Morning Report: Who Is Left in the System From Every Draft Before 2011?

Over the last three days, we took a look at the last four drafts by the Pittsburgh Pirates. One last day for this mini-series and for this one, we will look at every player left in the system, who was originally drafted by the Pirates before 2011. This list goes back to 2004 for the first player.

The lone remaining player from the 2004 draft is second baseman Neil Walker. All that is left from the following year is Andrew McCutchen. Both were first round picks and everyone knows their story.

The 2006 has one player left and one player that left(via trade) before returning. Jared Hughes was the fourth round pick that year and he is in the bullpen for the Pirates. The first round pick was Brad Lincoln and he signed with the Pirates as a minor league free agent this off-season. He is currently working out of the bullpen in Indianapolis with limited results.

All that is left from the 2007 draft is reliever Tony Watson. So from these four years, the Pirates have kept one player from each draft class.

The 2008 draft has a little more left, though it got thinner this past off-season when some players hit minor league free agency for the first time. Pedro Alvarez and Jordy Mercer make up half of this year’s infielder and they were the first round and third round picks of the Pirates. Pittsburgh also has Wes Freeman, who returned this spring after retiring back in 2012. He is on the disabled list for Bradenton, coming back from a knee injury.

The 2009 class has three players left. Tony Sanchez is in Indianapolis, after beginning the year with the Pirates. Zack Dodson is pitching well in the Altoona rotation and Jeff Inman is in Extended Spring Training. He was injured this spring and has missed a lot of time with various injuries since signing. It was announced today shortly after this article went up that he is headed to Altoona to start his season.

That brings us to 2010, the last class we haven’t covered yet. Jameson Taillon is the main player from this class and he will be returning to the Indianapolis rotation in about a month. Stetson Allie was taken next and he switched to right field this year and returned to Altoona for a second season. He is having strikeout issues while he tries to learn a new position. Mel Rojas Jr. was taken in the third round and he is putting up average numbers with Indianapolis.

If I did this class yesterday, Nick Kingham would have a different story. He has been struggling this year, but looked great on Wednesday afternoon. That was until he felt soreness in his right elbow and now the team is holding their breath while they find out what exactly is wrong.

The next pick still around is another pitcher that is hurt, Brandon Cumpton. He is out with Tommy John surgery and will return sometime next year. Cumpton was hurt while he was with the team in spring, so he is picking up a year of service time while he is out.

As for the others, Ryan Hafner is really struggling in the Bradenton bullpen. Jared Lakind was injured during spring and hasn’t returned yet. Justin Howard was added to the Indianapolis roster before Opening Day, never played and now he is in Extended Spring Training. Kelson Brown(pictured above because he never gets pictured above) is also in Extended Spring Training after opening the season with Indianapolis.

Casey Sadler was a 25th round pick in 2010 and he is pitching well for Indianapolis in their starting rotation. He also made a spot start for the Pirates this year and he picked up the win.

The 2010 draft has ten players left, which is the same amount left from previous years(11 if you count Lincoln).

Pirates Game Graph

Source: FanGraphs

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 3-0 to the Reds last night. A.J. Burnett tries to avoid a second straight sweep at the hands of an NL Central team. Burnett allowed two runs and struck out seven batters over 5.1 innings against the Reds in his season debut. In his last four starts combined, he has given up three earned runs. Anthony DeSclafani gets the start for the Reds. He faced the Pirates on April 9th and allowed two earned runs over six innings. He has a 2.03 ERA this season in 31 innings.

In the minors, both Indianapolis and Altoona have morning start times. Adrian Sampson gets the start for Indianapolis and he is coming off a seven shutout inning performance last week. His 31 strikeouts puts him just one behind the top mark in the International League. Angel Sanchez has the best ERA in the Eastern League and his 0.89 WHIP ranks fourth in the league, trailing two teammates, Zack Dodson and Tyler Glasnow. John Sever hasn’t been as good as last year, but he is striking out more than a batter per inning. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (12-15) vs Reds (14-13) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: A.J. Burnett (1.45 ERA, 10:27 BB/SO, 31.0 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (16-11) vs Rochester (15-10) 11:05 AM (season preview)
Probable starter: Adrian Sampson (2.45 ERA, 10:31 BB/SO, 29.1 IP)

AA: Altoona (15-9) vs Richmond (6-17) 10:30 AM (season preview)
Probable starter: Angel Sanchez (1.00 ERA, 8:14 BB/SO, 27.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (13-14) @ Palm Beach (15-12) 6:30 PM(season preview)
Probable starter: Frank Duncan (4.15 ERA, 7:19 BB/SO, 26.0 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (15-10) vs Kannapolis (10-15) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: John Sever (3.86 ERA, 6:21 BB/SO, 18.2 IP)


From Wednesday, we have all the highlights from the Indianapolis game. The Indians won 3-1, but they lost Nick Kingham for an unknown amount of a time due to elbow soreness, which knocked him out of the game in the sixth inning.

