Morning Report: The Best Available Players For Day Two of the Draft

With the first day of the 2015 amateur draft in the books, we take a look at the interesting names still left on the board going into today. The Pittsburgh Pirates will make their next eight selections today, starting with the third round and the 96th pick overall. Here are some of the best names available today.

Prep pitcher Donnie Everett from Tennessee was predicted by a few people for the Pirates’ second pick, so it is a bit surprising that he is still available. It could have something to do with his bonus demands. He has a commitment to Vanderbilt and that school is notorious for getting high school players through the draft process and into their program. I don’t think he is an option anymore due to his potential price tag.

Next up would be Mike Matuella, the Duke starter who had Tommy John surgery back in April. He has had other injuries in the past, but he has huge upside if he can remain healthy. He’s another pick that might require too much money to sign at this point, although his option of returning to school could be risky. He would need to redshirt next year, then pitch well as a fifth year senior and they rarely get paid well to sign, plus he will be two years older.

Justin Hooper is still available and while a 6’7″ lefty that has a 97 MPH fastball is intriguing, he has said he intends to honor his commitment to UCLA. You could also throw Luken Baker in with Hooper, but the TCU commit actually sent letters out to teams saying not to draft him. Baker is a strong two-way player, with a mid-90’s fastball and some of the best power in this draft. Both are unlikely to be picked unless the Pirates’ scouts know something others don’t.

Finally one that is possible, prep RHP Dakota Chalmers. He was a Pirates selection in an early season mock draft, then fell back a little. He would have been a nice second round selection, which makes him an even better third round option. Chalmers has hit high 90’s with his fastball and has quality secondary pitches, plus he is very athletic. He has a commitment to Georgia.

Jacob Nix was a fifth round pick of the Astros last year, who couldn’t sign once Brady Aiken didn’t sign. He improved his draft stock slightly while at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, which probably means the Pirates had no trouble seeing him pitch often. The 19-year-old has a nice fastball/curve combo, but he is still a little raw. With no college commitment, he should be signable in the third round.

If the Pirates want another shortstop, they could go with Jalen Miller, a prep kid out of Georgia. He’s on the small side, but a quick bat generates some power. He might stick at shortstop, which is beginning to become crowded in the Pirates’ system. Miller has a Clemson commit, so I don’t see him signing if he drops too low.

TCU reliever Riley Ferrell has a chance to be a shutdown closer in the pros and someone that moves quick. You look for more upside with earlier picks, but he could fit in well in the third round.

Cole Sands, a prep righty from Florida fits well for the Pirates’ third round pick. His brother was drafted in the fourth round last year by the Cubs and was one of two early draft picks from the same school Cole attended. You would think the Pirates are itching to draft a prep pitcher at this point and he probably fills that need best among players left. Sands has a low-90’s fastball and raw secondary stuff, but he is also young for the draft class. He has a Florida State commit.

Outfielder Demi Orimoloye from Canada would be a nice third round pick. He’s a big kid with raw power, who hasn’t played baseball long, but has the tools to develop into a steal at this round.

A sleeper pick for me is Skye Bolt, who I said would make a great third round pick if you can get him there. He will remind you of JaCoby Jones, as a player that had more potential than production in school. Bolt has the makings of a first round pick, just like Jones did, but he only showed that potential occasionally, which has kept him from getting picked so far.

Finally, there was word that the Pirates were high on Virginia outfielder Joe McCarthy, so don’t be surprised if they take him if he’s still available. He had off-season back surgery and didn’t perform well once he returned, so that caused his stock to drop.

There are still a lot of strong picks available, so it should be interesting to see who the Pirates take in the third round and beyond today. When you get into the 4th-5th rounds, watch for Nolan Kingham, the brother of Pirates pitching prospect Nick Kingham. Most have him rated in that range and he probably can’t slip too far, as he has a commitment to the University of Texas. The younger Kingham throws hard, but he is raw compared to where his brother was in 2010 when the Pirates took him in the fourth round.

Pirates Game Graph

Source: FanGraphs

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 2-0 to the Brewers on Monday night. They will send Francisco Liriano out to the mound tonight. He has allowed just two runs over 19 innings in his last three starts combined. Taylor Jungmann will make his Major League debut for the Brewers.

In the minors, Altoona’s Angel Sanchez has pitched well recently, allowing three earned runs over 21 innings in his last three outings combined. He ranks seventh in the Eastern League in ERA. Wilfredo Boscan has not pitched well since his brief call up to Pittsburgh in mid-May. He has allowed 12 earned runs over 13 innings since returning to Indianapolis. Our May pitcher of the month will make his second start of June tonight for West Virginia. Yeudy Garcia threw five shutout innings his last time out, giving up one hit and one walk. He had a 1.09 ERA as a starter and an 0.87 ERA at home this season. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (31-26) vs Brewers (21-37) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Francisco Liriano (3.24 ERA, 25:81 BB/SO, 66.2 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (36-23) @ Rochester (31-25) 7:05 PM  (season preview)
Probable starter: Wilfredo Boscan (4.47 ERA, 18:33 BB/SO, 44.1 IP)

AA: Altoona (34-21) @ Reading (31-25) 7:05 PM  (season preview)
Probable starter: Angel Sanchez (2.54 ERA, 18:39 BB/SO, 63.2 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (26-31) @ Clearwater (28-29) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Frank Duncan (5.33 ERA, 10:40 BB/SO, 52.1 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (34-23) vs Savannah (30-27) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Yeudy Garcia (1.91 ERA, 13:46 BB/SO, 47.0 IP)

DSL: Pirates (2-6) vs Braves (3-5) 10:30 AM  (season preview)


Here’s a video of Josh Bell hitting his second home run of the season. He did not homer last year during his brief time with Altoona.

