Rounds 26-30: Pirates Take A Potential Late Inning Reliever

When you get to this point in the draft, you’re looking for one of three things. Good tools, good stats, or a good name. The Pirates got that last part covered when they took Jake Post in the 29th round. They got the guy with good tools in the 27th round, taking Jake Johansen. However, Johansen didn’t come with the stats.

The Dallas Baptist right hander is a familiar story: great stuff, no control. He’s 6′ 6″, 235 pounds, and can touch 97 MPH with his fastball, while throwing a sharp slider which is a plus offering at times. He’s got the potential to be a late inning reliever if he can iron out the control issues. Part of that is getting used to pitching with his big frame, as he’s a bit raw in that area. The Pirates have done well to get these types of guys worked out. The big success story is Duke Welker this year, although there are other examples that are similar to Johansen, such as 2010 21st round pick Jason Townsend. That makes Johansen an interesting guy to watch if he signs.

Here are the reports for each player taken in rounds 26-30. Click their names to go to their player pages.

26th Round, 796th Overall: Jimmy Rider, 2B, Kent State

Rider was a four-year starter at Kent State and is the school’s all-time leader in hits.  He came back from a down junior year to have very strong senior season.  He appears to have some gap power but apparently not great speed.  Rider played short at Kent State but the Pirates announced him as a second baseman.  That may be attributable to his size.  He’s never previously been drafted.  As a senior, he’s likely to sign.

27th Round, 826th Overall: Jake Johansen, RHP, Dallas Baptist

Johansen has a great arm, throwing 93-95 MPH, and touching 97 with his fastball, which has arm side run. He throws a sharp slider with a lot of late movement, which is used as a strikeout pitch. The pitch is inconsistent, but is a plus pitch when it is on. His big issue has been command, and trying to pitch with his big 6′ 6″, 235 pound frame. If he can iron out the command issues, he could be a late inning relief prospect. Johansen comes from the same school as 2009 compensation round pick Victor Black, who also was drafted with command issues.

28th Round, 856th Overall, Thomas Mirabelli, 2B, Prep

Mirabelli was drafted out of St. Edward high school, which is the same school that Stetson Allie came from. He is the son of Cleveland Indians Vice President John Mirabelli. He’s a leadoff hitter and a strong middle infielder, playing mostly shortstop, although he’s small, at 5′ 6″, 132 pounds. He hit .450 as a senior. Mirabelli has a commitment to Kansas.

29th Round, 886th Overall, Jake Post, RHP, Prep

Post throws his fastball in the 86-87 MPH range, with good movement. He has the makings of a good breaking pitch. He gets a lot of strikeouts, including 19 in eight innings in a start during the 2011 season. It’s fitting that the start came against a team called the Pirates. Post has a commitment to Ohio State, and might be a tough sign, as he’d probably benefit from three years in college to improve his breaking ball and increase his fastball velocity.

30th Round, 916th Overall, Chase McDowell, RHP, Rice

McDowell hasn’t pitched much at Rice as a result of having Tommy John surgery in 2011.  Another factor in 2012 may have been a very deep Rice staff.  Before the injury his velocity had gotten into the low 90s.  He also throws a curve and change.  McDowell is also a backup outfielder and DH for the Owls.  As a junior, he may want to go back and try to have a healthy senior year.

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Steve Stempfer

I’ve been fortunate enough to see a number of these Pirates
draft picks play in college over the last few seasons… Jimmy Rider is very much a David Eckstein
type player. He has no stand out tools
but gets the most of what ability he has.
One area of the college game where you see the biggest drop off from the
pro game is at SS. Most of the players
you see there (Rider included) really don’t have the ability to make the long
throws from deep in the hole and a lot really lack the range. Moving to 2nd should help Rider a
great deal. Will he be a major
leaguer? Most likely not but if he
continues to play as a pro with the heart he showed in college, he should be a
solid organizational player.

Chase McDowell is another interesting player…. He has an electric arm and is still really
learning how to pitch. The one thing
about him that is often over looked is his athletic ability. When he isn’t pitching, he was often used as
a DH for Rice. With a deep and talented
pitching staff coming back for Rice next year, it might be hard for him to find
innings. An interesting thought is him
potentially being a closer for them since he has such a live arm. He will be a good player to keep an eye on
next season; I look forward to seeing him pitch again.

Matt Beam

Rider is a Pittsburgh guy too, Peters Township I believe

Lee Young

I dunno…I think Jimmy Rider is a heckuva name. Sounds like a movie hero.

We got two Jakes and no Zac(h)(k)s? What’s up with that?

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