Recent Transactions

5/7: Jeff Inman added to Altoona roster. Tyler Sample sent to WV Black Bears.

5/6: Andrew Lambo placed on 15-day disabled list. Steve Lombardozzi selected from Indianapolis.

5/6: Adam Frazier activated from Altoona disabled list. Andy Vasquez assigned to Indianapolis.

5/6: Brad Lincoln added to Indianapolis roster. Charlie Leesman assigned to WV Black Bears.

5/5: Josh Wall added to Indianapolis. Brad Lincoln assigned to WV Black Bears.

5/4: Barrett Barnes assigned to Bradenton. Junior Sosa assigned to Extended Spring Training.

5/1: Jerrick Suiter placed on disabled list. Austin Coley added to WV Power roster.

5/1: Pirates sign pitcher Robert Stock.

4/29: Jaff Decker placed on disabled list. Wilkin Castillo added to Indianapolis roster.

4/27: Jeremy Bleich promoted to Altoona

4/26: John Sever added to WV Power roster. Austin Coley transferred to WV Black Bears roster.

4/25: Jonathan Schwind placed on disabled list.

4/25: Justin Sellers transferred from Bradenton to Indianapolis on rehab.

4/25: Jeremy Bleich added to Bradenton roster.

4/22: Francisco Diaz assigned to WV Black Bears roster. Kawika Emsley-Pai added to WV Power roster.

4/21: John Sever assigned to WV Black Bears roster. Jose Regalado added to West Virginia Power roster.

This Date in Pirates History

Two former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, two trades of note and one historic play from 1925. The players born on May 7th are Mark Smith, outfielder for the 1997-98 Pirates, and Dave Barbee, who played left field for the team in 1932.

The first trade of note has a major player involved, Hall of Fame center fielder Lloyd Waner. He was dealt to the Boston Braves in 1941 for pitcher Nick Strincevich. Waner was on the downside on his career and eventually returned to the Pirates in 1944 for his last two seasons. Strincevich started off real slow in Pittsburgh, but by the time Waner returned, he was a different pitcher. Over the 1944-46 seasons, he won 40 games and pitched over 600 innings, making the deal a win for the Pirates.

Also traded on this date in 1962 was pitcher Wilmer “Vinegar Bend” Mizell, who was sent to the expansion New York Mets in exchange for first baseman Jim Marshall. Mizell had 90 career wins and Marshall was hitting .344 at the time of the deal, but by the end of the season, both saw their Major League career end.

On this date in 1925, shortstop Glenn Wright turned the sixth unassisted triple play in Major League history. It came in the ninth inning of a 10-9 loss to the Cardinals at Forbes Field. Wright caught a liner, stepped on second base and then tagged the runner coming from first. The batter was Hall of Fame first baseman Jim Bottomley and the runner on first base was Hall of Fame second baseman Rogers Hornsby.

  • The offense usually explodes when AJ’s on the mound so I’m sure they’ll break the losing streak tonight…………..also what do you consider a successful draft? I’m probably butchering this but I think Tim said having 3 starters/contributors on your roster from a draft makes it successful? Tim or John please feel free to correct me on this.

    • John Dreker
      May 7, 2015 9:33 am

      That’s the rule of thumb many people use. If you take the 2008 draft as an example, there are only two starters with the team, but you still got time from Matt Hague, Chase d’Arnaud, Justin Wilson and they traded Robbie Grossman, who has been a marginal player for the Astros for three years. Getting six guys to make the Majors and four of them saw significant time would be considered a strong draft. Not the best, but most are worse.

      If you use the 2007 draft by comparison, you see that Tony Watson is the only significant MLB player and three others(Moskos, Welker and McPherson) made the Majors briefly, so that is one of the worst drafts. Most drafts fall in the middle of those two.

      • Someone out there is wondering so I’ll be the first to ask – where is McPherson? Poor guy. Had high hopes for him.

        • John Dreker
          May 7, 2015 11:33 am

          Was injured, had surgery and his recovery time had him out through March. He is minor league free agent and may not be fully healthy yet to throw for teams. There hasn’t been any recent word on him and since he has been out of the Pirates system since last year, we haven’t kept closer tabs on him.

      • John…the rule of thumb that I’ve read from many, many GMs is that if you get ONE starter and a couple of usable pieces, that it is a successful draft.

        In fact, Littlefield was famously quoted as saying that, which was kind of ironic.

        • Littlefield’s rule of thumb was you’re a winner if you draft college seniors and college closers in the top 5.

        • John Dreker
          May 7, 2015 11:38 am

          I think that depends on where you pick and how much you spend. In 2008, the Pirates had the 2nd overall pick, but some teams don’t even have a first round pick going into the draft, so it’s tough to compare them straight up. As I said, most drafts fall in between the results from the Pirates in 2007 and 2008, so they are great measuring sticks.