2012 Pirates Draft Prospects Rundown: 3/19

It’s not something that Pirates fans want to hear, but the 2012 draft looks to be another year dominated with pitching at the top.

Sure, there’s Mike Zunino, the two-way catcher from Florida who is tearing the cover off the ball. There’s Deven Marrero, a great defensive shortstop who has struggled with the bat the last few weeks at Arizona State. There’s a slim chance that Zunino falls to the Pirates at eighth overall, while there could be a chance that Marrero falls. That’s possibility is still unlikely. You can add Byron Buxton to the list of offensive players who will probably go in the top five.

There are hitters who are ranked lower on the draft boards, but have potential. Power hitting third baseman Trey Williams. Shortstops Carlos Correa and Gavin Cecchini. Injured outfielder Victor Roache.

The top offensive players project to be top five picks. There are offensive players who profile in the lower half of the draft. But the area where the Pirates pick is dominated by pitchers.

There’s Kevin Gausman and Kyle Zimmer, two college right-handers who have put up strong numbers this year, while both hitting in the upper 90s and flashing top of the rotation potential. There’s the injured Lucas Giolito, the top prep pitching prospect who would have gone number two overall before his UCL injury.

Those three pitchers could still go in the top seven. Throw in Mark Appel, and my top seven consists of guys mentioned above, with Zunino, Marrero, Buxton, Gausman, Zimmer, and Giolito in the mix, in no specific order.

We’re about two and a half months away from the draft, so a lot can change. I feel like I say that every week, and every week we keep adding a name to the list. But the last two names we’ve added have been pitchers: Gausman and Zimmer. That’s not a bad thing. I’m sure if the Pirates landed one of these guys in June, there would be some groans about taking another pitcher, and the lack of power hitters in the organization. But you win with pitching, and pitching is a game of attrition.

The Pirates have a few guys who profile as top of the rotation starters, but that doesn’t mean they’ll have a few top of the rotation starters a few years from now. If just one of Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Luis Heredia, and Stetson Allie lives up to their potential, that would be a good result. If two become aces, that would be a huge bonus. So if the Pirates see themselves in a situation where they can add another guy to the mix, increasing their chances of eventually having multiple top of the rotation guys in the majors one day, they can’t pass that up. And from the early looks at this draft, it seems more likely that they’ll have a top pitcher fall to them than a top position player.

STATS

Mark Appel - OFF

Chris Beck - 7.2 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, 1 HR, W (3-2)

Kevin Gausman - 8.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 11 K, 0 HR, ND

Kyle Zimmer – 9.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 11 K, 0 HR, W (1-1)

Deven Marrero - 4-for-17 (.235), 5 R, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 SB, 0 K, 2 BB

Mike Zunino - 3-for-9 (.333), 2 R, 3 RBI, 1 SB, 1 K, 4 BB

Trey Williams – 2-for-5 (.400), 3 R, 1 RBI, 1 K, 3 BB

NOTES

-Kyle Zimmer was 94-96 MPH, topping out at 97 in his start against Hawaii. (via Kendall Rogers)

-Kevin Gausman was hitting 95-97 MPH early in the game, and was 94-95 late in the game. (via Kendall Rogers)

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

-Mike Zunino and Florida play a game on Tuesday, then start their weekend schedule against South Carolina a day early on Thursday.

-Deven Marrero and Arizona State play a game on Wednesday.

-Trey Williams and Valencia high school play a game on Wednesday.

Tim Williams

Author: 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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  • http://twitter.com/rinsana11 Ross

    has Lance McCullers Jr. pretty much fallen off the face of the earth??? for ALONG TIME he was said to be the best prospect for the draft and now i rarely ever hear about him. and it sure looks like as of right now, the top 8 guys are going to be rounded out by (in not particular order) Appel, Buxton, Giolito, Marerro, Zunino, Gausman, Trey Williams, Beck as of right now

  • Pittcat90

    If Giolito were to somehow fall to the Pirates, anyone who groans about taking another pitcher is a total fool.

  • salempirate

    Roache available when the Bucs pick, is he drafted for well below slot?

    • http://twitter.com/rinsana11 Ross

      roache is going to fall because of his season ending surgery…..so he will be way above slot. tim whats your opinion?

  • http://nctaxpro.wordpress.com Mike Emeigh

    If Correa is available when the Pirates draft, and they don’t take him, they’re absolute idiots. He’s everything that Sano is supposed to be.

    • szielinski

      I recall Mike E. wanted the Pirates to select Eric Hosmer instead of Pedro Alvarez. For him, the right choice did not need hindsight, though El Toro could rebound this year. His player preferences are always backed up with knowledge and baseball sense.

      I’d be upset if the Pirates passed over Correa, especially if they took another pitcher or took an iffy college shortstop like Marerro. We’ll see in a few months.

  • szielinski

    Cliche:

    “But you win with pitching, and pitching is a game of attrition.”

    Reality:

    Teams win championships by consistently outscoring their opponents. This requires offensive production as well as pitching production. Championship teams typically have both although in some cases a championship winner may be a pitching dominant team.

    • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

      The “outscoring their opponents” is a “glass half full/glass half empty” situation. You could either say “outscoring their opponents” or you could say “giving up fewer runs than their opponents”. Either one is right. But one implies offense is important. The other implies pitching is important.
      I think if you look throughout history, the teams with pitching have had more success than the teams that were built on offense. I think last year showed that you get further with pitching and no offense than you do with offense and no pitching. In fact, just look at Texas. For years they went for the “outscore your opponents” approach. Now they’re focusing more on pitching, and having a lot of success.

      Championship teams do often have both. But pitching is a game of attrition, so you can’t just grab 2-3 potential top of the rotation guys and say you’re set. That’s my point.

      • szielinski

         Championship winners must have pitching. Even the 27 Yankees had pitching! My point: Contenders must be middling to strong in both.

        The Phillies last year had one of the greatest starting rotations in baseball history. Yet… It’s not as though the Phillies’ offensive production was poor. But it was weak enough that it failed to produce enough when facing a suspect St. Louis pitching staff.

        Teams need to build strong offenses and defenses. Being dominant in one entails ceding too much to the opposition.