2014 Draft

Draft Prospect Watch: What the New Draft Pick Could Mean For Pirates

Draft Prospect Watch: What the New Draft Pick Could Mean For Pirates
John Dreker

The Pittsburgh Pirates traded Bryan Morris to the Miami Marlins for the 39th overall draft pick. The draft pick has a value of $1,457,600, which gives the Pirates a new bonus pool total of $7,063,700. With the Pirates picking 24th overall, we have covered a lot of players that were mentioned at times in their range, but have fallen in the ranks. Some are mentioned below in our NCAA regional tournament coverage.

The new pick is going to give the Pirates another player that has potential first round talent, adding another top prospect to a system that was already rated the best by some sources. This draft is deep enough at the top that you could still get a top college bat, or a high upside prep player. It also means they have more chances to save money in the early rounds to add overslot players after the 11th round when bonuses are capped at $100,000 and anything over counts against your bonus pool. In each of the last two years, the Pirates went overslot with three picks after the tenth round.

This draft now looks like it could add a lot of talent to the system with four picks in the top 73 spots. The last time the Pirates had four picks in the top 73 spots was 1993. The this year picks begin Thursday night and all of the first day picks will be broadcast live on the MLB Network and covered here as they are announced.

Saturday’s Coverage

In yesterday’s article, we covered the first day of the NCAA Regionals and gave some predictions of where the top players could end up in the draft. Today, we cover the action from the second day of the tournament for these same players.

Luke Weaver made his start of Saturday and lost to Alabama. He went five innings, giving up three runs(one earned) on five hits and a walk, with four strikeouts. He only went five because his pitch count was up to 90 at that point. Weaver might fall out of the first round, as he has been rated in the back-end of the round all year, though that still puts him in the Pirates range with the new pick.

Luke Weaver could now be an option for the Pirates with their new pick - Image Credit: Florida State University

Luke Weaver could now be an option for the Pirates with their new pick – Image Credit: Florida State University

Power-hitting A.J. Reed got his start on the mound and showed why he is the best two-way player in the nation and a probably first round pick. He threw a complete game over Kent State in a 4-2 win. Reed allowed nine hits, didn’t walk a batter and had three strikeouts. He went 1-for-4 at the plate, hitting his 18th double and driving in his 71st run.

Louisville closer Nick Burdi faced two batters in the ninth to pick up the save over Kansas. He walked one and retired the other. He was hitting 99 MPH according to scouts at the game. Burdi has hit triple digits numerous times this season and looks like a first round pick, though it’s doubtful the Pirates would use a top pick on a reliever.

The Indiana and Stanford game brought together three bats that we have mentioned here often. Indiana catcher Kyle Schwarber and Stanford third baseman Alex Blandino have been linked to the Pirates numerous times recently. Indiana first baseman Sam Travis is a big power bat that could be around for the Pirates in the second round and he had the big game on Saturday. Travis went 3-for-5 with his 13th homer and drove in two runs in Indiana’s 4-2 victory. Blandino went 1-for-3 with a walk and run scored, while Schwarber was 1-for-4 with a walk and RBI.

Virginia defeated Arkansas 3-0 on Saturday. First baseman Mike Papi was 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs, while left fielder Derek Fisher went 1-for-3 with a walk. Closer Nick Howard picked up the save with a scoreless ninth. All three are potential first round picks, though Papi will probably last a little longer and could be an option with the 39th pick.

Kennesaw State catcher Max Pentecost had a huge game in his team’s 13-5 win over Georgia Southern in 11 innings. He went 4-for-5 with two walks, hitting his 22nd double and driving in two runs. Pentecost has been mentioned in the Pirates range this year, but recently he has been higher and his hitting during the tournament could push him even further up the charts.

UC Irvine took on Oregon State and the game became a little more interesting with the new draft pick. UC Irvine Taylor Sparks has been mentioned often just outside of the first round. He went 2-for-4 with a homer and three runs scored. Oregon State’s big bat Michael Conforto, will be gone before the Pirates pick. His teammate, outfielder Dylan Davis, could be a second round option though. Conforto was 0-for-3 with a walk, while Davis was 1-for-3 with a walk.

South Carolina third baseman Joey Pankake went 0-for-4 with a walk and run scored and catcher Grayson Greiner was 0-for-2 with a walk and sacrifice bunt in their team’s 4-3 loss to Maryland. Both players are potential 2nd/3rd round picks.

Two more names to remember after the first round are third baseman Matt Chapman and 1B/OF/P J.D. Davis from Cal State Fullerton. Against Oklahoma State on Saturday, Chapman went 2-for-3 with two walks, a double and two RBIs. Davis was 2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. Chapman has been rated by some sources as the best defensive player in college.

LSU’s Aaron Nola allowed one run over 7.1 innings against Houston. He will be a top ten pick this year. LSU third baseman Christian Ibarra went 2-for-3 with a walk and run scored. He was drafted by the Pirates last year, but returned for his senior season.

Pepperdine’s Aaron Brown went eight innings in a win over Cal Poly. He gave up just one unearned run, allowing three hits and four walks, with four strikeouts. The 2011 pick of the Pirates went 1-for-4 at the plate.

2014 Draft
John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

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