The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted a familiar face in the 23rd round when they took right handed pitcher Jordan Cooper. Cooper was originally selected in the 17th round of the 2009 draft by the Pirates, but ended up honoring his commitment to the University of Kentucky. Baseball America rated him as the 12th best prospect in Kentucky this year. He struggled this year in the Kentucky rotation as a weekend starter, but saw his success return with an 89-94 MPH sinker pitching in mid-week games. He also throws a hard slider and a solid changeup. He’s a sophomore, so he’ll have leverage, as he can re-enter the draft two more times.
Alex Fuselier, CF, 21st Round
Fuselier put up good numbers in his college career, highlighted by a good amount of stolen bases. He saw a spike in his power in 2011, mostly from extra base hits, which is notable considering the new bats. He also pitched some in college. He’s a good all around athlete, with a good arm, but will likely serve as an organizational guy in the Pirates system.
Michael Jefferson, LHP, 22nd Round
Jefferson was the ace of the Louisiana Tech staff, putting up a 3.56 ERA and a 70:46 K/BB ratio in his senior year. He ranks as the 32nd best prospect out of Louisiana. He has a 90-91 MPH fastball, along with a curveball which is a quality pitch. He struggles with control problems, and struggled giving up the long ball until 2011, which might have to do with the new bats. He was drafted by the Mets in 2010 in the 46th round, but returned to school for his senior year. He will likely sign quickly as a college senior.
Jordan Cooper, RHP, 23rd Round
The Pirates also drafted Cooper in the 17th round in 2009, but he chose to attend Kentucky. He’s eligible for the draft now as a sophomore, so he’ll have more than the usual leverage in deciding whether to sign. He must be willing to consider it, though, because the Pirates couldn’t have re-drafted him without his written permission.
Cooper had a difficult year at Kentucky, pitching like an early round pick at times, but struggling badly at others. In his better starts his sinker ranged from 89-94, and he had an effective slider and change. In his bad starts his velocity dropped at the upper end and his command wasn’t there. He had inconsistent velocity in high school as well. The Pirates could be hoping they can get him straightened out.
Brian Sharp, SS, 24th Round
Sharp is a junior out of California Baptist, and looks like he could be this year’s Adalberto Santos. Sharp has displayed good hitting skills, with pop in his bat and decent speed, stealing 30+ bases in each of the last two seasons, along with double digit homers. He’s been playing younger competition, as he’s 23 years old. Part of the reason he is so much older than other college players is because he didn’t play ball for two years after graduating college. He doesn’t profile as a shortstop in the pros, and will likely move elsewhere. He should provide some depth in A-ball, and could be a bit of a surprise if he manages to hit in pro ball like he hit in college, which would be similar to what Santos did last year.
Josh Martin, RHP, 25th Round
Martin really improved his numbers this year, putting up a 2.76 ERA in 58.2 innings, along with a .275 BAA, which was the first time he’s been under .300 in his career. He’s listed as a hard thrower, and should serve as a bullpen arm in the lower levels if he signs.