Pirates Notebook: Glad We Passed On Scheppers

When I was tracking draft prospects for the 2009 draft, I threw Tanner Scheppers in just for the heck of it. There was a lot of talk about how he could go as high as number two, and every Pirates fan was thinking “too bad we didn’t sign him last year”.

I would be included in that list, but that doesn’t mean I wanted Scheppers this year. In fact, I would have rather had the guys we took in the second round, rather than Scheppers, assuming he fell to us. Of course that would have been moot, as he didn’t sign the permission form for the Pirates to re-draft him.

I’m not surprised to see that Scheppers may be needing surgery. In fact, when you look back at the first Draft Prospect Elimination article I wrote, you’ll see that I had this to say on 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.

From the sound of things, Scheppers probably needed surgery last year around this time. Of course that would have hurt his bid to sign with the Pirates for first round money. What amazes me is that Scheppers didn’t have surgery after August 15th, 2008. He had several months to heal from the surgery. Instead he decided to rest the arm, then try to gain himself a contract by going all out in a few innings in Indy ball.

I never was too upset with the fact that we didn’t sign Scheppers. We got compensation this year, plus we ended up using the money on guys like Robbie Grossman, Wes Freeman, and Quinton Miller.

Overall I think Scheppers taught us something about investing draft picks in college pitchers.

Last year the Pirates drafted 21 pitchers. Ten of those were college pitchers, five were JuCo pitchers, and six were prep pitchers.

This year the Pirates took 34 pitchers. 13 were college pitchers, seven were JuCo pitchers, and 14 were prep pitchers.

Comparing the two draft classes, the Pirates took just 28.6 percent prep pitchers in the 2008 draft. They took 41.2 percent prep pitchers in the 2009 draft.

Most of the college and JuCo pitchers in 2009 came after the 20th round. The Pirates took 13 pitchers in the top 20 rounds. Four were college pitchers (30.8%), two were JuCo (15.4%), and seven were prep pitchers (53.8%). Compare that to last year where the Pirates took six pitchers in the first 20 rounds, with three college pitchers and three high school pitchers.

It’s obvious that the Pirates put a bigger focus on prep pitchers in 2009. I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, as I don’t know if this is the case, but could it be that Tanner Scheppers is the reason for that?

Whatever the reason, I’m glad they went this route. I feel there’s a lot more risk with college arms, due to the abuse from the coaches whose job description is to win ball games. There’s not as much pressure in high school (plus they only play seven innings in high school) which means you have less of a chance of a Tanner Scheppers situation (or Kyle Gibson, who was “coincidentally” injured after throwing several outings with 115-130 pitches).

The MVP Tracker

The MVP Tracker is updated through the 6/18 loss. Here are the big changes from tonight’s loss:

1. Ross Ohlendorf: -.220 WPA
2. Robinzon Diaz: -.062
3. Andy LaRoche: -.061
4. Freddy Sanchez:-.058
5. Jack Wilson: -.033

Prospect Watch

The Prospects Tracker is updated with tonight’s results:

-Jose Tabata went 1 for 4 with his first home run of the season. Tabata is batting .267/.375/.467 since his return from injury.

-Gorkys Hernandez went 0 for 4 with a strikeout. Gorkys had hits in his previous four starts before tonight.

-Jeff Locke got his first win for Lynchburg since coming over in the Nate McLouth trade. Locke went six innings, allowing six hits, three runs (none of them earned), no walks, and three strikeouts. Since joining Lynchburg, Locke has a 2.43 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 7.7 K/9 ratio, 3.0 K/BB ratio, and an 0.6 HR/9 ratio in 14 innings.

-Pedro Alvarez had a nice night tonight, going 3 for 4 with a run and a walk. Alvarez is now batting .270/.352/.587 in June. If you take a look at his monthly splits you’ll see he is slowly improving each month. Nice thing to see.

-Robbie Grossman went 1 for 4 tonight. Grossman has a four game hitting streak since snapping his ten game hitting streak on June 15th. Grossman strikes out a lot, but he can really hit.

-Tony Sanchez, the number one draft pick for the Pirates this year, is making his debut in State College tomorrow. Sanchez will play a few games with State College, then report to West Virginia on the 27th.

Other Stuff

-After the game tonight, the Pirates designated Craig Monroe for assignment and called up Steve Pearce. A lot of speculation will begin about the future of Adam LaRoche. I think Pearce will start seeing some time in right field (as Moss is bad on offense, and Delwyn is bad on defense), and if he starts hitting well, we could see him replace Adam when/if he gets traded.

The 25-Man Roster, 40-Man Roster, and Payroll Commitments Chart pages are all updated. I included Monroe’s salary to date on the 40-Man roster page. The Pirates are on the hook for the entire $750,000, unless another team claims him or trades for him.

There is currently an open spot on the 40-Man roster. I’m not sure who will fill that spot. Maybe it will be saved for the eventual return of Craig Hansen or Phil Dumatrait (although neither seems close). Or maybe we’re just waiting for the other shoe to drop…

-Earlier today I posted about how the Pirates were set to sign their ninth round pick, Brock Holt. Dejan Kovacevic confirms thi

s here.

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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.

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