Pirates Take Gustavo Nunez in Rule 5, Lose Brett Lorin

The Pittsburgh Pirates have drafted shortstop Gustavo Nunez from the Detroit Tigers in the 2011 Rule 5 draft. Nunez, 23, has played as high as the AA level. Nunez had a .215/.252/.289 line at the AA level in 121 at-bats, his only at-bats above high-A.  He hit for a .304/.368/.431 line in high-A last year, showing good plate patience. Nunez was the 23rd best prospect in the Detroit farm system heading in to the 2011 season, according to Baseball America. He’s got strong defense at short, and was named the best defensive shortstop in the Florida State League in 2010.

The Pirates also had one player selected from their organization when Arizona took Brett Lorin. Lorin spent the entire 2011 season in high-A, putting up a 2.84 ERA in 117.1 innings, along with a 7.6 K/9 and a 1.5 BB/9.

UPDATE 10:23 AM: The Pirates take left hander Aaron Poreda from San Diego. Poreda has 13.1 innings of major league experience, with a 2.70 ERA and a 12:13 K/BB ratio in that time. He was part of the Jake Peavy trade in 2009. In 2011 at the AAA level he had a 5.43 ERA in 69.2 innings, along with a 10.2 K/9 and an 8.1 BB/9. Control is obviously an issue, but Poreda is more than the normal high-A/AA bench player that gets selected.

UPDATE 10:30 AM: Pirates make two more picks in the AAA phase, selecting catcher Francisco Diaz from Philadelphia. Diaz has never played higher than high-A, and had a .211/.315/.257 line in 109 at-bats in low-A last year. The Pirates also took catcher Charles Cutlet from the St. Louis Cardinals’ AA roster. Cutler hit for a .333/.398/.475 line in 204 at-bats at the AA level last year. Both players will likely serve as depth options in high-A/AA next year. The Pirates passed on a fourth pick in the AAA phase, and didn’t take anyone in the AA phase.

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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, 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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    NH You are wasting everyone’s time!  A light hitting SS, when guys with POWER are available…What is the matter with you?

    • Anonymous

      Who in the Rule 5 draft had power?  These guys are rule 5 available for a reason.

      • TOM GUIDO

        Are you kidding me

        Padres, 1B/LF, L/R, 6’5″, 215 lbs, DOB 12/10/86

        2011 Level: AAA (Pacific

        First basemen are rarely
        taken in the Rule 5 draft, but Matt Clark may be one of the rare exceptions. He
        has good bloodlines, as the son of former ML pitcher Terry Clark.
        For the Pirates, the younger Clark would represent a second chance to grab the
        “one that got away”, as the Littlefield-era front office had selected
        him in the 28th round of the 2007 draft, out of Riverside CC in California (by
        way of UC Santa Barbara, which he had left because he was unsatisfied with the
        amount of playing time he was receiving). He had entered that draft as BA’s
        #193 prospect, but slipped on concerns about signability, and rather than
        turning pro at that time, he transferred to LSU. That decision proved to be a
        good one for Clark, as he tied Gordon Beckham for the NCAA lead with 28 HR,
        propelling the Tigers to a berth in the College World Series and improving his
        draft position to the 12th round that July.

        As a pro, Clark’s best tool
        continues to be his power. He has 24, 28, and 23 home runs in his three full
        seasons in the minors, and a career ISO of .212. Even though he’s generally
        played in good offensive environments, those are still impressive numbers.
        Contact has been an issue for him going back to his amateur days, but he
        actually made some strides in that area last year, improving from a 47/146 BB/K
        in 499 AB in 2010 to a 58/116 BB/K in 462 AB last year. He’s not much of a
        runner, and as a pro he was moved from third base to first due to limited
        mobility. He did spend some time in left field last year, as a way of trying to
        work around the Padres’ logjam at first base, but it’s a stretch for him. He
        does have a strong arm, which would make him a bit easier to hide in RF at PNC
        Park, if we ended up needing to use him there. There has been some speculation
        this offseason that the Pirates might trade or non-tender Garrett Jones, and if
        they do, Clark could be a quality replacement.

