The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted right-handed pitcher Ryan Valdes in the 33rd round in the 2017 draft. He was a 23-year-old (turned 24 in August) fifth year college player, who wasn't the typical pitcher you see the Pirates draft. With almost every older player selected, there is a back story of why they got attention later in their career and Valdes fits that mold perfectly.
The first thing that stands out with Valdes is that he doesn't stand out. The Pirates seem to stockpile right-handed pitchers who are somewhere between 6'3" and 6'4" each year in the draft. In the land of tall pitchers, Valdes is just 5'11", 185 pounds, which is small by baseball standards. You will find the occasional pitch under 6'0" in the system, including another late round draft pick who is a favorite for many...
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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.