Day three is much more hectic than days one and two. You have all the time in the world on day one, with five minutes between first round picks. On day two you have a little less time, but the rounds don’t fly by. Day three is crazy. By the time you just start getting information on the previous round’s pick, a new pick is made. John Dreker, Wilbur Miller and I were splitting the coverage duties today, rotating between rounds. The side effect of that is that we each only got to see a third of the draft picks. I read all of the write ups for the articles on the main part of the site, but I didn’t do all of the research John and Wilbur did on each pick to get those write ups.
The end result is that we each know a third of the day three picks. So we decided to pick three players each that stood out to us, out of the players we covered. Below you will find the links to all of the round-by-round coverage (or five round by five round coverage). We also look at our three favorite picks, and why we like those nine players more than the 21 other players who were drafted today. Note that not all of these players will sign. In fact, a lot of the guys who have the highest upsides will probably opt to go to college, mostly because they went so low in the draft this time around.
Tyler Filliben, SS - Filliben missed most of two seasons with a wrist injury. He tried playing through the injury in 2012, but saw his numbers struggle and eventually had surgery. After a setback and another surgery, he missed the 2013 season. In 2014 he returned to put up a .293/.374/.498 line in 205 at-bats, hitting eight homers in the process. If that’s an indication of what he can do when healthy, then the Pirates may have gotten an interesting college hitter. He was drafted as a shortstop, but his lack of range makes him more likely to be a third baseman. Baseball America had him as the 320th best prospect. I like the potential to be a third baseman with some power. He’s not going to be blocked by many people if that is his path.
Carl Anderson, CF - This is another interesting college hitter, and in this case, it’s mostly due to the speed. Anderson has 56 stolen bases in 64 attempts in his three years at Bryant University, including 31 in 34 attempts in 2014. He also saw a boost in his power production this year, hitting seven homers in 225 at-bats, and putting up a .169 ISO. He’s got a lot of solid tools, and the ability to play center field with his speed. If the power he showed this year is legit, then the Pirates have another college hitter who could be more than just a lower level filler.
Denis Karas, 3B - Karas is going to be hard to sign, as he’s a prep player with a commitment to Cal University. The coaches there seem to be very high on him, praising his power and offensive potential. He’s got the arm strength to play at third base, with the Cal coaches considering him as a pitcher as well. Just like with Filliben, Karas won’t have much competition in the Pirates system as a third baseman with power. He’s probably going to require a bonus above the $100,000 limit if he signs, which means the Pirates would need to clear some slot money to get him in the system.
Gage Hinsz, RHP - It looked like the Pirates were going to go with a lot of upside picks on the third day when they started off with Hinsz, but that didn’t last long. He was easily my favorite pick of the 12 players I wrote up, and a quick glance at the other picks still had my feeling he was the best pick. Will they be able to sign him is a question for another day. Hinsz offers a low 90′s fastball from an easy delivery and he throws on a downhill plane. He has good size, but should still fill out more like almost every other high school pitcher. He also fills up the strike zone already. Once you realize that he is from Montana and didn’t have a high school baseball team, you see a raw pitcher that has huge possibilities and tons of upside. In the entire draft, he is probably my fourth favorite pick that the Pirates selected.
Luis Paula, RHP - A rare major college pitcher that still seems to have plenty of projection, Paula could be a late round steal in they can sign him. He can hit 95 MPH with his fastball and his slider has been described as a nasty pitch with plus potential. The results aren’t there yet and except for the solid strikeout rate, his numbers don’t jump out at you. Paula has a strong arm and a good pitcher’s body, so he has all the tools to be a solid pitcher in the pros. I’d like to see him used as a starter to maximize his potential and get more experience. If that doesn’t work, he still has the two-pitch mix to be a solid power reliever.
Tyler Brown, 2B - Brown just screams gritty player to me. He reached base often with a high average and didn’t mind taking a hit-by-pitch if it helped the team. When he got on base, he was a constant threat to steal, swiping 31 bags. He’s a solid second baseman with good size and despite being a college player, he is still just a teenager. That means he still has some room to fill out, add muscle and add some power to his game to make him a well-rounded player that does a little bit of everything. Brown played at a strong high school program, where he was the star player, so he knows how to win. He’s probably going to be tough to sign as a junior college player. He still has the option of being drafted again next year, and even transferring to a four-year college after that, where he could keep working his way up the draft charts.
Paul DeJong, C - This is a tough assignment, because I didn’t like this draft at all. I went into day three thinking that the Pirates would effectively “explain” their frequent overdrafting in the first ten rounds by drafting a number of higher ceiling players on day three, but it never really happened. Like some of Dave Littlefield’s drafts, I’m coming away with the feeling that the priority in this one was to beef up the minor league rosters rather than to find major league talent.
That being said, of the players I wrote up on day three, the only one I affirmatively liked was DeJong. He had a big, breakout year at the plate in 2014 and he seems to have the athleticism to play all over the infield as well as behind the plate, at least at the collegiate level. Of course, he’s very unlikely to sign with the Pirates. As a draft eligible sophomore, he has two more bites at the apple. He can go back to school and hope to generate more buzz than he did this year, and he’ll still have another year of eligibility after that.
Zach Warren, LHP - The only prep lefty the Pirates drafted, Warren doesn’t have good enough stuff currently, but he’s tall and Tulane saw enough to offer him a scholarship. He’s also supposedly a good athlete. The Pirates will have to go over slot to sign him, possibly well over.
John Sever, LHP - I can’t see any of the other players I wrote up as more than organizational players. I’m listing Sever because he’s a tall lefty. Well, that and the fact that he did attract a little attention in the Florida Collegiate Summer League, showing a fastball that got into the 90s, which is good for a lefty. He’s pitched for three different schools in three years, so it’s possible that the Pirates can give him a level of attention he hasn’t had so far and help him develop one or two helpful secondary pitches, which he currently lacks.