Almost every draft article I’ve written has started with something along the lines of “the following changes have been made this year due to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement”. The new CBA changed a lot about the draft. For day three, it removed the final ten rounds.
That’s not a huge loss. The Pirates haven’t drafted a ton of people in rounds 41-50 over the last few years. The only guys still in the system are Jonathan Schwind, Bryton Trepagnier, Logan Pevny, and Zach Foster. And non-drafted free agent deals are still allowed, so players who normally went in the 41-50 range could still end up on a team.
In previous years, most of the over-slot spending by the Pirates has come in the top 15 rounds. However, they did take a few significant over-slot picks after round 15, with guys like Quinton Miller in 2008, and Ryan Hafner and Jared LaKind in 2010. They will have a hard time going over slot on day three this year, with only $100,000 to spend until the player counts against the total bonus pool. But that doesn’t mean the Pirates can’t find some sleepers.
Here are some of the notable picks from rounds 16-40 that the Pirates have made in the last few years.
Josh Poytress, LHP, 18th Round
Matt Benedict, RHP, 30th Round
Both pitchers are having good 2012 seasons, although each will need to have success in Double-A before really justifying their spot on this list.
Matt Curry, 1B, 16th Round
Adalberto Santos, OF, 22nd Round
Casey Sadler, RHP, 25th Round
Curry and Santos are both hitting in Double-A. Santos had surprising numbers before a knee injury. Curry has been off and on, showing some signs of power. Sadler has been an impressive relief prospect in West Virginia.
Ryan Beckman, RHP, 18th Round
Phil Irwin, RHP, 21st Round
Zac Fuesser, LHP, 34th Round
The main guy here is Phil Irwin, who has moved up and has had some success in the Altoona rotation. He’s got a shot at being a number five starter in the majors one day, although his best bet of making it is in relief.
Jarek Cunningham, SS, 18th round
Cunningham was a notable pick, but he signed for $100,000, which means he wouldn’t have hurt the Pirates under the new rules. He’s been held back by injuries, but has a lot of power for a middle infielder, and is age appropriate for his current level, which is Double-A.
It’s hard to predict who could be more than just an organizational guy on draft day. For example, this is what I had to say about three of the top guys from above once they signed:
Curry, a first baseman, was rated the #65 prospect in the state of Texas by Baseball America. He displayed some power in his senior year at TCU, with 17 homers in 218 at-bats, along with 12 stolen bases and a .353 average. Curry also hit 26 doubles, which could be a sign of future power potential. Curry was responsible for some heroics in the CWS, hitting a grand slam in the eighth inning against Florida State, giving TCU a 9-7 lead in a game that they would go on to win 11-7. TCU was eliminated by UCLA two games later in the semi-finals.
Santos, a senior out of Oregon State, hit for a .336 average with 10 homers and 20 steals in 217 at-bats in 2010. Santos was drafted as a second baseman, although he has been assigned to State College and is listed as an outfielder.
Irwin was a starter for Ole Miss, along with fifth round pick Nathan Baker. Irwin had a 3.84 ERA last year with a 73:20 K/BB ratio in 86.2 IP.
Basically the key trend was strong numbers in each case, and that’s about it.
With that in mind, one guy to keep an eye on today is Raph Rhymes. The Pirates drafted him last year in the late rounds, but he decided to retur to LSU for his senior year. That paid off, as he hit for a .469 average to lead the nation. Baseball America ranked him number 241 in the draft, and he wouldn’t be a bad guy to go after early on day three, assuming he signed the consent form for the Pirates to draft him again.
As for the rest of day three, check back at noon for regular updates. We will be uploading player pages for each pick to the site as the picks are made, and picks will be broken down on the site in groups of five, starting after round number 20. You can also follow me on Twitter @timwilliamsP2 to get regular updates on what is happening in the draft.