Pirates Draft Connor Joe With the 39th Overall Pick

With the 39th pick in the 2014 draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Connor Joe. This was the pick the Pirates acquired for Bryan Morris. Just like with their first pick, the Pirates are going against the consensus rankings. Joe is ranked pretty low, being ranked 102nd by Baseball America, 110th by, and unranked by Keith Law in his top 100. had him the highest, at number 92.

One thing to point out is that, while guys like Jacob Gatewood or Monte Harrison look like much better picks now, they’re still on the board. However, it’s unlikely that either will be there when the Pirates pick at 64 in the second round.

Joe has a line drive stroke, hitting to all fields, and hitting a lot of doubles. Baseball America says he projects as a “solid-average to above-average hitter”, and has a chance for average right-handed power. He’s 6′ 0″, 205 pounds, and is listed as a catcher, first baseman, and outfielder. His best value would be if he sticks behind the plate, although he’d be a project there. He does have an average or better arm and a quick release, but needs work with his other skills.

Joe hit .367 (80-for-218) with 21 doubles, two triples, and nine home runs in 53 games during his junior year at the University of San Diego this past season.

It will be interesting to see where the Pirates view him in the long-term. They have Reese McGuire ahead of him if he becomes a catcher. If he goes the first base route, he’d have an easier path. However, he doesn’t project to hit for the power you’d want to see from a first baseman.

Neal Huntington will be holding another conference call with the media after the second round picks, and I’ll have more on Joe in tonight’s recap.

UPDATE 11:15 PM: Connor Joe’s player page.

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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, 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.

Pirates Draft Shortstop Cole Tucker With the 24th Overall Pick

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Pirates Draft RHP Mitch Keller in the Second Round

  • jschwartz

    There goes Gatewood…. to the Brewers!

  • derekbellstutu

    Is Connor Joe gonna be a catcher in the Pirates system? A lot of depth at the backstop position. Could a catching prospect be on the move to NYM or at the deadline?

    • coloneldickweed

      mets will be getting a pitcher

    • WTM

      They announced him as an outfielder. They usually announce the position they intend the guy to play.

      • Lee Young

        did we need more OFers or Catchers?

        I know…who knows what our depth will be in 3-5 years.

  • R Edwards

    Where was this guy rated on most top 100-150 lists?

  • R Edwards

    Rated #110 on a top 200 list on the web site – listed as a catcher, who also played some OF and 1B. Curious pick, given we don’t need another catcher prospect. He seems a little short for 1B (6’0″), so I don’t get this pick.

  • Lee Young

    my first thought, too.

  • tripleplay24

    this is terrible these guys aren’t even ranked, unbielievable

  • Lee Young

    Maybe Reese IS the PTBNL?

    All reports I read is that Joe excelled in the Cape Cod League as a Catcher.

    • coloneldickweed

      Reese McGuire in a deal for Ike Davis? Come on, son. It’s a P in the lower 25th percentile of Sickels’ top 20 prospects list. Let’s not go overboard.

  • tripleplay24

    well they didn’t do anything to strengthen their minor league

  • R Edwards

    Far cry from the excitement of last year, when we landed Meadows and McGuire. These kids could end up being players, but right now this feels like a huge letdown. I predict our system will not be rated #1 next year.

    • PikeBishop65

      I hate to be negative, and let’s remember people who get paid to do this are making these decisions not us, but this is shaping up to be another 1998 draft!

  • Lee Young

    After spending his first two college seasons at first base, Joe made the move behind the plate during the summer in the Cape Cod League and was named an All-Star in the elite summer college circuit. During his junior year, Joe saw some time behind the plate for the Toreros, while also playing first base and right field. He has the skills to stick as a backstop, with a solid average arm and quick release. He’s very athletic and runs well for a catcher or first baseman. He doesn’t get cheated at the plate, and his combination of bat speed and strength should mean he hits for average and some power at the next level. Joe’s value obviously is higher if he’s behind the plate, and the team that believes he can develop there will take him in the first few rounds.

  • Ecbucs

    He is to replace Gaby Sanchez

  • pitwalker18


  • LongJohnSilver

    I am totally puzzled by both picks. Every time we have drafted going against the census, we failed miserably.

  • http://@gwbicster gwbicster

    What about the possibility that he could be groomed as a 3B? Has a strong arm, corner IF guy, I think it might be doable.

    I like that they are taking line drive high average guys over power guys. I think that is what suits our ballpark and what we need to improve.

  • David Swank

    Neal Huntington once claimed Bryce Harper wasn’t in their top ten. He honestly said that. That statement makes almost as much sense as claiming these two guys were their best available. The Pirates unearned arrogance has irked me for the past decade. So when they pull these types of draft stunts that reek of thinking they’re smarter than they really seem to be, it bothers me to no end.

    • JoseGuillensArm

      This is laughable, to say that Neil is making these picks out of arrogance is just nonsense. Is your idea that he is brazenly disregarding the rankings posted on in order to make himself look better when they pan out? There has been months and months of scouting, evaluating, and planning put into this draft. A board has been constructed based on the PIRATES work not the work of others. These men have earned some respect based on their track record alone so instead of bashing every pick why don’t we take a step back and give these players more of a look than a simple google search and the 20 seconds they spend on each guy on mlb network.

      • David Swank

        What track record is that, exactly? Gerritt Cole and a yet unproven at the mlb level Polanco? I guess you could throw Alvarez in there too. The rest, thus far (draft pick-wise), are unproven.