        • Anonymous

          Don’t know your source on that, but it sounds like the home page of the Matt Clark fan club.  This is a guy who has always played in extreme hitters leagues, even within those has played in some extreme hitters parks (San Antonio and Lake Elsinore), in those leagues and parks has averaged a home run only every 19 at bats, strikes out twice as often as he walks, and doesn’t really have a defensive position.  Getting upset because he was passed over by the Bucs (and, might I add, every other team) sounds like a waste of getting upset.

          • TOM GUIDO

            You are aruguing with huge Pirate supporter, that understands a lot about this whole situation.  When the PBC is in a great position to take a step forward during the offseason and at the winter meetings, they decide to put a band aid on a gash.  Example. Let’s sign a 4th outfielder and a fan favorite in Nate Mclouth..(not a bad sign, BIG PR move during the winter meetings when they know everyone is watching)  Guess what is next week PIRATEFEST, moved up to sell tickets during the holiday season. I know they are never in play for the big players in FA market.  There are moves that coulda been made.  Why not focus efforts on 1B? Not Dlee who everyone and their mother knew he wasn’t going to sign arbitration.  No they spend their time taking a no hitting SS and another AAA catcher in Morales.  Cmon man get a clue.

            • Anonymous

              Get a clue?  Seriously?  I could tout my own credentials as both fan and coach, but that’s not really germaine to the current argument.  I think McLouth is a bad move; the guy was a cancer when he was here before, and I don’t see any reason for that to have changed.  If they had picked Clark, the reaction would have been “Look at the Pirates trying to fix problems on the cheap.”  Clark is NOT even remotely an upgrade at first base.  Look at the facts:  the Padres, with a weak system and a need for power, did not protect him; no other team took him, and we are not the only team needing first base help; he is not a major league quality hitter based on numbers, swing plane, or anything else.  Simply put, Clark profiles as a beginning of the year Adam LaRoche without an end of the year to bail him out.  If you project his last three year rates with NO decline for being in the majors, he profiles as a bad defender with 20 home run power.  Given reasonable adjustments for league and level, he is maybe 12-15 HR with poor defense and bad secondary numbers.  Get over it.

              • TOM GUIDO

                Never said he was going to be a starter at all. re read the previous post.  you need pop from the bench ( he is a better option than a non hitting ss) oh wait didn’t we just trade for a another SS and sign one in FA, chase,and  josh harrison?How many do you need? …

                when was nate a cancer? were you in the clubhouse?  did you see it everyday?  Coaching a fantasy baseball team doesn’t count. 

                • Anonymous

                  Gee, Tom, you’re the one looking at minor league numbers and saying “How could anyone not grab this guy?”  Sounds pretty fantasy league to me.  Again, talk to me about the guy’s swing plane, his contact rates, his park-adjusted and league-adjusted numbers, etc.  Talk intelligently, as opposed to simply going with generalities and ad hominem attacks.  My point is that Clark is a marginal player who doesn’t bring much track record to the table.  Also, he was passed up by EVERY TEAM.  There is no reason to make this an issue; why do you continue to do so?

            • Todd Smith

              I don’t think it’s a good strategy to try to fill the hole at 1B with a Rule 5 pick.  The Pirates already have plenty of backup options at first with Jones, Hague, Fox and Evans.  Clark doesn’t seem very useful.

              …not a lot of depth at SS – assuming they want d’Arnaud to get regular playing time at AAA this year.   The real question is whether it would have been better to just keep Ciriaco.

          • Anonymous

            He got it from the R5 preview I wrote for Bucs Dugout a few days ago:

            • Anonymous

              Thanks for the source.

  • Steve Dimmick

    should have taken Flaherty

    • Todd Smith

      Flaherty was taken #4.  Pirates picked #8.

