number 49, but that would be nice.

So we’re going to go elimination style, using the Draft Prospects Tracker, to determine some options for the #4 pick. It will be kind of a tournament, or maybe an American Idol style contest. I’m not sure how they run that, but from what I’ve seen, they advance people to the next round. Consider this “Round 1″.

Round One

Grant Green - He has a .374 average after Sunday, but 15 errors on the season, and only four homers. The Pirates already have an offense-first shortstop in Jordy Mercer, and he actually has a bit of power. We’ll keep Green around for his bat, but it’s more of an emergency prospect. STATUS: Advance to Round 2

Dustin Ackley - Ackley is in. He’s hitting .405 with 17 homers on the season. He’s playing center field now, and there are rumors he could even play second base. He’s the best hitter in the draft. STATUS: Advance to Round 2

Rich Poythress - Poythress has shown a lot of power this season, but has struggled in May with a .244 average and one homer. He also is strictly a first baseman, which lowers his value a bit. In the recent mock draft Baseball America did, he didn’t even go in the first round (although that didn’t include consolation picks). I’m eliminating him. STATUS: Eliminated

Alex WhiteWhite has been up and down this season, but has a 2.60 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP in six starts in April and May. He also has a 43:19 K/BB ratio in 45 innings over that span, with no homers allowed. He’s back in consideration for the #4 pick. STATUS: Advance to Round 2

Kyle Gibson - Gibson is the opposite of White. He had a great start to the season, with a 2.63 ERA in February and March, but has a 5.64 ERA in his last eight games. His home run ratio has blown up over that stretch, with eight homers in 52.2 innings, or a 1.4 HR/9 ratio. However, his 61:6 K/BB ratio is still impressive, and is enough to give him a pass. STATUS: Advance to Round 2

Kendal Volz - Volz has talent, but his performance is not deserving of the number four pick. STATUS: Eliminated

Andrew Oliver - SEE: Volz, Kendal. If I’m taking a left hander, it’s going to be Tyler Matzek. STATUS: Eliminated

Mike Leake - Leake has pitched very well this season, with a 13-1 record, and a 1.35 ERA in 106 innings. However, he doesn’t have the talent to justify the number four pick, so despite the stats, I’m going to eliminate him. STATUS: Eliminated

James Paxton - Same story as Volz and Oliver. Would be great if one of these guys dropped to us in the second round. STATUS: Eliminated

Tyler Matzek - He’s the top high school arm in the draft, and the top left hander. I like him as much as any college arm right now. STATUS: Advance to Round 2

Aaron Crow - Strong first Indy league start. If he continues this performance, he’d be a strong selection at #4, possibly as the second best pitcher in the draft aside from Strasburg. STATUS: Advance to Round 2

Tanner Scheppers - Here’s the deal on Scheppers. We’ve heard that he’s throwing 98 MPH, and we’ve heard that he could go as high as #2. First, a minor point, we don’t know if his 98 MPH pitch has any command. As we’ve seen with guys like Tyler Yates, it’s one thing to throw hard, but if you can’t control it, it’s useless. As for the “healthy arm”, that’s not certain. Scheppers was on a pitch count of 75 in his first regular season start. He will have 3-4 more starts before the draft, and will probably remain on a pitch count. Therefore, it will be impossible to get an idea as to the health of his arm. Is his arm actually fine, or is it just something that feels good now due to inactivity, but will flare up in the future? No one knows, and that’s why I’m fine letting someone else take him. STATUS: Eliminated


Shelby Miller - Miller is one of the top high school arms in the draft, and the Pirates are reported to be interested. Unfortunately I can’t find any stats for Miller, which is why I don’t have a profile page. However, we’re going to advance him here. STATUS: Advance to Round 2

Jacob Turner - Same situation as Miller. He’s a top high school arm, and the Pirates like him, but I can’t find any stats. He’ll be advanced as well, with further review in the next round. STATUS: Advance to Round 2

Donovan Tate - He’s considered the top high school position player, but there are concerns that he won’t sign, due to being accepted to UNC for football and baseball. I’m adding him based on talent. STATUS: Advance to Round 2

Round One Results

The following players will advance to the second round (next week):

Grant Green
Dustin Ackley
Alex White
Kyle Gibson
Tyler Matzek
Aaron Crow
Shelby Miller
Jacob Turner
Donovan Tate

Next week (5/25) I will cut three players from this list, followed by three more playe

rs on 6/1 (we pick fourth, but we know that Stephen Strasburg will go first, so we’re guaranteed a shot at one of three from the final list). The day before the draft I will rank the three remaining players in order of preference for the #4 pick. I may even include a poll to get your votes on that last part (the poll would go up on 6/1).

I’ll also be planning a live blog on the draft, so be sure to check back for that (I’ll have a pre-registration where you can set a reminder for the event).

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

Pirates Notebook: One big inning

Next Story »

Power Two Up, Curve Two Down

Latest Analysis

  • Alen Hanson f

    Pirates Talk With David Todd: Hanson, Ramirez, Taillon, Kingham, Richard, Worley

    2 hours ago

    I was on 970 ESPN in Pittsburgh this afternoon for my weekly segment with David Todd. The podcast can be heard below. Here is a summary of ...

    Read More
  • Billy Roth is the top prospect in Bristol this year.

    Another Projectable Prep Pitcher Sees An Increase in His Velocity

    8 hours ago

    When discussing the best Pittsburgh Pirates draft under Neal Huntington, the 2011 group has to be at the top of the list. It features Gerrit Cole, Tyler ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero

    Breaking Down the Final Pirates Roster Battles After Today’s Cuts

    2 days ago

    With less than a week remaining in camp, the Pittsburgh Pirates made their latest round of cuts this morning, sending three relievers to minor league camp, including ...

    Read More
  • Keller Supak Hinsz

    Even With the New Draft Rules, the Pirates Are Still Loading Up on Projectable Pitchers

    3 days ago

    From 2008-2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates spent a lot of resources on projectable pitchers out of high school. So far, this approach has led to breakout performances from ...

    Read More
  • Josh Bell made the move to first base over the off-season. (Photo credit: David Hague)

    Why Should You Care About Prospects?

    5 days ago

    Yesterday I had a shorter day than usual. The Pirates had cuts at the MLB level, and a road game. The day was shortened at Pirate City, ...

    Read More
  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    5 days ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    7 days ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    1 week ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    1 week ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    1 week ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles