According to Rob Biertempfel, the Pittsburgh Pirates have lost top scout Mike Leuzinger, the man who signed Josh Bell in 2011. Leuzinger turned down a contract offer and left the organization. He noted that it stung when the Pirates refused the Yankees permission to interview him, and that the losing was wearing on him.
I’m currently working on the 2013 Prospect Guide, which includes the signing scout of every player. Leuzinger was one of the scouts that really stood out, mostly due to the players he has signed. Aside from Bell, Leuzinger has brought in the following players:
Biertempfel also notes that Leuzinger signed Matt Kemp and Andy LaRoche while with the Dodgers. Leuzinger was an area scout with the Pirates, covering North Texas and Oklahoma. Based on the list of names above, his loss will be a blow to the Pirates’ draft scouting. You could argue that the names above are some of the best players to emerge from each draft.
**He signed two of the top guys who remain from the 2007 draft (which is currently a list populated by 3-4 names), bringing in Watson and Welker.
**Aside from Pedro Alvarez, Robbie Grossman was the next best prospect from the 2008 draft.
**Vic Black is currently standing out as one of the top guys from the 2009 draft, if not the top guy. Ryan Beckman (18th round) has also emerged from that draft as an interesting relief pitching prospect.
**Matt Curry (16th round) and Casey Sadler (25th round) are two later round picks from the 2010 draft who have become prospects. Both players would rank in the top five prospects from that draft.
**Josh Bell and Colten Brewer are two of the top prospects from the 2011 draft. All of the guys I just pointed out got at least one vote in next year’s top 50 prospects list (with the obvious exceptions of Watson and Grossman).
UPDATE: Forgot about Colton Cain, who was also signed by Leuzinger. So that’s two-thirds of the trade that acquired Wandy Rodriguez (Grossman and Cain), and Cain is probably the best prep pitcher from the 2009 group.