I’ll be using this thread leading up to, and throughout, the Rule 5 draft in order to provide the most recent rumors on who the Pirates may take, as well as who the Pirates could lose. Once the draft begins, I’ll update the thread with any results that pertain to the Pirates’ organization. Keep checking back. The 2009 Rule 5 draft begins at 9:00 AM.
10:15 AM: It doesn’t look like the Pirates lost anyone in those AAA picks that I missed. They also didn’t lose Kyle Bloom or Shelby Ford in the major league phase. Neither is a major prospect, although they both still have a chance to be Major League players in the future. I wouldn’t mind seeing Bloom competing for a bullpen spot with the Pirates next season. That wraps things up. I’ll have a detailed report on Raynor in a bit.
9:41 AM: The Rule 5 draft is over. 17 players taken in the MLB phase, 21 in the AAA phase, and 4 in the AA phase. To my knowledge the Pirates didn’t lose anyone, although I missed some picks in the AAA portion of the draft. Credit Dave Littlefield’s horrible drafting in 2005/2006 for that.
9:36 AM: Pirates pass in the AA phase of the draft. That’s it for them today.
9:34 AM: Looking at the projected 25-man roster, who gets the boot if the Pirates try to keep Raynor out of Spring Training? Delwyn Young, Bobby Crosby, and Jason Jaramillo are pretty much guaranteed roster spots. You’d have to think that Ramon Vazquez is a lock due to his salary. Would this put Brandon Moss on the chopping block? There’s the chance they could go with one less bullpen arm, but I don’t think this is likely (even though I have it projected that way right now).
Pirates take shortstop Rodolfo Cardona from the Baltimore system in the AAA phase of the draft. Cardona hit for a .218/.272/.324 line in 188 at-bats between low-A, high-A, and AA last year. He hit for a .283/.372/.398 line in 166 at-bats in rookie ball in 2008.
Pirates passed in the second round of the AAA phase.
9:17 AM: The Pirates pass in the second round. Bobby Crosby will fill out the 40-man roster. I’m very surprised that Aneury Rodriguez and Yohan Pino weren’t selected. Craig Baker also didn’t get picked in the first round. A lot of teams passing in round two.
9:15 AM: The 2010 40-man roster/payroll projection is updated with Raynor. No Pirates taken in the first round. The second round is about to begin.
9:07 AM: I’m surprised by the pick of Raynor. Not surprised in regards to his talents. He is coming off a down year at AAA in which he posted a .257/.327/.360 line with 19 stolen bases. In 2008 he posted a .312/.402/.489 line in 452 AA at-bats, with 48 steals. He played mostly left field and was the Marlins’ number 11 prospect entering the 2009 season. Raynor is fast enough to play center, but has a below average arm. He also has problems with strikeouts, with a 27 percent strikeout ratio in AAA last year. Raynor is a threat on the bases, with 142 steals in 1543 at-bats. He turns 26 in January.
The reason I’m surprised is because of what I noted last night in the notebook. The Pirates could have a crowded bench by June when Pedro Alvarez arrives, and especially if Jose Tabata arrives. It could be hard to hold on to a position player all season.
9:05 AM: The draft has begun. The Pirates end up taking John Raynor with the second pick. So no Baker.
8:53 AM: Baseball America’s John Manuel says that the Yankees plan on taking John Raynor with the first pick. I mention these Yankees notes because there’s three different reports on who the Yankees will take, which makes me think Baker isn’t a lock for the number two pick by the Pirates.
Another note on Baker, he pitched in the Arizona Fall League with Scottsdale, which is the team that Jeff Banister managed. So the Pirates probably got a close look at Baker, although he only pitched 11.2 innings with a 9:5 K/BB ratio.
8:45 AM: Some conflicting reports on the number one pick. The Yankees have been rumored to be taking their own guy, left hander Zach Kroenke, with the number one pick (through Washington, of course). Joel Sherman of the NY Post tweeted that they’re planning on taking Dodgers’ outfielder Jamie Hoffman.
As for Baker, he has a 90-93 MPH fastball and a power curveball that is his best pitch, a plus low-80s breaking ball. He also throws a slider.
8:40 AM: Pirates set to take Craig Baker, according to Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports. Baker is a right handed pitcher in the Colorado farm system, turning 25 in January. He hasn’t pitched above high-A ball, but posted a 2.30 ERA in 62.2 innings pitched in high-A in 2009, with a 10.8 K/9 and a 3.0 BB/9. Baker was originally drafted by the Rockies in the fourth round of the 2006 draft. More info to come.
8:30 AM: Half an hour from the draft. The Royals released first baseman Mike Jacobs and relief pitcher John Bale last night in order to make a pick. Jacobs had a down year in 2009, with a .228 average and a .698 OPS in 434 at-bats. From 2005-2008 Jacobs had a .262 average and a .816 OPS in 1472 at-bats in the National League. He also hit a homer every 18.4 at-bats during that span, compared to a homer every 22 at-bats in 2009. Hard to say what Jacobs, a left handed hitting first baseman, would get on the open market, but he could be worth pursuing. His career line at PNC is .291/.328/.527 with 3 homers in 55 at-bats.
1:30 AM: Jonathan Mayo tweets that the Pirates are looking for a right handed pitcher at number two. In this article he also says that Jean Machi could be at risk of being selected from the Pirates. Machi recently re-signed with the Pirates as a minor league free agent, one year after posting a 2.09 ERA in 51.2 innings between AA and AAA, with a 6.4 K/9, a 3.3 BB/9, and 12 saves. Machi has done well in the Venezuelan Winter League, with a 1.57 ERA and 13 saves in 24 games, along with a 21:4 K/BB ratio in 28.2 innings pitched.
The Nationals plan on taking Zach Kroenke with the first pick for the New York Yankees. The Nationals traded the pick to the Yankees earlier in the week. Kroenke was left unprotected by New York, and could replace Phil Coke in the bullpen after Coke was shipped out in the Curtis Granderson trade.
Also, check out my notebook from tonight for my top five options for the Pirates to take with their pick in the Rule 5 draft.