Recent Transactions

6/7: Pirates release Tyler Sample.

6/5: Justin Sellers assigned to Bradenton on rehab.

6/5: Charlie Leesman placed on Indianapolis disabled list.

6/5: Francisco Diaz activated from WV Power disabled list.

6/5: Kawika Emsley-Pai promoted to Bradenton roster. Jin-De Jhang assigned to Extended Spring Training.

6/3: Pirates outright Radhames Liz to Indianapolis.

5/29: Andy Vasquez added to Altoona roster.

5/29: Keon Broxton promoted to Indianapolis. Adam Miller placed on disabled list.

5/29: Jeff Roy activated from West Virginia disabled list. Andy Otamendi assigned to Extended Spring Training.

5/28: Jose Osuna promoted to Altoona. Jordan Steranka added to Bradenton.

5/28: Andy Otamendi added to WV Power roster. Trace Tam Sing assigned to WV Black Bears.

5/27: Kelson Brown added to Indianapolis roster.

5/26: Harold Ramirez added to Bradenton roster. Jordan Steranka and Andy Otamendi assigned to Extended Spring Training.

5/26: Josh Wall placed on disabled list. Collin Balester added to Indianapolis roster.

5/26: Dovydas Neverauskas placed on disabled list. Julio Vivas sent from Bradenton to West Virginia.

5/26: Deibinson Romero sold to Doosan Bears of the Korean Baseball Organization.

This Date in Pirates History

Three former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, and two of them spent 11 seasons with the Pirates. Lost with the other two players born on this date, Julio Gotay played infield for the Pirates during the 1963-64 seasons and he was part of a big trade that sent Dick Groat to the Cardinals in November of 1962.

Dave Parker was born on this date in 1951. He was a 14th round draft choice of the Pirates in 1970 and played for the team from 1973 until 1983 when he left via free agency. Parker hit .305 with 166 homers in 1301 games for the Pirates. During his time in Pittsburgh, he won the 1978 NL MVP, made four All-Star teams and won three Gold Glove awards. You can read a full bio of Parker here.

Also born on this date, Bill Virdon, who played for the Pirates from 1956 until 1965, then returned briefly in 1968. He played 1415 games for the Pirates, the 11th most all-time. Virdon hit .266 during his time in Pittsburgh and won a Gold Glove in 1962. He drove in five runs during the 1960 World Series. You can read a full bio on Virdon here.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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It always baffles me how high draft picks turn down a largeand I mean large amount of money so they can go into debt (or somebody can) for the next twenty years, take the money and if you make it your rich and if desired still young enough when retired to go back to school. If on the other hand you don’t make it, you have a very large pile of money to pay for your schooling and don’t go into debt for twenty years. I’m sure someone will come up with an explanation, problem is it won’t be better than my reasoning.


I claim not to be worried about J. Bell’s power, but I guess it nags at me from time to time, but seeing this video might go a long way in erasing those nagging feelings. Opposite field on a fast ball waist high and outside. It gave me the sense of his hitting ability and could see power developing over time to a Neil walker level.


Just wanting to get your perspective here. It seems like Kramer was a bit of a reach and not a necessary one. They seemed pretty set on Hayes even if he wasn’t, truly, the best player available. But now that Newman has already said he’s ready to sign, and Kramer is a 4th year junior (surprised at all by the way that they drafted two of the older players in the draft against previous philosophies?) and Hayes being a relatively “easier prep signee”…Don’t the Pirates have plenty of money for Matuella or even Hooper? Newman should get slot or less, Hayes should get slot or less, and Kramer shouldn’t even get slot.


I do have one question…I know the Astros did not sign their #1 last year – Brady Aiken. Why did that cause so many issues with their other picks, that so many of their higher picks didn’t sign either? You would think with not signing Aiken, they would have a ton of money to sign all of their other high picks?


Thanks John – did that happen when Appel didn’t sign with the Pirates? If not, what was the difference in those two situations?


Do you think they picked Kramer to save money to be used on someone else later in the draft or do you think they just thought he was the best player available?

Bill W

Gee Polanco, Marte, Harrison looked really good last night. I hate wasting good starting pitching especially when playing divisional foes. Tonight we face another call up which always gives this teams fits. On the draft I have seen a number of negative comments but in all seriousness why the negativity. This draft will not be judged today or next year. I assume that with the number of scouts employed that what was chosen was based on a number of key factors that as a casual fan I would not have a clue. So in conclusion I am upset about the performance of the club and this draft will be judged in 3-4 years.


Yep, that game was an embarassment. Musical lineup strikes again, thanks clint. And I can’t figure out why the pirates have so much trouble against back end guys I mean they make guys like nelson look like kershaw. Great job by aj , wasted oppurtunity by the rest of the club. As for the draft it looks good to me so far.


If Everett and Hooper are as good as the “draft experts” say they are, then there must be serious signability issues with both for them to be still available at this point. The later the draft goes, that issue will just become even more difficult for each of these two.


I think part of the reason us fans sometimes get disappointed with how our team’s draft goes, is the level of expectations that are set by all of the pre-draft talk, analysis, and mock drafts. We become convinced that certain players are first rounders with very high upsides, while other players are left out of much of the discussion among the “draft experts”. Cole Tucker is an obvious example of the latter.

So, I have to assume that teams like the Pirates know a lot more than all of these “draft experts”. Although we all know that the MLB draft is a game of very low probability of success – as so many players (even early first rounders) don’t make it.


I liked last night’s first 3 picks a lot more than last year’s first 3 picks – a lot more. However, based on the “experts”, its hard to buy in that the Pirates selected Kramer because he was the “best available”. Were the Pirates right, and all the experts wrong – because I didn’t see anyone have Kramer in first/second territory before the draft.

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