        And I haven’t “bashed every pick” but I can certainly be critical of an organization that has caught lightning in a bottle for one season and now we’re supposed to believe they’re somehow smarter than everyone else? Maybe they are, but history suggests they aren’t.

        Perhaps in a few years if we have Taillion, Glasnow, Henson, Bell or whomever contributing at the mlb level (or some assets acquired by dealing them), then they’ll build some real trust equity with me. Until then, it all looks good according to lists and so-called experts only. The same kind of so-called experts who rate the draft.

        • JoseGuillensArm

          Well based on your logic the only success we can attribute to this FO is the couple college first rounders who flew through the minors? Those were no brainer picks and they have panned out, but that’s not where this management team has earned the respect that has made them widely regarded as a top farm system. Those picks are the glasnows, kinghams, Sampsons who were relative unknowns, like these early picks, that have turned into productive, projectible future pieces. There are many other examples that are either looking like depth pieces or trade assets which also favor the FO.
          The Latin American guys can largely be attributed to Rene Gayo so I wouldn’t even give Neil that credit but even without those big names there is no lack of talent in the minors that can be expected to contribute someday.
          There is no lightning in a bottle, one year fluke going on here it is a systemic reformation of a club that was left in ruins by previous management. That’s not to say they are so much smarter than any other management team but they have consistently shown that they are entirely capable of running a successful team.

          • David Swank

            Yeah, that’s my logic. Until I see players other than the no-brainers producing at the mlb level (it has been 7 years), I think it’s perfectly normal to be critical of an organization that displays a public persona of having it all figured out. And I’m not just talking about drafting, but the team’s arrogance about virtually all aspects of running an mlb team (really too numerous to mention here via iPhone).

            Neal has obviously improved upon his predecessors’ dreadful drafting insomuch that he at least drafts the no-brainers. For various reasons the two guys before him couldn’t even get that right (usually). But he hasn’t proven that by going off script he can deliver results. Look at the 2009 draft strategy, for example.

            I’m not saying Neal is a fool or cannot run a mlb franchise. But to proclaim that Cole Tucker is the highest on your board at 24th overall seems foolish to many, many, people who also know a thing or two about player development and I tend to value their cumulative opinions over that of Neal’s until some of these strategic picks blossom into actual mlb players. I think that’s fair after 7 drafts.

            • freddylang

              They said Sanchez was #1 on their board too…in a draft with Trout and others I won’t get into…so yes, I agree they are arrogant…a lot. I don’t even have an issue with the arrogance…it is just the fact that they think people believe them when they say things about Sanchez, Bryce Harper, and this year’s #1…there is an Avalanche of information out there…you look like a fool when you try to tell us something we all know is false. I don’t know where we’d all be without this front office fixing the system and franchise. hey have done a mostly very good job. Just quit acting like ceos and politicians and tell us the truth of what you are doing…because we all know.

        • leowalter

          David,what is YOUR track record in talent evaluation ?……that’s what I thought.

          • SteveW

            David has no track record AND no logic. No-one can evaluate any draft for at least five years.

  • Monsoon Harvard

    I guess Huntington doesn’t even read the rankings.
    We always used to have a couple owners in fantasy leagues that draft like this, and they would make early round picks of guys they could have easily gotten in much later rounds. All the other owners act cool and say “good pick” but on the inside they are screaming “Thank you!…what a bonehead”.

    • coloneldickweed

      Really comparing apples to apples there!

      • SteveW

        What an idiotic comment, Monsoon.

  • moose7195

    Hard to see this draft ending well now. Has the real Neal Huntington been kidnapped and replaced with Dave Littlefield? Or has Nutting been Jerry Jones-ing things this year?

    • pilbobuggins

      I case you folks have forgotten the pirates have one of if not the best farm,you do not get there by being stupid, I think I will give them the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.

      • moose7195

        I don’t know. You see one questionable call, and you chalk it up to the benefit of the doubt. Then they make another one you have trouble understanding, and that one too will eventually be categorized under “benefit of the doubt”. Then you see a 3rd, then a 4th, and now this, and suddenly it gets too depressing to think of anything except about how they became 20 year losers, and how this is eerily looking like deja vu. I know I’m exaggerating, and I know I’m sounding like a lonley libertarian, but tonight was certainly a letdown in my opinion. I expected better from this FO, and most the time, taking guys with your first two pick when those two guys would’ve almost certainly been there with your 3rd and 4th picks is a bad decision.

      • JoseGuillensArm

        But it’s so much easier to see who the best available is in the convienient box located on the screen and scream when the Pirates don’t take that guy. Don’t you know how the draft works?!

  • pilbobuggins

    Looks like the bucs just drafted the next josh harrison.

  • moose7195

    Well…I haven’t seen it asked yet, so I’ll pretend that I’m the first to do so: About where do these two rank in the prospect rankings? Any chance either of these guys make the top 15, Mr. Williams?

    • freddylang

      I would give the ss the benefit of the doubt and put him around 12-14. I doubt the Joe kid would crack the top 20 right now but he may fit in around 19 or 20 depending on who you ask. I feel like if Keller signs quick and pitches really well he could end up ending this summer as the Bucs highest rated prospect from this draft.

  • pilbobuggins

    Betcha a dollar the bucs take a pitcher at 64.

  • pilbobuggins

    All of you owe me a dollar, I will wait by the mailbox while holding my breath.

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