      • Steve Dimmick

        yeah, i just saw that….opps

        • white angus


  • Anonymous

    I will miss seeing Lorin continue to develop. I think he is going to be a decent major leaguer at some point.

    • Bob

      Now makes our trade of Wilson to Seattle worthless…

      • Todd Smith

        Still have Aaron Pribanic (and Jeff Clement)…no guarantee we don’t get Lorin back either.  Not an easy roster to crack in Arizona.

        • Bob

          LOL, Jeff Clement.  

          • Todd Smith

            LOL, Jack Wilson

            • white angus


      • Anonymous

        not getting rid of terrible jack wilson sooner is what makes that trade useless. Had a better than Jack SS for 3 seasons in cedeno for a decent $ if Pribanic gets 1 major league hitter out inhis career that trade is still a steal.

  • Anonymous

    This pick doesn’t make much sense. Cannot see him staying in the majors all year so why use a 40 man roster spot for him?

    • white angus

      why not?

  • Anonymous

    More people off of the 40 man coming up.

  • hemmist

    Nunez could be part of the Ludwick trade? 

    • Anonymous

      I was thinking the same thing. Doesn’t sound like a player the Pirates can use or need, so maybe he was selected for the Padres to take as the PTBNL.

  • john.alcorn

    Wasted pick, way too many upside arms and bats were available. Jiwan James, Kyle Russell, Pedro Baez, Drew Cumberland, Eric Komatsu, Marwin Gonzalez were all on the board. For arms Smoker, Rhee, Valiquette, Barnese, and McFarland. Why not at least try to get a player or two or three. We have a bunch of non-tenders due in 4 days, why didn’t they just cut Resop, Veras, and Grill already?  

  • Bob

    What the hell are we doing?  This SS will not stick in majors, did we not learn from JRod mistake last year?  Jesus.  

    • Matthew Spicer

      The difference between JRod and Nunez is that JRod couldn’t even play good defense at second base, while this guy is supposed to be a great defensive shortstop.

      • Bob

        Yes but considering we had lowest offensive #’s in NL last year probably could use more bats and less defense.  

        • white angus

          there were NO slam dunks in the last 2 rule5 drafts.  why are you griping?  JRod was considered one of the best available last year, he got selected, and he failed.  Now its a year later, and still no overall top talent available.

          you dont even know anything about the player, so let it go.

  • Anonymous

    The decent pickup wouldve been a pitcher of some sort. Position players are way to hard to keep for a full season. i agree that this may have something to do with the Ludwick trade. And Ciriaco and Jaramillo will probably make it through waivers because they um stink.

  • Scott Klima

    The Pirates roster looks like it will be too crowded this year, especially in the bullpen, to keep any rule 5 guys.  At least we could have 1 open bench spot available aside from McKenry, McLouth, Harrison and Hague/Evans.  The pen is already filled without including Leroux, Veras, and Resop in it.

  • Anonymous

    As NH stated, taking a $25000 on Nunez is worth it. It cost them $50000 to get him Rule 5 and they get $25000 back if he gets returned. Nothing wrong in my mind with spending some money to see there is something there. We used to complain they would never spend money. Why not spend some and see if someone is worth it. If it doesn’t look like it works during spring training, send them back. No harm, no foul. It’s not like were dropping guys from the 40 man that we shouldn’t be to make room for these guys. 

    • Anonymous

      I think that in general, people were hoping that they’d spend the money on someone with a better chance of being a useful contributor to the team, either now or a few years from now.

  • Mike Adamson

    I’m not going to pretend to know much about Nunez but it sounds alot like Ciraco. Is he a better fielder, hitter, or runner? Why this guy over a arm?

  • Anonymous

    Much ado about nothing.  Weak hitting shortstops are a dime a dozen or $10.5M for one.

  • Anonymous

    shouldn’t the Pirates have known about JRod’s defense prior to selecting him last year?

    He was a much bigger failure of a pick than I expected given track record of Meek and Veal (although outfielder Raynor was no great shakes he at least made the opening day roster)

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