Two weeks ago I started off with 15 players as options for the number four overall pick, and eliminated six of those players. Last week I eliminated three more players, leaving us with six players this week.
With the draft a week from Tuesday, I will be eliminating the final six players down to three this week, giving us the top three players for the Pirates’ first pick in the 2009 draft. Of course Stephen Strasburg is the true number one guy, but we have a better chance of seeing Elvis performing at the next Skyblast than we do of seeing Strasburg fall to us.
For information on each player, check out the 2009 Draft Prospects Tracker.
Dustin Ackley - Baseball America has released their top 200 draft prospects, and Ackley ranks number two behind Strasburg. He’s also the number one hitter. This is generally the consensus. I’d be crazy if I didn’t advance him to the finals. Unfortunately, that’s where the certainty in this draft ends. STATUS: Advancing to Finals
Alex White - At the start of the season I would have taken Alex White over Dustin Ackley. It wasn’t that Ackley was considered a bad prospect, but White was coming off a 13-3 season where he posted a 2.83 ERA, with 113 strikeouts in 101.2 innings pitched. White saw his draft stock fall this year, posting a 4.42 ERA. His strikeout ratio was similar, but he’s been too inconsistent. As an example: he posted a 2.25 ERA in the month of April, only to follow that up with an 8.10 ERA in the month of May. White had the chance to step up as the top pitcher behind Stephen Strasburg, and really dropped the ball. I don’t even rank him in the top five players at this point. STATUS: Eliminated
Kyle Gibson - Gibson just tied a Missouri record for strikeouts in his recent outing, with 131 on the season, and just 19 walks. Don’t confuse Gibson for a power pitcher because of the strikeouts. Gibson is more of a finesse pitcher, throwing consistently between 88-91 MPH. While I love the control Gibson provides, the Pirates have way too many finesse pitchers. What they really need is a power arm, which is why I’m eliminating Gibson here. STATUS: Eliminated
Tyler Matzek - I’ve been tracking Matzek on the blog for the last month. So far this season he has a 97:28 K/BB ratio in 72.1 innings pitched. He features a fastball that he throws 90-93 MPH, topping out at 94. He also has a sharp breaking curveball and a smooth delivery. I’m not saying Matzek will never develop in to a power pitcher, but right now he doesn’t have it, and since I’m looking for power, I’m going to eliminate him. STATUS: Eliminated
Aaron Crow - Crow has been solid in the Indy leagues so far. In three starts he has allowed just two runs in 17 innings, with a 17:5 K/BB ratio. Crow displayed the same control in college, when he posted a 127:38 K/BB ratio in 107.1 innings during his final year at Missouri. Crow has a 92-96 MPH fastball with a hard sink. He also has a strong slider. Crow has used his time in the Indy leagues to step up in a crowded pitching situation. Due to his great fastball, and his control, I’m advancing him to the finals. STATUS: Advancing to Finals
Jacob Turner - Well, if you’re good at math you’ll notice that I’m advancing three people, and with only two advanced and one person left, that makes Turner my third guy. I don’t have a profile page for him, since I couldn’t find his detailed stats, so here is why I made my decision. Turner is a 6’5″, 205 pound pitcher who sports a fastball that ranges between 92-94 MPH, topping out at 98. He’s considered the #5 prospect by Baseball America, and the top prep pitcher. He also has a big breaking curveball. Turner has the advantage of being coached by three former Major Leaguers: Andy Benes, Mike Matheny, and Todd Worrell. He has a 105:8 K/BB ratio in 52 innings. It’s only high school ball, but that’s an average of two strikeouts per inning, which is good at any level.
Turner is represented by Scott Boras, who is looking for a contract similar to Josh Beckett and Rick Porcello. Porcello recently got a $7.285 M major league contract in the 2007 draft (a move that seems to have paid off for the Detroit Tigers, as Porcello is 6-3 in the majors in his second professional year). While Porcello received over $7 M, only $3.58 M came through a signing bonus. Josh Beckett received a similar contract, getting 4 years, $7 M, with a $3.625 M bonus. So if Turner did cost that much, we probably would pay less up front than we would with Dustin Ackley. STATUS: Advancing to Finals
Round Three Results
The following players have advanced to the finals:
Next week I will rank these players in order of preference for our first overall pick. I’m asking for your input on this. To the right I have a poll where you can vote for the player you would like to see the Pirates take if (when) Stephen Strasburg goes first overall. I may include a new poll later in the week not including Ackley, since I anticipate the majority of the votes for this poll to go for Ackley (and it seems that getting Ackley would also be a long shot now).
In the next week, leading up to the 2009 Draft Preview next Monday, I will do a post detailing the three players I have chosen for the finals. Ackley will be first, on Tuesday. Crow will be second, on Thursday. Turner will be last, on Saturday.