At this point in the draft, you don’t see many guys sign. The college seniors will definitely sign, but JuCo guys and most college juniors will go back to school. Last year the Pirates only signed one guy after the 30th round, and that was 37th round pick Andrew Dennis. That signing might not have happened had it not been for the retirement of 15th round pick Max Rossiter, who like Dennis, was also a catcher.
The big surprise with this group was Colin Welmon, who Baseball America had rated as the 174th best prospect in the draft. It’s a surprise that he fell this far with that kind of profile, so there might be some signability concerns. He doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but has a good mix of pitches, and seems to know how to pitch. Baseball America said he could be a back of the rotation starter, which is amazing value at this point in the draft. They also said he could be a 4th-6th rounder, which makes it unlikely that he would sign for 34th round money. If he is signable, it would probably take some bonus pool money, as 4th-6th round money is $200-400 K, and anything above $100 K counts towards the bonus pool. – Tim Williams
31st Round, 941st Overall: Luis Paula, RHP, UNC
Paula has seen very limited time on the mound during his three seasons at North Carolina and struggled badly as a sophomore. He is a tall right-handed pitcher, so he fits the Pirates mold. Paula pitched well in Summer League ball after his freshman season, but didn’t fare as well in the Cape Cod League after his sophomore year. He showed some improvements in his junior year and he has had a strong strikeout rate at North Carolina. Coming out of high school, he touched low 90′s with his fastball and had an advanced feel for his slider. He has touched 95 MPH in college, but that hasn’t translated to any success yet. He could be a sleeper pick late in the draft or he may wind up going back to school to try to improve his draft stock. – John Dreker
32nd Round, 971st Overall: Montana DuRapau, RHP, Bethune-Cookman
DuRapau is a small righty who put up outstanding numbers his last two years at Bethune-Cookman. He doesn’t overpower anybody, but instead relies on locating and mixing his pitches. He throws four pitches, including a fastball that only reaches 88. As a senior DuRapau figures to sign quickly. He’ll likely be an organizational pitcher. – Wilbur Miller
33rd Round, 1001st Overall: Zach Lewis, RHP, Wabash Valley College
Lewis is a big right-handed pitcher who sits 87-88 MPH with his fastball, touching 90. He pitches off his fastball, but also throws a changeup in the upper 70s, and a curveball in the low-to-mid 70s. Lewis had some great numbers pitching for Wabash Valley, posting a 1.84 ERA in 88 innings, with 93 strikeouts. He had a low 0.88 WHIP, thanks to great control. Lewis has a lot of options as a JuCo player. He could return for another year at Wabash and improve his stock, or he could try to catch on with a Division I college and re-enter the draft after his junior year. For that reason, he might be a hard guy to sign. – Tim Williams
34th Round, 1031st Overall: Colin Welmon, RHP, Loyola Marymount University
Welmon was taken in the 34th round of the 2014 draft, and he was the 17th right-handed pitcher the Pirates took up to that point. He doesn’t have any plus pitches, but he throws four pitches for strikes and has an advanced feel for pitching. Welmon hits low-90′s with his fastball and uses his slider, curve and change-up to keep hitters guessing. He has started for three seasons at Loyola and improved each year. Assuming he signs this late in the draft, he should be a solid starter in the pros with a decent chance to advance far. He was ranked 174th overall by Baseball America. – John Dreker
35th Round, 1061st Overall: Chris Eades, RHP, Delgado College
The Pirates drafted Eades out of Delgado Community College in Louisiana, where he was in his second year. Eades was listed at the school’s web site as a catcher and pitcher, but he didn’t pitch at all in 2014. In fact, he was one of the team’s best hitters, with good power. The Pirates, however, announced him as a pitcher. I don’t know whether he pitched in 2013 and I can’t find any information about him as a pitcher. As of mid-May, he hadn’t signed on with a four-year school, so the Pirates may be able to sign him. – Wilbur MillerPirates Prospects is FREE today in honor of the Wild Card game. You get special access to all of our content, which is typically reserved only for subscribers. We cover the Pirates 365 days a year, with live coverage all throughout the playoffs, and off-season coverage of the minor league players in the Arizona Fall League and Winter Leagues. During the season we average well over 6 articles per day on the Pirates. This is the best stop if you're a hardcore Pirates fan, and the subscription prices are very low.
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